What makes a real gamer?

Posted: December 31, 2010 by Tony Polanco in PIECE OF MIND

I am writing this as a response to pnosker.com writer Jonathan Maltz’s recent article about real gamers. Jon you wrote a very good article but I feel that your definition of what makes one a real gamer is different then the majority of most people. I know that you said that we all should have different opinions but in this instance we need to have a base definition so that we can all understand each other. Let me try to explain.

In your article you said;

“…the concept of a “real gamer” implies that there is an ideal gamer who has reached a pinnacle of gaming knowledge and everyone else is a misguided peon who can’t form a complete opinion. It presumes that, should you play enough games, you will automatically feel a certain way, regardless of your past experiences or personal preferences.  What’s more, because the criteria for being part of this elite club is often based on owning a certain set of titles or thinking a certain way, the concept limits creative discussion within the community.”

That’s not how I see it and I’m sure most people don’t either.

To me a real gamer is someone whose main hobby is playing video games. This person spends the majority of their time playing games, talking about games and thinking about games. Since this person plays so much they are also very skilled gamers who can and are willing to take on most challenges that video games can throw at them. A real gamer also has basic knowledge of the video game industry and it’s history. This doesn’t mean that they will know the name of every single programmer on a certain title but they would know basic things like what the big Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft franchises are and who the top third party studios are.

A person who I would consider not a real gamer is the person who either does not play games very often or plays games that take very little skill to play. If you play video games as often as you go see the dentist, chances are that you are not a real gamer. If the only game you play is Farmville, I would not call you a real gamer either. You also could not expect people like this to know the difference between Shigeru Miyamoto and Cliff Bleszinsky other than that one is Asian and the other is Western.

To me this is what defines a true gamer from one who isn’t and I believe that most people who use the term true gamer/real gamer see it like this as well.

I do agree with your point about people who think that if you are a real gamer you need to think a certain way. To me that is a load of hogwash. If you play a ton of video games and love them then what does it matter if you didn’t like the trailer to a game that everyone else does? With regards to the systems we play, you and I come from different camps Jon. I have owned every Playstation system since the PS2 but have not and feel no need to own an Xbox machine. Anyway, it makes sense that you were not impressed by the Uncharted 3 trailer since this title is not for the Xbox 360. Why would you care about the trailer to a game that is on a system you don’t own? Every time I see the newest trailer for a Halo or Gears of war game I don’t care either. Why should I? I’m not getting those games. Since you are not going to buy Uncharted 3 then you don’t need to get excited over the trailer. But does this make you less of a gamer? HELL NO. You may own an Xbox but I bet you play and love games as much as I do.

If playing video games is your favorite thing to do and you spend most of your time playing them, then to me THAT makes you a real gamer.

  1. Hey there, logged in on my wordpress account. First things first I’d like to respond to your comment about me not caring about the Uncharted 3 trailer. It isn’t that I don’t care about the Uncharted 3 gameplay coming out, quite the opposite; I cared quite a lot about the Uncharted 3 trailer coming out. After all, we’ve only got a team of two writing about video games on our website, and that means neither of us has the luxury in being platform specific as to what news we end up writing up. As such, I feel that it is imperative for me to keep up with what’s happening on all consoles, especially when dealing with releases that garner as much attention as Uncharted 3.

    Instead, as a gamer, I was unimpressed with what I saw in the trailer simply because it didn’t get my juices flowing in the way that some videos do. However, this has nothing to do with the system that the game appears on. Instead, it has to do with the fact that I think that the action-adventure genre as a whole is kinda stale right now and needs a good shake-up. Thus, although I’m sure Uncharted is a fantastically well executed action game, it just doesn’t get my juices flowing in the same way that ilomilo did when I first laid eyes on it.

    Now, as for the actual premise of the article. I think that I may have overstepped a little bit in my characterization of what makes a real gamer, but at the same time, I think you too have gone a little bit too far to the other extreme. I believe what you describe can be titled hardcore as opposed to real. Although I don’t have any statistics, my casual observations of my friends indicate that there is a sizable portion of the gaming population who enjoy games, and can effectively discuss games, but simply choose not to make that their primary hobby, and I still very much consider these people real gamers.

    For example, my roommate has been sort of a casual gamer for his entire life and will often times play my review copies as a study break. He will notice the exact same things that I do, but he probably couldn’t tell Cliffy B from David Jaffe or Peter Moore. I still consider him very much a real gamer.

    So, perhaps I overstepped a little bit because I was frustrated with how a couple of outlets were characterizing real gamers in such broad sweeping statements. However, I still think that what is most important in being a real gamer is playing games and being able to understand them. That enjoyment and understanding is something that you can’t litmus test for by saying “You must think X is awesome” or “You must beat Halo Reach on Legendary” or even “You must own Y consoles and Z games”.

    Anyway, my editor brought this to my attention and I figured I’d respond. Glad that I got you thinking at least!

    • Romudeth says:

      Thanks for replying Jon, I really appreciate that.

      I guess we just have different views on what a real gamer is. The people who you mentioned, I would still not consider them real gamers. They are people who just so happen to play games. I see being a gamer as a lifestyle. If playing games isn’t one of your main hobbies or doesn’t take up a good chunk of what you think about then I really have a hard time calling you a real gamer. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a casual player. To each his own but to me, to be a real gamer you need to breathe and live gaming.

      I guess we also disagree on the state of action adventure games. This year alone we got such great titles like God of war 3, Assassin’s creed: Brotherhood, Enslaved, Darksiders and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Now in the interest of full disclosure I should point out that the action/adventure genre is my absolute favorite one so I may look upon games in this genre more favorably but to me, the genre is still going strong and is still interesting.

      Again, thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my reply to your article. Even though we disagree I found your article very thought provoking and I liked that it motivated me into writing a response.

      Keep up the great work,

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