Ask PSLS – What is a Gamer?

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Casual. Hardcore. Mobile. Mainstream. Everyone may define the term ‘gamer’ differently, so we’re trying to find out what it really means to be a gamer. Today the PlayStation LifeStyle staff weighs in on exactly what being a gamer means to them, and what defines a person as a gamer. The question comes from darkforcegod in our forums:

What is and what is not a gamer for you?

The members of our staff have some surprisingly varied views on their answers to the question.

Alex Co (@excaliburps)

This is certainly an interesting question. So, just what is a ‘gamer?’ One can argue that it’s someone who plays any kind of games (mobile, console, etc.) but we all know it’s more than that.

For me, personally, a gamer is someone who snatches or plays up AAA games the moment they’re out (ditto with indies), reads up on video game sites, and tends to know a bit more than your average joe when it comes to gaming.

If you’re the person that your friends/families ask when it comes to gaming, knows the latest trends within the industry, then you’re a “core gamer.” Now, if you mostly play on mobiles/tablets and generally don’t give a flying rat’s ass on what’s happening, I think you’re still a gamer, but one that’s more on the casual side.

Me? I’m a core gamer through and through. Always have been and I think always will be until the day I die.

Cameron Teague

I know some people will try and tell you that anyone who picks up a game on any platform and has fun with it is a gamer but I call bollocks (totally went British on you people) on that one. Moms that have played the Wii, people who play cell phone games, and those odd people that enjoy crappy Facebook games are not gamers. Anyone not in those three categories, then sure they can call themselves a gamer. If you really want to get scientific about it, take the square root of hours played a week, multiply it by the type of game played, and then divide that using the Suikoden formula and you will arrive at the true definition of gamer.

Chandler Wood (@FinchStrife)

I started off my answer to this question thinking that a gamer is more of a self-identified title. I consider myself a gamer whereas a friend who plays occasionally does not classify himself this way. But the more I thought about it (and read the rest of the responses), I had to defer a gamer to being someone who is immersed within the culture. That casual gaming friend does not consider himself a gamer because he comes to me for any gaming updates and news. He knows that I truly live that lifestyle.

There is a difference between those who play video games and gamers. I can watch movies all day, but I am not immersed in film culture or actively seeking out new information about that industry, so I wouldn’t identify as a film aficionado; I am simply a movie watcher. Similarly, people can enjoy video games as a form of entertainment, but I think the true gamers are the ones who immerse themselves in everything, actively seek information, and open their minds to gaming culture and lifestyle.

Can it be a mix of both of my answers? A self-identified dedication to the gaming culture makes you a gamer.

D’yani Wood (@Dyani)

A gamer is someone who enjoys games as an art form and a lifestyle. Someone can occasionally play a game here and there just to see what it’s like and be able to say that they’ve “played video games,” but unless you seek out all sorts of different games and immerse yourself in the culture, anything else doesn’t really fit with the ‘gamer’ title. Many people may want to call themselves gamers, but it’s disappointing to those of us who are fully immersed when conversations with not-so-gamers fall flat because they can’t speak to anything outside of the handful of games they know. You can like certain games more than others, sure, but you have to dive into the video game universe regardless of your favoritism to be worthy of the title ‘gamer,’ in my mind.

Dan Oravasaari (@FoolsJoker)

I think everyone has their own definition as to what classifies someone as a gamer. To me, a gamer is a person who deeply cares about or is in some way entrenched into the video game industry. People who simply love to sport the clothing and embrace the ‘gamer’ culture are, in my opinion, not gamers, but simply fans. Much like what differentiates athletes and sport’s fans. A person must be involved in some sense, and this isn’t something that is quantified by the number of games played, but by knowledge and involvement. A person who plays only a few games, but dedicates a lot of time to understanding the industry is a gamer, much more than a person who plays any amount of games, but has no understanding of the industry at all. I think it comes down to the difference between a fan of the industry, and being a fan of a product. Gamers care about the whole picture, and fans care about specific titles.

Zarmena Khan (@Zarmena)

This is a very broad topic and one in which other people’s opinions admittedly annoy me. There’s no universally accepted definition of the term “video game” let alone the word “gamer.” But let’s go by the dictionary definition of a video game for argument’s sake. It’s “an electronic or computerized game played by manipulating images on a video display or television screen.” Going by this, your 70-something grandma’s session of Candy Crush also qualifies as gaming and if she’s taking out time specifically to play the game regularly, then she’s a gamer, too. We can throw fits and claim that these aren’t “real games” but that doesn’t change facts. I think instead of engaging in playground arguments, we should just accept that there are various types of gamers out there; casual gamers, pro gamers, social media gamers, and so on.

And just a FYI for those who disregard Candy Crush, it’s actually a variation of one of the oldest types of video games out there – the match-three puzzle genre. Just because it’s played on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s not a real game. Get over it!

What does it mean to be a gamer to you? What makes someone else a gamer? Keep it civil, and let us know in the comments below. Remember to send us questions for Ask PSLS on TwitterFacebookthe forums, and email. Be sure to check back next Wednesday to see what question the PSLS staff will be answering!