He sits down and boots up his laptop. His mouse is connected shortly thereafter, followed by his headphones. He tries to think back to where he left off. Somewhere in D.C, fighting the Super Mutants he believes. He has played the game so many times it all starts to blur together. As the game loads, he settles in for what will be another couple of hours lost in the world of Fallout 3.
Does this sound familiar? Many of you probably know people like this man, a tried and true gamer sitting down to play his favorite game again. Only thing is, I think most of you probably thought I was describing a core gamer or podcaster I know well. I wasn’t.
I was describing my step-dad.
More Gamers Than Ever
Now I will not say that image has completely gone away, but it is changing. More and more people game today than ever before, whether it be on their phone, computer or console. People you would never have expected to get into this hobby are now buying games in record numbers, and those of us who have been playing for a while are not getting as many questioning looks when we tell someone we are gamers.
So more people are playing more games than ever before. This should be seen as a good thing, right? Funny thing is, many gamers do not see it that way.
The War Between Core And Casual
Have you ever overheard this conversation? Someone says they play video games. Someone else asks them what they play, and they talk about Farmville, Angry Birds or some other more casual games. Instead of saying something like, “Cool. I tend to play more core games, but I am glad to see you are enjoying the games you play,” the other person says, “Those aren’t real games.”
If we were honest, we would have to admit we probably have not only overheard this conversation, we have been guilty of being the condescending gamer. As the Wii and Facebook Games exploded onto the scene, many core gamers started to feel threatened, afraid the market for the games they play would shrivel up and die in the tidal wave of casual games. This lead them to start to lash out at the casual player instead of welcoming them into the hobby we all know and love.
So what has happened? Have core games suddenly vanished in the wake of a growing number of casual players? Not at all. Not only are there still plenty of core games for the gamers who want to play them, but more and more core gamers have been finding the there are actually some very well designed casual games. The problem is that for some gamers, the damage has already been done. Some who play primarily casual games have come to view the core gamer as an elitist, and honestly we have no one but ourselves to blame.
So what do we do now? How do we unite the two sides under the banner of “gamers?”
We Are Gamers
The Gaming in Prime Time series is all about how we currently live in the best time to be gamers. One of the major reasons for that is that more people are gaming than ever before. It is time for core gamers to quit being elitist and realize there is not only a place for the casual gamer, but the more people who game, the better it is for all of us. It means more money flowing into the gaming industry, more people playing and more people moving past the stereotypes that have plagued this hobby of ours for years.
Maybe you are arguing right now “I have no idea how to talk to a casual gamer!” Sure you do. Ask them what they play. Take the time to listen to them explain why they like the games they play. Not only might you find there are some casual games you may be interested in, but you will open the door for you to talk about some that you like. You may even get the casual gamer to try one of the more core titles. Even if you don’t, you may find a common ally in the fight to end gaming stereotypes. Either way, it would be better that the rift that can often exist now.
My step-dad is not what I would call a core gamer. He has logged more time in the Fallout series than anyone I know, however, and I know several people who love those games. If we can stop drawing these lines between the two groups, we may find we can enjoy this hobby of ours that much more.
We are gamers, and we are Gaming in Prime Time. It’s time we embrace that.