The word "Gamer" has been around for a good amount of time and certainly gets thrown around an awful lot mostly by marketing people or folks who don't play video games. Least that's been my experience. In my local area I've had conversations with folks talking about people they describe as gamers cause they play a lot of games though they don't don't play games them selves. I even asked one individual about the word. Our conversation was something like this.
Co-worker: "A gamer friend of mine has been telling me about this Walking Dead game he's been playing. I've not been much for video games but he makes it sound pretty nice. Have you played it?"
Me: "I have. Can I ask, why exactly do you call him a gamer?"
Co-worker: "Cause he plays video games why else?"
Me: "But why not just describe him as, oh I don't know like a game buff or a game fan?"
Co-worker: "I don't know seems like that's the lingo among you guys isn't it?"
This is where I kinda started to feel a little annoyed by his choice of words. Considering he was really only a year older than myself I think I had good reason to be. Not really with him personally just the idea of what he was saying.
Me: "Honestly, among my enthusiast friends I play with none of us really call each other that."
Co-worker: "Oh. Well they certainly make it look that way on TV and in the movies."
Right there I had to resist the urge to slap him and ask what the hell is wrong with him... but I let that slide. To put it shortly I've just gotten pretty disgusted with how the media uses the word gamer as this label for enthusiast like ourselves. It pretty much feels pejorative to me in this day and age. I mean of all the things that could be used to refer to us why not just "Game buff" or "video game fan" or just, anything else but Gamer.
It might not be a big deal to some but to me it just feels like a disgusting term. Especially when I see bad movies that show these douche bag yuppy fucking assholes playing video games and using terms that have NEVER been cool to use and it's just Hollywood saying to me going "Hey! These guys are gamers! They're just like you! Cause you're a gamer! YEAH!"
But that's just my two cents. Thoughts?
@Atary77: The media will always be ignorant and sensationalist, when TV and Radio finally die off and all generations are on a level-playing field with the internet and technology things will improve. Even before that time games will become the norm like films and music and they'll move onto being ignorant about something else. I hope.
I think the term only has a lot of meaning in the context of a video games when on a enthusiast type website (or related marketing), so I have trouble thinking it matters all that much. Gaming as a real life term is usually with respect to slot machines and poker (and that is in a state where reservations are the only place where it can occur).
I've never run across someone who actually calls themselves a gamer in real life, although I do know a lot of people who will happily talk about games they are playing. My impression has always been that applying a short label to any interest is more of a convenient marketing identity than anything a real person would use (with the exception of terms that have legal implications, like doctor, engineer, or felon, etc).
I'll use and keep using until I hear something better that the common person will universally understand.
After a couple decades, nothing has really ever come close.
If anything it's the term "video games" that needs to change first. As @YI_Orange alluded to it's pretty natural to throw an "er" suffix on whatever the noun is to denote someone who does it.
I don't mind the word itself, but it's become so loaded with preconceptions and stereotypes, and like someone else said it gets used way more by marketers than people who actually play games. Every time I hear someone use it I cringe because it sounds so forced.
Gamer is a gross word that reeks of marketing people, and I also find the idea of defining yourself as a person based on this single hobby awful. Movie fans don't have some stupid name they call themselves, they're just people who like movies, and they also don't think their entire personality revolves around this one thing they like. "Gamer culture" in general is stupid and terrible.
It stinks, because most people who identify themselves as a "gamer" are typically NOT VERY HUMAN!
Hey dude let's jump online and pown some noobs in the latest halo while we CHOW DOWN ON SOME GAMER GRUB in my sick X-GAMER chair with the speakers in it. Then I'll hop on my GAMING RIG and use my sick Razer mouse (IT'S BUILT BY GAMERS, FOR GAMERS. GAMERS LIKE ME!) and I'll watch the latest hilarious episode of The Angry Videogame Nerd on GameTrailers dot com! Then I'll read the latest Penny Arcade webcomic (those guys really get me because they're gamers, like me) and strut around in my awesome t-shirt with a 1-up mushroom on it! It's faded so you know it's retro, gamer gamer gamer, I wear a pokeball belt buckle because I'm a tragedy. I have a tattoo of the triforce. I don't carry my phone around like a normal person, my pocket's for my Nintendo 3DS! Hey it has pictochat, and that's all I need to speak to my gamer buds about gamer gaming gamegold. Some people think this Sonic cartoon is for kids, but no, it's for gamers like me. Ouya. Buy an Ouya.
Anyway yeah that's basically how I feel about that.
It's kind of lame, but I don't mind.
I fucking can't stand "hardcore gamer" though. Describing anyone as a "hardcore" anything seems so stupid, but "hardcore gamer" is especially bad though because it conjures so many negative images and stereotypes. I always say, "enthusiast gamer" whenever possible. I feel like that's a much more accurate label to what most people are referring to when the say "hardcore gamer".