Warning: My grammar always sucks.
What is a gamer?
Is it someone who buys all the latest games and plays them? Is it someone who simply plays games? Or is it the core demographic that plays the high production games such as GTA V or Call of Duty? Is it in the one that purchases games or the one that plays them at a competitive level?
Recently through a PBS video the claim was made that 45% of gamers are female they got this demographic through Theesa. However to many this is a dubious claim as there is no definition of what a gamer is. The PBS video continues to back up this claim by stating that 46% of the game purchasers are female. However again, because one purchases a game does not necessarily mean that one is a gamer. This would seem to disregard the fact that females are more likely to do the shopping in any circumstance in a relationship (mother/son, wife/husband).
So again what is a gamer?
I think the question is faulty one and is too generic, but more on that later.
During the GTA V review done by transgender Carolyn Petit (a GTA enthusiast) she was attacked in the comments for having a feminist viewpoint of the game GTA V and giving it a 9/10 for misogyny. It is obvious that she is a gamer and she felt that the game was a bit sexist. People used her transgender status against her to attack her review of the game. The question here is why are they upset at this? I believe they have a credible reason to be upset and it revolves around the “what is a gamer” question.
I consider my wife to be a gamer… However she only plays non stressful JRPG’s, Pokemon, Minecraft and Facebook games like candy crush. Core Gamers would not consider her a gamer yet she plays games and regularly.
I am also a Digital Technology Teacher at a secondary school (ages 13-17) in New Zealand. Many of the girls in the classes play games and enjoy them… But they wouldn’t play GTA V or Call of Duty.
So finally what is a gamer?
Finally I think the question is invalid. A Gamer is someone that plays games full stop. However this causes all sorts of problems particularly with the feminist movement in games and critics that play candy crush and then go on to dismantle and insult GTA V.
I think what we need to do is to take a step back and relate it to other forms of media.
What is a magazine reader?
Someone who reads magazines
However, this is problematic again because what if I really enjoyed cars and then I reviewed a Wedding Magazine as horrible and sexist because it had no cars in it.
What if I was a fashion designer and I reviewed hunting monthly and insulted the magazine for men having bad fashion and street ware.
This problem that is happening here is a magazine reader insulting a magazine in which they are not the intended target audience.
What about movie reviewers? Well if I was an action/comedy movie watcher it would be unfair for me to critically rate movies that were solely romantic or drama based.
Here lies the rub; the term “Gamer” is now too generic to be used to describe any one person. Much like saying I listen to music, I like movies or I read.
This never used to be the case however, as games used to be very limited and harder to access. Gaming cabinets being the only means or your dad’s 486 computer.
As games are easier to access so too does the demographic change. I.E how could you appreciate music if you had no access to it. The Nintendo Wii and rise in smart phones has increased the amount of other demograph’s in gaming.
Why were people so upset when gamer Carolyn Petit reviewed GTA V and called it Misogynistic? For two reasons perhaps, she is a gamer but she is not the intended demo graph for that game. In her position as the unintended audience she marked the game lower then she would of if she had been in the targeted demographic. She could have argued that the game was not inclusive to her world view, but this leads to the second reason that people were upset by the review. The second reason would be that the characters in the game are well researched characters based off interviews from FBI, and prisoners.
Just because she did not relate to the characters or target audience does not mean the game was poorly researched, it means that she fell out of the game because of her own worldviews.
Perhaps maybe we should judge a game by its demographic audience rather than argue that it is not inclusive to your particular personality.
As a secondary school Digital Technology Teacher I bring this up. It’s actually in an assessment the official wording is “the appropriateness of material in its context”. Students have to talk about how set of material is appropriate in one context but no appropriate in another.
This brings up an interesting point about gaming, as they start to diversify so too does its audience. Just because you play games doesn’t mean that all games should be tailored and made to make you feel inclusive. When the Dead Island bust came out it was targeted to specific individuals in order to boost sales. The marketing company probably realised that the majority of players were guys and choose to create a product to appeal to their demographic.
Perhaps we should stop calling ourselves gamers but start getting more specific about how we identify ourselves. For example stop saying “I am a female and a gamer” and say “I am a female and a hardcore gamer”
Here are some more definitions
Someone who only really plays cellphone games/ or casual games such as minecraft or plants vs zombies. They may own a console but mainly for games like sing star or wii tennis.
This gamer owns a console and plays all major releases that come out
This gamer has owned nearly every console and a PC with steam, he/she has played nearly every mainstream game you can think of.
Gamers that play for multiplayer online component only
Someone who is enthusiastic about all sports games such as madden or fifa.
Someone who simply plays World of Warcraft or other MMO’s religiously.
Please let me know what you think you are? Come up with a label for your self
I would consider myself a hard-core classic gamer moving to casual core gaming.
I will finish with this.. As gamers gets more diverse games will naturally change to meet the demand of the gamers. An example of this is Mass Effect or the latest Tomb Raider. Don’t get annoyed because the core targeted demographic for a video game is not you, just pay for a game in which you are the intended demographic. Just like magazines, movies or books or other media.