Who’s In and Who’s Out for Gamers

Title inspired by Stephen Ramsay’s “Who’s In and Who’s Out.” Defining Digital Humanities. 2013.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Type A

My Post

Am I a gamer? I never thought so. I don’t have a thousand-dollar gaming computer, an Xbox, Wii, Nintendo Switch, or any other game console used these days. I don’t know what any of the buttons on a typical game controller do. Put me in front of almost any video game and I’ll have no clue where to begin. So clearly, I must not be a gamer.

I do, however, love the Sims 4. The game reminds me how much I love it in the “Time played” information box, which, in the relatively short period of time since I downloaded the game, has gone up to 378 hours. The Sims, however, is much different from what I have traditionally considered to be a video game. Afterall, there are no explosions or combative elements. Sure, there’s some risk to your sim catching on fire, but most of what I do in the game is build houses and create people. I also have a few mobile games I like, though. The one I play the most, called Rush Royale, is certainly more combative, as I battle other players and fight monsters. But even this doesn’t fall into my traditional view of a gamer. It is just a mobile game that I play in my free time. I don’t need to sit in front of a gaming computer, wearing a headset with my hands poised over the keyboard, ready to sit through a night-long gaming session to play this. This idea of what a gamer is is very stereotypical, and as Jesper Juul points out in his book A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players, most gamers don’t actually fall precisely into this stereotypical “hardcore” gamer category.

Juuls talks about two types of game players: the stereotypical “hardcore” player, and the “casual” player. It was the discussion of what a “casual” player is that had me questioning what it means to be a gamer, as players who fall more into this category play games like the Sims or Rush Royale. Games that are “set in pleasant environments” and are “very interruptible” (Juuls). If gamers don’t have to play games that require long time commitments and have “emotionally negative” environments, then what qualifies someone as a gamer? If the type of game you play doesn’t matter, then is it the amount of time you spend on it that matters? I’ve spent a significant amount of time on The Sims and on mobile video games, enough to at least be considered a casual player of them. Then is it determined by how many different games you’ve played or the devices you play these games on? On these points I would say I am not a gamer, for I don’t play more than four or five games regularly, and three of those are mobile apps.

This question of “who is a gamer” seems to come down to opinion. I’m sure many would say a gamer is someone closer to the stereotype, someone who plays “hardcore” games, plays a lot of games, and is well versed in all the consoles and types of games. They might consider others to be just “players”. The term “player”, which is used by Juul in the chapter “What is Casual?”, is one I have often associated as a more general term to describe anyone who plays games, whereas the word gamer might have a more exclusive connotation to refer to those who are more serious about playing games. For instance, I wouldn’t consider someone playing Wii with a group of friends for the first time a gamer, but I would consider them a player. A gamer might be someone who, whether they play only casual games, hardcore games, or both, considers gaming a part of their identity. Of course, this is only one opinion of what a gamer might be, and another might suggest that a gamer is synonymous with a player, and it is simply someone who plays games.

Chat GPT’s Post

Based on the chapter “What is Casual?” in Jesper Juul’s book “A Casual Revolution : Reinventing Video Games and Their Players”, in at least 250 words, what is a gamer?

In Jesper Juul’s book “A Casual Revolution: Reinventing Video Games and Their Players,” the chapter titled “What is Casual?” delves into the concept of casual gamers and, by extension, the broader definition of what constitutes a gamer. Juul challenges the traditional stereotype of a gamer as someone deeply engrossed in complex, hardcore games, and instead, he argues for a more inclusive and nuanced understanding.

Juul introduces the idea that gaming is a spectrum rather than a binary distinction between casual and hardcore. He emphasizes that a gamer is not defined solely by the intensity or difficulty of the games they play but by their engagement with and enjoyment of the medium. Casual gamers are those who engage with games on a more accessible and flexible level, often favoring games that are easier to pick up and play, with shorter play sessions. They are drawn to games that are less demanding in terms of time and effort, but this doesn’t diminish their status as gamers.

Juul’s definition highlights that gamers come in various forms, and their preferences can range from casual mobile games to intense, hardcore experiences. The key factor is that they all share a common interest in interactive entertainment.

This perspective is important because it challenges the exclusionary and sometimes elitist attitudes that have surrounded the gaming community in the past. Recognizing the legitimacy of casual gamers fosters a more inclusive gaming culture, promoting a more diverse and vibrant industry. In essence, Juul’s chapter on “What is Casual?” redefines the gamer as anyone who enjoys interactive digital experiences, regardless of the level of commitment or the specific types of games they prefer, thus broadening the scope and inclusivity of the gaming community.

2 Comments on “Who’s In and Who’s Out for Gamers

  1. I like the distinction of “player” rather than “gamer,” Shaylyn. The latter comes with a lot of baggage these days due to the stereotype whereas the former seems broadly applicable. It also puts me in mind of Johan Huizinga’s work Homo Ludens which more or less argues that that what makes humans humans is the drive to play.

  2. I really appreciate your thoughts on this topic! It is interesting to see how the title gamer has so many connotations, both positive and negative. For some it is a title they aspire to and for others it is a title they try avoid. I think you added an interesting insight through your thoughts about what games seem to be conducive to the title of gamer as well.

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