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A Guide to Ending "Gamers"
by Devin Wilson on 08/28/14 07:57:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Whether it’s in the concluding chapter of Ian Bogost’s How to Do Things With Videogames (“The End of Gamers”), Dan Golding’s more recent blog on the subject (with the same title, oddly enough), or the hundreds of tweets being written about it, we’re seeing calls to do away with the concept of “gamers” altogether.

 

This is great, but this change isn’t going to happen automatically. It is absolutely not inevitable. Celebrating that uncertain victory now is premature, hubristic, and an insult to the people who are suffering abuse from self-identified “gamers”.

 

As such, I’d like to postpone our back-patting and think about solutions for bringing this change about sooner than later, as I think that ending the regular harassment of women in games is better achieved today than tomorrow.

 

We can’t just Twitter-block the problem away. Even a video series critical of the medium is only a partial solution. Games culture needs to change at a grassroots level, and each of us have a part to play in that revolution if we want it to happen. It’s not only the worst of us who need to change. None of us are outside of this system. None of us are completely above its effects. None of us are entirely innocent. We all need to work to make our role in games culture more positive (which absolutely does not mean “less critical”).

 

So here are some preliminary tactics I propose for transforming games (feel free to propose your own in the comments, and offer revisions to mine):

 

  1. We don’t wait. We don’t wait until after that big, exciting sequel is out. We don’t wait until after E3, GDC, or PAX. We don’t wait until we finish this game we’ve been investing hours into, or until after we unlock that new assault rifle. We don’t wait for other people to fix this. There’s just going to be another E3 and another newly-announced game and another excuse to not look at the present state of games culture. This industry has been distracting us with carrots-on-sticks since its inception, repeatedly pulling the rug out from under us before we could even get oriented in the first place. There’s always been a promise of something better around the corner, so we don’t bother examining or acting-on what’s right in front of us. But we must examine ourselves and act, right now. We’ve been doing far too much waiting in games. We need to raise our expectations and stop waiting for the medium to mature. It’s 2014. The first generation of consoles was decades ago. The only reason for games to be immature is if its consumers and producers are allowing them to be that way. The people who have decided to terrorize this medium aren’t waiting around, so we shouldn’t either.

  2. We listen to those who are less privileged than we are, and we don’t adopt a default stance of skepticism towards their views and claims. We support them when we have the power to, we involve them when we have the power to, and we don’t ignore it when institutions fail to do these things. We each proudly claim the label of “social justice warrior” (if only to subvert its use as a pejorative). We do whatever we can to learn about the inequalities in the world, and we examine what we can do to change things for the better.

  3. We display broader interests as individuals who make and play games. We spend more time learning about the world beyond this industry. We put more effort into making games about things other than what we’ve already seen in games. Apparent sources of inspiration for games are getting suffocatingly narrow because people are increasingly likely to ignore all of the things outside of their window when they decide to make a game. There’s a lot of fascinating, beautiful, and horrifying stuff going on out there, and it’s more important to understand that than indulge in yet another escapist fantasy universe.

  4. We make and play fewer isolating games, including online multiplayer games. If our medium is designed for people to stay secluded for dozens of hours while having their egos stroked, then we reap what we sow in terms of the kinds of people who emerge from this pastime. We need to consider the very real possibility that the offensive behavior displayed by gamers in recent weeks is not unrelated to the artifacts they rally around (which I doubt are especially obscure). These people didn’t come from nowhere to fight about nothing. They came from games to fight about games. They’re organic results of the medium we’ve all played a role in cultivating, and they won’t go away if the medium doesn’t change significantly.

  5. We become far more mindful of the games we make and play. Sexism in games is pervasive and toxic. Racism in games is pervasive and toxic. Violence in games is pervasive and toxic. Despite the skepticism the games press shows at every opportunity, it *really* looks like violent games *do* make us more aggressive and less empathetic. If researchers are repeatedly suggesting this and then we complain that the vilest people in our communities are too aggressive and not empathetic enough, aren’t we partially to blame for our general eagerness to make and play games that have these overall effects on people? If you think you’re not affected, you’re sorely mistaken and you sound no less ridiculous than people who claim that advertising doesn’t work on them. (By the way, kids are regularly playing violent games too, because that’s what our culture says is expected of “real gamers”. ESRB ratings are pretty useless.)

  6. We maintain a critical eye towards the e-sports scene and its accompanying machismo. We’ve been trying to make careers out of playing what seem like the videogame equivalents of American football (MOBAs) and mixed martial arts (fighting games), in a warped attempt at gaining legitimacy for our pastime. Back when the genre of choice for the e-sports hopeful was first-person shooters, I had an intimate view of what these intensely competitive videogames often did to people (including me and my friends). Let me assure you that it’s very sad and ugly, and it doesn’t seem like that’s changed much. People passionately and regularly obsessing over brutalizing strangers’ avatars over the internet (in hopes of eventually doing it professionally) is scary and I deeply mistrust it.

  7. We change the culture of game consumption to be less about buying and rating games, and instead develop a paradigm that is more about playing and thoroughly investigating games. The reason this is so vital is because to be a “gamer” is not merely to play games. At its core, to be a “gamer” is to obsessively and regularly make the correct purchases. “Gamers” are such vicious gatekeepers because they want to protect the perceived value of their investments. We can subvert that by making and playing more free games, changing the ways we evaluate and discuss games, and finding new ways to fund game development.

  8. We jettison the hardcore/casual dichotomy. It’s utter garbage that’s only used for three reasons: 1) to feel superior to others, 2) to tragically submit to unjust hierarchies of play, or 3) to sell products (and effectively reinforce the other two). Besides, what’s more “casual”: mastering a free mobile game over many years or spending a Saturday buying and exhausting the latest murder simulator that you believed you were supposed to play?

  9. We let the industry’s tentpoles fall to the ground more often. We stop allowing ourselves to be told which games we need to play. We’re smarter than that. We abandon any skepticism any of us have towards underrepresented people’s deep concerns about the medium, and we are instead skeptical of game publishers’ interests in our well-being. (Drug dealers want their customers to have fun too, you know.)

  10. We always remember that we don’t need to buy new things in order to legitimately appreciate games. We play old games until they’ve revealed all of their secrets, and then we play them some more. We stop implicitly accepting the idea that games are meant to be disposable. We dissect gaming’s recent and ancient past (and everything in between) instead of just perpetually flailing around in its cacophonous, slippery, and overwhelming present (and future).

  11. We stop upholding “fun” as the universal, ultimate criterion for a game’s relevance. It’s a meaningless ideal at best and a poisonous priority at worst. Fun is a neurological trick. Plenty of categorically unhealthy things are “fun”. Let’s try for something more. Many of the alternatives will have similarly fuzzy definitions, but let’s aspire to qualities like “edifying”, “healing”, “pro-social”, or even “enlightening”. I encourage you to decide upon your own alternatives to “fun” in games (while avoiding terms like “cool” and “awesome” and any other word that simply caters to existing, unexamined biases).

  12. We don’t afford any credence to the idea that games are “just for fun”. Games are not neutral. Anita Sarkeesian is not imposing her feminist values onto games; she’s identifying the misogynistic values that game developers have (sometimes unwittingly) incorporated into games. You don’t have to think her efforts are perfect, but what she’s doing is not inappropriate. Discovering the values expressed by games is a responsible thing to do; discouraging that practice is cowardly. We need to regularly compare our games’ expressed values to our own real values. In the end, we may arrive at different conclusions about what different games mean, but we need to stop asserting that they’re meaningless.

  13. We make and play fewer linear games about one person saving the world. Take a look at the people terrorizing games culture lately: they're almost all tyrannical brats with messianic delusions. Where do you think they’re learning this behavior from?

  14. We make gaming more like recreation or reading than it is like religion. What we’re seeing lately is not merely a mob of odd hobbyists frustrated by change, but an army of fanatics on what they perceive to be a holy crusade. These people have dogmatic views of what games need to be (a theological approach, to be sure) and they express a devotion to the game industry that makes Mitt Romney’s tithing look stingy. Forget The Beatles, Mario is more popular than Jesus now, and any criticism of that franchise is going to be received by some as blasphemy. This is partly because we tend to treat gaming like it is a special club. But playing games isn’t special or unusual. It never was.

  15. We get serious about inclusivity, which means understanding that “game” is a very loose category that—even when defined relatively strictly—encompasses an astonishing range of activities. This means that we should associate less strongly around such a vague term. Being interested in games doesn’t mean you need to play every game that comes out and have an opinion on it. It doesn’t mean that every game is for you. The games press creates an illusion that every big game needs to be played by everyone who likes games. Games as a medium (or—more accurately to my mind, lately—a plurality of media) are more diverse than all of film, radio, television, print, etc. Compare two random works of one of those other media forms. Then compare two random games (digital or non-digital). There’s no contest: the breadth of games is staggering, and we need to cool it on the preoccupation with having an encyclopedic expertise-of and exposure-to all games.

  16. We do not assume that the harassment we’ve seen lately is a complete aberration. We understand that there is a link between this medium that terrorists see themselves as defending and the terrorism itself.

  17. We agree that caring about the world and its inhabitants is more important than clinging to our toys.

  18. We all grow up (starting this very instant), and we bring games along with us. This doesn’t mean making “grittier” or “darker” games. Rather, we make and play games that we have no reason to be ashamed of, and—most importantly—we’re honest about what may very well be shameful about games.


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Comments


Kim McAuliffe
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Love this.

Devin Wilson
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Many thanks for reading.

Daniella Brown
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"We make and play fewer linear games about one person saving the world. Take a look at the people terrorizing games culture lately: they're almost all tyrannical brats with messianic delusions. Where do you think they’re learning this behavior from?"

Social justice warriors want to save the world more than the "brats" you refer to, man.

Devin Wilson
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You're deliberately missing the main point.

We don't want to do this alone and we don't think we're on a holy mission.

And we don't want to preserve the status quo.

Craig Moore
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Then why do you talk as if you are on a holy mission? Honestly, sit back and read what you wrote.

"Gamers" aren't the problem. The negative connotations with "gamers" popped up after Phil Fish had yet another breakdown on Twitter and started calling everybody a nerd.

If you want to see anything you've just said happen, then first you need to stop drawing invisible boundaries and excluding people because you disagree with them, or their views. I fully support Zoe, Anita, Leigh et al. in the plight they're currently going through, and no rational human being is happy that this is happening, but decrying an entire community for the actions of the vocal minority (yes, minority) and then going on to tell us the kind of games we *should* be making, without a hint of irony...?

This article is so close to the definition of "lacking self awareness" it's disturbing.

Jill Astley
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And we actually do have a chance to make the world better - anyone does really. Just in their own small way, not a 'the chosen one' way.

'Social justice warriors' are just people who want to continue making the world better for everyone (unless you think we're all worse off since the Civil Rights movement?) They have a much more realistic viewpoint than someone who thinks/hopes/has illusions about saving the world from...whatever it is they're afraid of. Please don't tell me they're afraid of social justice, that's just sad.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Patrick Miller
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I really like this post, but I felt that the section about eSports and competitive games was rather dismissive. Sports -- of the athletic variety -- can be an incredibly powerful venue for political change as well, and I believe that eSports have every opportunity to do the same. Yes, competition is an incredibly emotionally-charged experience, and I do agree that it's worth paying critical attention to how the budding eSports industry grows over time, but I don't quite understand why you're throwing shade at competitive games in particular.

I have also had an intimate view of what competitive video games have done to people, especially my friends and I; they've motivated us, they've taught us skills, they've given us friends, they've opened up professional opportunities, and they've given us communities that support us in ways I've never had elsewhere in my life.

So when I read this blog post, I stumble on point #6, because it seems like you're going out of your way to shit on eSports in particular for vague allusions of "personal experience", where the rest of the article's argumentation and rhetoric are generally pretty dope.

Devin Wilson
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Sports absolutely can be a venue for social change. Ireland's GAA is an example I'm familiar with.

But I don't think e-sports is analogous, most of the time. I think that e-sports tend to be an alienating force, not a uniting one.

But that point may very well be the weakest here. I appreciate the comment, though I'm still mistrustful of e-sports and its culture.

Michael O'Hair
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"But I don't think e-sports is analogous, most of the time. I think that e-sports tend to be an alienating force, not a uniting one."

That seems to be an exaggeration based on the words and actions of a few bad actors within a group.

It would seem the statement being made is "everyone playing video games [competitively] is scum". Am I correct in that interpretation?

Additionally:
"Back when the genre of choice for the e-sports hopeful was first-person shooters, I had an intimate view of what these intensely competitive videogames often did to people (including me and my friends)."

1997? 1999? 2001?
What year is it now?

James Russell
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Sorry, but I'm going to keep making and playing fun games. There is more than enough room in the industry for both fun games and stuff like Gone Home/Depression Quest. You are going to have a VERY hard time convincing developers to dedicate years of their lives creating things that they don't enjoy creating. You are going to have an even harder time convincing AAA developers to stop making money by pandering to a small minority of social justice supporters; Gone Home, despite all its accolades and $20 price tag, sold a meager 50,000 copies in the first month.

If you want a change, you either have to:
A) Make these games yourself, or
B) Put your money where your mouth is and support developers who do make those games.

Devin Wilson
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"sold a *meager* 50,000 copies"

That's your personal evaluation. I think 50,000 sales is enormous, especially in one month.

I do make games myself.

I do support developers who make these games.

-----

Let me clarify one thing that people keep mistakenly reading into my post: I'm not arguing against fun altogether. Fun is allowed! (Do I really have to say this?)

But fun isn't the only thing worth thinking about (it's worth mistrusting a little bit, to be honest), and it's not the only thing that games do (even ones that pretend otherwise).

Jill Astley
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What does 'fun' mean to you? Does it require being able to beat up prostitutes? Backgrounds and NPCs showing unnecessary-to-the-plot nudity? Does it require NOT being able to choose the main character's gender?

Maybe you find this strange, but I have absolutely NO problem filling up my spare time playing really fun games without overt sexism and racism - do you think it's that difficult?

Spencer Rose
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Er, did I miss something somewhere? Where did anyone imply that violence against prostitutes, nudity, or gender are even remotely necessary to have fun? Games can be fun without this sort of subject matter, while also not going above and beyond the goal of 'having fun'.

Devin, I appreciate your clarification, because I was one of these people that misread what you meant by point 11. In my experience, 'fun' is a useful metric - like all measurements it has pitfalls, like its inherent subjectivity, but that doesn't invalidate it or make it less valuable. It's a great way to distill concepts that are a little more abstract, like player engagement, even for games that don't focus exclusively on being 'fun'.

Luis MIguez
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Yeah, the only way to have fun is to beat up prostitutes. Hell, those games like FTL are so boring.

Arthur De Martino
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"These people have dogmatic views of what games need to be"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaahahahahahahahaha oh wow.

Ricardo Hernandez
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It is rich irony isn't it?

Jeff Rosenberg
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2, 3, and 5 are your only valid points. Games should discuss more social issues. They could also use more perspectives and interesting writing. Games should be free to do say they want, on whatever topic they want. Games are a form of expression by the developers and a form of entertainment to the consumers. You want to know why this doesn't just happen? Because when people take offense to games, like that Fallujah game that got cancelled a while back, it stifles development and these stories get lost.

7 and 10 are plain idiotic; I can't pay rent or feed myself if I only produce free games, much in the same way you won't be able to pay your rent or feed yourself if the indie scene starves to death and you run out of stuff to write about. Free games are never free, they usually just hide the cost behind ad revenue or an in-game store. To say that people should stop paying money for games is a horrible idea. What "problem" does it solve? This idea is also flawed, because it assumes that calling yourself a "gamer" is completely about your purchasing decisions. I consider myself a gamer and I didn't purchase Mass Effect 3 because I didn't feel like it would be a good game. I didn't purchase Elder Scrolls Online because I played the beta and decided it wasn't worth a subscription. This ties in to my response to 9; people should be responsible consumers and remain skeptical about everything.

8 is a bit off as well. Someone that is hardcore is defined as "the most active, committed, or doctrinaire members of a group or movement", while a casual is "a person who does something irregularly." It's a descriptor relating to the activity of the player. It's important for developers and the community (8.3) to use because it describes the amount of activity the game is expected to require, and this helps us sell our games to the right markets and determine which method we should use to get money (see response to 7 as to why this matters). The first "reason" you provide to use the dichotomy is likewise silly. People like bragging about stuff. "X is a better game than Y". This exists within every gaming scene, even in groups not related to gaming. How often do you hear "X car is better than Y car", or "My penis is larger than your penis"? Arguing about who is better is a keystone of our civilization.

9 shouldn't need to be stated either. Know what you buy, buy what you want, and be a responsible consumer. The under-representation thing is also a bit off. Why should you ever throw away your skepticism just because someone is under-represented? Why should you throw away your skepticism EVER? Being able to form your own opinions is one of the strongest social tools humans have. If we didn't we'd all be ants in a colony.

Out of the lot, 11 and 12 are the most asinine. Games are for entertainment. Entertainment is a synonym of fun. Games are for fun. F is for friends that do stuff together, U is for u and me, etc. If, in your opinion, games AREN'T for fun, what are they for? Solely providing commentary on social issues or providing a platform for social justice? Because that seems more like an opinion piece in the news or a forum or maybe a protest. If that's what it is you want to be making, godspeed and good luck, just don't drag us down with you. If you feel like people need to stop having fun, pick a different industry to cover.

Viewing a few human beings acting nasty on the internet and generalizing that to say that all gamers are terrorists (16) is absurd and offensive. This is the same as calling someone a Nazi and it doesn't do anything for the discussion. It reminds me that there was some asshole that made a tweet saying that the anti-Quinn trolls on Twitter were worse than ISIS. Those guys that kill civilians in ditches. ISIS, the actual terrorist group the US is currently dropping explosives on over in the Middle East. When's the last time a group of gamers tossed a village of people into a ditch and killed them with AKs? If you honestly feel that gamers are terrorists, do the responsible thing and report them to the FBI.

14 and 17 both deal with human nature and there's no way any sane person should expect that games are going to change it. 14 is similar to saying that we should stop treating politics like religion. Sure, it'd be great if we could all get along, but people naturally tend into different groups, and these groups naturally butt heads when they disagree. It's human nature. If you think games of all things are going to change that, you're naive. 17 doesn't have any unique relationship with games. Take a child's toy away and they start to cry. Take an adult's car away because they didn't pay the bill and they yell and scream. Take a person's entertainment away and what do you think they'll do? In an ideal world, people would care for each other above their possessions, but this isn't an ideal world and stuff like that just doesn't work here.

I've no idea how you could plan to make any of these things happen. For your valid points, making the games industry a more open and appealing place to work would be the logical first step. Get more people making games, and you'll get more people from different walks of life. We need to start with kids and teach them technology in schools, and we need to promote the games industry in a positive light. Problem is, if you want to get more girls to code, what's more effective: telling them it's a fun and interesting field or telling them about all of the harassment women get in the industry? Guys which one the indie scene is doing now?

As for 18, I've nothing to be ashamed about. I'm proud that I'm sane enough to view games for what they are and enjoy them without worrying what other people think about me. I don't think any self proclaimed gamer is ashamed about what they play either.

Devin Wilson
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I'm only going to focus on one of your points, because a lot of the rest of what you're saying depends on premises I disagree with. I'll say this much, though: you're underestimating how many people do make games for free (thousands). One of my favorite game designers is Pippin Barr. The vast majority of his games are free.

By the way, I don't get paid to make or write about games (though I engage in both activities).

"If you honestly feel that gamers are terrorists, do the responsible thing and report them to the FBI."

You do realize that—extremely recently—specific people (women) were in fact terrorized in the name of games purity, to the point that these people *did* need to contact the authorities, right?

A hastily gathered dictionary definition of terrorism (meaning I didn't sift for the one that best-suited my views): "use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes".

How is what we've seen lately not terrorism, given that definition? If you think that folks motivations aren't political, then you're ignoring the the "SJW" rhetoric that accompanies all of the intimidation people are experiencing right now.

If your understanding of terrorism is limited to Muslims with explosives and AK-47s, that's a problem in your view of the term, not my argument. Even the latest Counter-Strike game represents terrorism more broadly than that.

Mike Hatley
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So trolls that exist in EVERY community now represent the entire community of gamers? Seriously? You don't see what is wrong with that sort of narrative? You don't see what is wrong with people like me being called a terrorist merely for disagreeing with your SJW viewpoint? Because I believe that "Social justice" isn't actually justice?

Ricardo Hernandez
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"You do realize that—extremely recently—specific people (women) were in fact terrorized in the name of games purity, to the point that these people *did* need to contact the authorities, right?"

The problem I have with this - of *you* and many writers that apparently synced together to write these "let's end the gamer word" recently is that you have picked from a group of crazies and made it the whole set. Sorry but that's faulty logic at its best. Not only that, the condescending and preachy way some of you have gone about it (and I am not saying condemning the horrible acts, but extending it to the whole set "gamer") is quite insulting.

Good luck changing the term. I refuse to let an article like this re-define at term I have used for so long with so innocent consequences.

Cleiton Oliveira
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The blog post raises a lot of valid points. As for your response, I will just comment on one specific part:

"If, in your opinion, games AREN'T for fun, what are they for?"

Games don`t need to live on a cage and always be fun. There`s lots of movies, books, music, etc, that are also entertainment and also art and don`t need to be fun, so let`s not put games on a box, or treated like an inferior art form.

And sorry for my "engrish", it`s not my first language.

Larry Carney
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Good sir, your blog has made me actually "LOL."

Bravo!

Christopher Gore-Gammon
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I am young, and I have grown up to believe that this community was perfect, but in the recent years I have come to realize the reality. That is not to say that I do not have faith in this community and industry. I may not agree with every single thing you brought up, but I do agree that change must come and it must come now for the betterment of this community.

Devin Wilson
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Thanks for reading.

Andrew McLeod
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Unfortunately I don't have time to make a more in-depth comment today, but I wanted to mention that I really appreciate the image in your userpic. Fantastic visual expression of an idea.

Vasily Yourchenko
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Funny that you mention messiah complexes. I am of the opinion that the idea that humanity can be somehow redeemed by a "perfect" work of art is driven by a great deal of self importance and hubris. "If only I were to make the ideal game, then everyone would get along!". It is comforting to think that we are in control, that our actions directly dictate the shape of the world at large, that we can fix everything. In truth our influence is as a breeze in a storm. Gamer culture is vile because mainstream culture is vile. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and hatred in general reign supreme wherever you look.

I am not saying that you should not be doing your part, however infinitesimally small, to make the world a better place. I am not saying you should not take responsibility for the consequences of your actions (though I disagree on what said consequences are, but that's another story for another time). I am saying that the belief that the industry is responsible for the sorry state of human culture gives it entirely too much credit.

Devin Wilson
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Games are huge, and cultural influence is a two-way street.

At their core, games can be so much better. Games can bring people together and give people more sophisticated understandings of the world.

But that's not what games are typically used for now.

And this isn't a problem that's going to be solved by one game. That thought never crossed my mind. But we can transform games culture by encouraging, promoting, and playing different kinds of games. It's not asking for a miracle, at all.

Thor Reinheart
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I do not understand the point of this post, nor the other recent blogs about the term 'gamer'. I see no purpose in any of this, and mostly just see a bunch of self-righteous crusaders who show a vast lack of understanding of language and the world they live in. I am all for making the world better, but this isn't making the world better. This is just another stupid politically correct crusade that ultimate does not make things better. Instead it just uses fear to make people act the way you want to make them act.

"Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." -Yoda

It might be from a movie, but there are not many statements more true.

You do not make the world a better place by using fear and shame to make people act the way you want them to act. You change the world, or in this case gamer culture, through acts of love.

Russell Flowers
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What is this blurb from the main page?

'Devin Wilson offers 18 weird tricks to bring about the end of "gamers". Conservative hatemongers...'

That caught my attention, since I am myself a conservative hatemonger. However, I don't see any mention of it, or anything much related, in the article.

Taylor Gammon
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I agree, I was as a "conservative hatemonger" quite surprised to see that openly draped under the headline on the daily email as well. I personally think he just felt like typing more politics and his political views in to the article with the Truther, Birther etc. comments.

Yea, there are trolls out there, on the internet and otherwise. Sometimes people get trolled for doing things they shouldnt, sometimes its un-warranted.

Christian Nutt
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BTW, that blurb was also supplied by the author. Also, my take on the statement is that it's tongue in cheek, not serious. If we promoted this blog on the front page beyond featuring it (we didn't), that wouldn't be the blurb we would have chosen, FWIW.

Simon Love
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"We make and play fewer linear games about one person saving the world. Take a look at the people terrorizing games culture lately: they're almost all tyrannical brats with messianic delusions. Where do you think they’re learning this behavior from?"

That is indeed an important thing to ponder.

Great read! I love that it offers possible solutions instead of simply stating the issue.

Benjamin Branch
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I feel like I just read the Unabomber's manifesto after turning down the intelligence a little and cranking up the crazy a lot. Gamers are fine. Games are fine. Get over yourself.

Luis Guimaraes
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"Critics who treat 'adult' as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

— C.S. Lewis

Zak Guthrie
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You make a couple really valid points in here-and even the stuff I don't agree with completely, I see where you're coming from but... 11?

What do you mean here? Every game should be an after school special that teaches us a special lesson? Or that games from now on must be humorless straight faced looks into the depths of mans soul? Street Fighter isn't "enlightening" and Mario Kart isn't "HEALING" but they're both FUN, and that's why people enjoy them! People like FUN! And even if a game subject matter IS serious-shouldn't its gameplay be "fun"?!

This one point alone makes you sound out of your mind!

Ricardo Hernandez
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I am sorry but I am seeing this article as yet another push for ending a term that I see nothing wrong with. Mysteriously enough, looks like quite a spread of articles have popped up together almost in unison in the last few days.

"Whether it’s in the concluding chapter of Ian Bogost’s How to Do Things With Videogames (“The End of Gamers”), Dan Golding’s more recent blog on the subject (with the same title, oddly enough), or the hundreds of tweets being written about it, we’re seeing calls to do away with the concept of “gamers” altogether."

Sorry but no. The only people I see doing this is people like you and the others whose articles were written recently. I don't understand the issue. This is a word. Every community has its bad apples. This is a term I have used since the dawn of time and now because some guys who feel so self entitled as to dictate what should or ought to be considered a "gamer" then all of a sudden I should stop using it.

I find this absurd. So pick your next term. The trolls and haters will still be there and what is the solution? Retire the next word and pick something else? I really don't understand where this marketing/Lysol™ politically correct sanitizing effort is coming from.

Rather than trying to retire a word, how about living the example you think should be lived by those who play games.

James Margaris
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This list of 18 points is mostly "make the games I want to play."

It's also extremely odd to posit that we need a Protestant Reformation of games, complete with an equivalent to Martin Luther's 95 Theses, then claim that others take gaming too seriously and more like a religion than a recreation.

I'm sure the author is well-intentioned but the lack of self-awareness demonstrated here is very off-putting. They come off as the exact sort of holy warrior they decry.

Ricardo Hernandez
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I just read this: "We all grow up (starting this very instant), and we bring games along with us. This doesn’t mean making “grittier” or “darker” games. Rather, we make and play games that we have no reason to be ashamed of, and—most importantly—we’re honest about what may very well be shameful about games."

Ugh seriously. These games already exist. I can cite several games I feel no shame to show I play. How about everyone speaks for themselves and *chooses better* from games that are good that already exist? This whole litany of rules is the death of creativity. I am not saying there are no points to be examined on some games or some sub-groups within gamers (that are hardly the total group of gamers).

How about discussing games that already exist as good examples of game design and content that promote inclusion? And yes, while still being a gamer. Why not?

Bart Stewart
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While I wouldn't say it in the same way, I agree with the overall motivation of this article. As the Marines say, "Silence implies consent," and no one should consent to jerks treating other people badly, in games or anywhere else.

The reason I'm commenting at all on this is because I'd like to point out that the fundamental argument being made in these criticisms is precisely and exactly the same one that conservative critics of computer games have been making for years: games, like movies and TV shows, have a real influence on culture. One game is not going to turn kids into killers or saints, but a blanketing barrage of TV shows and movies and games does affect what people grow up believing is acceptable and what is not.

That means -- again, as conservative analysts have long said -- that the content of games does matter. Creators do have a moral responsibility for what they create. And thoughtful, responsible criticism of a game for the potential effect of its content on the larger culture is not improper.

That doesn't mean people from different political belief systems must agree about what specific games or game-related behaviors they think are wrong. And it doesn't mean they're going to agree on tactics for addressing those effects. For example, trying to make things off-limits for other people (like Newspeak attempts to change minds by changing the language) is different from explaining why you won't endorse something and trusting other people to decide for themselves if they agree with you or not. But it does mean that it's misguided and unhelpful to try to brand jerkishness (in games or anything else) as purely a product of political conservatism. There's plenty of intolerant behavior to go around.

When responsible critics from both perspectives actually agree that games contribute to what a culture looks like, and that some cultural behaviors are less good than others, maybe that's common ground they should try to build on together instead of trying to use games as just another convenient club for beating up people who have a different view of the best way to organize a society.

Amir Barak
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People who play games are gamers.
Nothing in your article suggests the term is misapplied.
You basically want people to be nicer, take more responsibility for their actions and generally be better at being human. Nothing to do with what or who a gamer is.

I'm a gamer. I've been playing games since I was 5 and I'll continue until I die. But I'm not only a gamer. And no one really is. People associate many different labels to themselves. You want to change the 'gamer' culture, guess what, the most important part of it are the games. And we make the games, not gamers. You want to start telling game developers to take an active part in shaping the culture for the better. And having Phil Fish calling gamers "rapists" is not helping. Maybe Phil Fish and Zoe Quinn (I'm targetting those two because this entire thing is about them really) and all of us who are so very offended by 4chan and doxxers and whatnot could actually step up and lead by example there wouldn't be so much shit to put in the fan.

And finally. No, my last statement is not supporting violence and rape threats and death threats and hacking. It's simply applying the same principals you want to uphold 'gamers' with to yourself and other game developers.

Michael Joseph
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Seems to me you are very much in agreement with Devin Wilson. He's not talking about people like yourself. I think he defined what he means by "gamer" even if you feel that definition is unorthodox. So if I may suggest, it's probably best to just disregard the label and go with the definition he implies throughout instead if you want to understand where he's coming from.

I don't really care for labels. I love Star Trek but don't call me a "Trekkie" or "Trekker." I love games but don't call me a "gamer." We're all many things. I think you're basically saying that too. But we don't have to go around being a list of labels.

The problem with labels is they invariably wind up being co-opted by people who have no vested interest in the subculture beyond trying to make a buck. Such is our way of life. And "gamer" has long since become a marketing term hasn't it? And when that happens, the original subculture loses control of the term and for some it potentially stops being a positive (as you may still see it) and it becomes a negative. So I can understand why some folks hate "gamer" and "gamer culture."

One day you wake up and find yourself saying "WAIT A SECOND! I'M NOW SUPPOSED TO IDENTIFY WITH THOSE PEOPLE? I DON'T EVEN LIKE THOSE PEOPLE! Where on earth did they come from? These paper lions are juvenile, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, toxic slimeballs! And they can't spell worth a damn!" Subsequently in casual conversation one day you refer to yourself as a "gamer" and suddenly you feel as though you're being unintentionally self deprecating.

Consider for a moment.. you're at a social gathering full of strangers. You're mingling and you mention to some random person that you're a gamer and the first thing that pops into their mind is their raging Call of Duty playing nephew... Yeah.. that's some imagery you want to be associated with...

It's not all the fault of mainstream game developers and the games they've made, but mainstream devs over the last 15 - 20 years must share some responsibility for the vicious brood they've helped raise.

I don't remember hearing the term "gamer" earlier than the late 90s. Anyone with knowledge of the history (use and popularity) of "gamer" please share. It's probably like "indie?" Starts out as a counter culture term expressing fellowship, endearment, spiritedness, passion, experimentation, outside the box thinking and self reliance (aka being broke. lol) and it's transformed into a sexy marketing label. Also, can anyone talk about the differences between playing online with voice communications in the states vs in a country like South Korea?

This post is USDA certified 100% *organic.

-
*may contain non-organic and inorganic substances.

p.s. PAX Prime live on twitch http://www.twitch.tv/pax
and speaking of twitch, some streamers are very good at setting an example of how to play games in a non-toxic way and demanding the same from the viewers participating in their chat.

Craig Moore
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"Seems to me you are very much in agreement with Devin Wilson. He's not talking about people like yourself. I think he defined what he means by "gamer" even if you feel that definition is unorthodox."

And that's exactly what Phil Fish and co. said with a smirk: "If you think 'gamers' applies to you, then it probably does. Idiots." followed by "kill all gamers", "gamers are literally rapists" etc.. There are better ways to describe the people they were referring to but instead they chose to cause controversy by using a word that many people identify with.

Setting those (fundamentally objective) exclusions does not help anybody, it does not further any cause, and in fact leads to a zero win scenario. Seriously, what good will retiring 'gamer' do for anybody? If anything, it'll cause more harm as people who have managed to miss this whole dramafest will continue to use it, only to find out later that certain people with access to blogging software have decided that the word is now tantamount to 'terrorist'.

As for this...

"You're mingling and you mention to some random person that you're a gamer and the first thing that pops into their mind is their raging Call of Duty playing nephew... Yeah.. that's some imagery you want to be associated with..."

I'd be much more concerned with the person stereotyping -- and actively comparing -- a full grown adult with their nephew with anger problems.

Now, the implication you made (intentionally or otherwise) is that gaming is inherently childish. If you'd be so kind, have a look at the C.S Lewis quote that Luis Guimaraes posted earlier. It's very fitting.

Amir Barak
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Thing is , I don't call you anything. You get to decide what and who you are and how you want to use words. Language isn't about true/false definitions. Leigh and Devin don't get to decide when and how words are used. A 'gamer' is a person that plays games. Not a person that commits crimes (that's a criminal). Not a person that bullies other people (that's a bully), etc. etc.

Attacking the whole concept of the 'gamer' is clickbait. It's a cheap trick designed to jump on a very specific 'trendy' bandwagon and make the author/s feel superior. It has zero to do with fixing the problem.

Matthew Bentley
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I don't think the Fez developer or Zoe Quinn deserved anything they got. They responded appropriately to people who were abusive and deserved it. Anybody in real life would've done the same thing, or called the police. In the world of the internet, there is no police, and that only leaves you to defend yourself. And no, defending yourself - honourably or dishonourably - does in no way deserve the repercussions that those two people have experienced. It is horrific. There is not defense for it whatsoever. The people doing it are narcissistic morons. And what you are doing is re-victimising by calling them responsible.

Mike Hatley
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Right, so why am I being lumped in with their abusers just because I too believe they should be removed from the industry for the harassment they committed? After all just last month "you guys" voted Tempkin off the island just for the mere allegation, and for Quinn we have actual proof.

Devin Wilson
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Um, Zoë didn't rape or sexually assault anybody. I don't need to draw a conclusion about Temkin's guilt or innocence to know that you're making extremely problematic comparisons here.

Michael Joseph
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@Amir Barak

RE: "It has zero to do with fixing the problem."

What is the problem as you see it? And how would you fix it?

Amir Barak
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Um... for this situation?
I would probably stop giving a stage to people who flame the fires with biased and ignorant posts. And next we should probably start looking at gamers.

Amir Barak
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Let me point out for example that the title of your article is inflammatory for no particular reason other than to generate controversy. What does that say about its contents and its author exactly?

Lu Velasquez
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>Fun is a neurological trick.
You could apply that to literally fucking anything. Emotions are just a neurological trick. Thoughts are just a neurological trick. Really, the whole world as you perceive it is one big fucking neurological trick. Might as well just lie down in a ditch somewhere because any enjoyment you get out of anything is just a neurological trick, as is any desire to continue living or reproduce.

Michael Joseph
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Well there's a context to what he was saying and his point within context is obvious. "Fun" by itself does not denote goodness, quality, appropriateness, healthiness, or anything else. Yet for years, making "fun" games has been the goal of mainstream game design as if a "fun" game was synonymous with a "good" game. But "good" only meant sold tons of copies and was divorced from all other meanings that we commonly associate with "good." Fun is just a bag of sugar. Some developers are interested in mixing that ingredient along with other more wholesome ingredients to create something more nutritious... call it carrot cake. :D

Lu Velasquez
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Your analogy is flawed, as there nothing in game design is factually "good", or "bad", as opposed to something like carrot cake where there is objectivity, we know it contains vitamins and minerals and so it's "objectively" healthier for you than a bag of sugar and so on.

There is no format for which the medium must build off of. There is nothing "more wholesome", it is not 2+2=4, where there is a base numeral value, and it is not history or biology, where we've physically looked at what factually exists/existed and hypothesized or concluded, it is not chemistry where we know the electrolysis of water will produce oxygen and hydrogen gas.

"Bad" game design exists once you apply criteria. Now sure, different people have different criteria. But there is no cosmic absolute that dictates what is "good" or "bad" in game design and makes it more "healthy" or "wholesome" or "edifying" or "valuable". Applying critical criteria and reason leads us to develop opinions that actually have depth. These criteria are formed from people actually investing in a process of logic or reason. Attempting to value media in the way the original poster implies is either anti intellectual or completely narcissistic.

Luis Guimaraes
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The most ancient and natural purpose of both Toys (Systems being interacted and experimented with, without Goals) and Games (Systems being consciously manipulated, with Goals) is that they exist to teach important things to individuals or groups.

This is not exclusive to the Human species, and what's more important to learn varies from one species to another. In the case of Humans, intelligence is the most important characteristic of an individual or group.

So, if a Game makes you more intelligent it's better than one that has no effect on your intelligence, which is in turn better than one that makes you less intelligent.

Some Games, specially Videogames, exploits a loophole in the human brain desire for learning new things and putting them to practice successfully, by teaching useless skills and providing falsified positive feedback as results for the practical application of those skills.

This is not necessarily either good or bad Game Design – my personal opinion is that it's bad and unfaithful – but it's cunning Game Design nonetheless.

Michael Joseph
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@Lu Velasquez

The analogy is not flawed. The analogy was to support a subjective statement. "Good" and "bad" are subjective terms and people use them to express personal tastes. Duh. They also use them to advocate personal views.

If you're such an intellectual, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Instead of trying to educate us about the difference, you'd have realized that you've entered a subjective discussion about culture and ethics. If you don't like it when people have these sorts of discussions then I don't know what to say. Too bad? But it's foolhardy to try and change such a discussion into one about objective knowledge.

Lu Velasquez
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The words you type out are unreal and rather jarring, because I genuinely think you mistook the point of my post completely.

Matthew Bentley
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F'ing A.
This almost made me punch my fist in the air in righteous exclusive happiness.
I would like to add one point to your list though:
* Stop making poorly-programmed/designed/exclusivist games with high hardware requirements so that people with lower budgets can't afford to play them.
The central reason for this development is third party tools and laziness on the part of programmers. When I see flash games that look like they were made in the 90's but won't run on a 2009 netbook I KNOW something's wrong.
For example, I love "You have to win the game", but the hardware requirement? Opengl 2.0, shader model 3. It's a game that looks like (is meant to look like) a game played on a CGA system. And it won't run on a laptop.
The lazy/absolutist attitude of 'oh there's no need to optimise, what are you running, a 486?' is pathetic and has got to stop if people want to get the games out of the hands of a privileged few and into the larger, less disposable-income-afforded, population at large.

Devin Wilson
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A valuable priority, to be sure. Thanks for reading and—even more so—for contributing.

Josh Neff
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Some of those points have merit... quite a few of them are out and out flawed or overly ideological.
Taken as a whole, I'd immediately discard and "TL;DR" anything that starts off demonizing anyone who assumes the title "Gamer". I'll never accept that bad behavior of some individuals means they win the rights to a term I was raised with. No. Gamer is a term that doesn't belong to maleficence anymore than the term Feminism belongs to man-haters. If you wish to address sexism within the community, that is all well and good... but I'll be damned before I surrender the term "Gamer" to them.

Matthew Calderaz
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Well said Josh.

As a life-long and empathetic gamer who absolutely has no tolerance for bullying; I find myself unwilling to spend the time reading the original article in it's entirety after seeing the offensive title and seeing several hasty generalizations sprinkled throughout that grossly mischaracterize online bullying, misogyny and harassment as somehow intrinsic to 'gamer culture'.

Michael Joseph
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Josh: I'm curious. What does "gamer" mean to you then?

I mean because if this is just about "a person who plays games" then I find the objection to surrendering the term pretty funny. You can't lose the term as you well know :) You can continue to call yourself a gamer all you want. The police aren't going to kick down your door and take it away.

What we're really talking about is how that term is becoming viewed and used within the industry's marketing departments, in mainstream media and culture, and by some very vocal, disruptive and toxic player subcultures.

In that sense, perhaps you've already lost control of the term. You don't have a problem with Devin Wilson. You have a problem with the people who are redefining "gamer" from under your feat.

Anyways, I still think the strong attachment to the word by some folks is interesting.

Amir Barak
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I have an issue with people being holier-than-thou. It's not about "losing the word" because the whole concept is stupid.

"What we're really talking about is how that term is becoming viewed and used within the industry's marketing departments, in mainstream media and culture, and by some very vocal, disruptive and toxic player subcultures. "
The only people crying over this word so far have been writers writing against it. From your assessment then we can conclude that these writers are either, "marketing", "mainstream" or "toxic". Great. At least you can now understand why people are trying to tell them they've got no leg to stand on.

Michael Joseph
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you're doing a lot of crying sir. you are acting like the sky is falling. If it's not about losing the word then what exactly are you so upset about? "Holier-than-thou" people? I don't believe you. You could have said that several hundred lines ago.

and once again, I'm talking from a very specific perspective. I don't know how to be more clear. You insist on applying statements made within a specific narrow context to the general.

As for your conclusion... you seem to be saying that if you try to describe something, then you are the something. Try again. Never mind don't bother. You're probably a reasonable person but at this particular moment for whatever reason we're not even able to agree on what we're disagreeing about. It's a bad sign and good time to cease.

Amir Barak
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Let me make it clear then. I'm talking about the fact that for the last few days (if not more) there's been a huge sort of backlash against the whole idea of the word "gamer". Where in fact that word has nothing to do with anything. The word gamer describes a person who plays games, talks about games and participate in their specific gaming-related subculture. There are various games out there. There are various gamers out there. The whole discussion about the term 'gamer' annoys me because people throw it around like an insult. Like I said before. Assholes are assholes. Criminals are criminals. And both of them can also be gamers. This does not suddenly mean that everyone calling themselves a gamer is those two things. And the fact that Leigh and the rest have risen above this title is all very nice and good but it smacks of holier-than-thou and is condescending.

Get this through if nothing else. I'm a gamer. I'm not prone to random acts of violence. I only threaten people face-to-face if they deserve it. I have two kids. I pay my taxes and I'm quite social and hell, I even agree with Anita Sarkeesian in a lot of what she say. I like calling myself a gamer. I don't need anyone coming over to teach me what that word mean and I don't need sanctimonious bastards to tell me I should be better than this. Sorry. That pisses me off.

And for the record I didn't start this conversation, you did and Leigh did and Devin did. And now what? I need to sit down and bit quiet because obviously you're right? Please, spare me.

I think a big problem with this whole conversation is the "games-as-art" movement. I don't think games should be art (although some have good art in them). Games are fun. Games are educational. And games are interesting. Not all games are good and just like shitty AAA games can't hide behind pretty graphics I don't think shitty indie games should hide behind "but it's art".

Luis Guimaraes
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"Like I said before. Assholes are assholes. Criminals are criminals. And both of them can also be gamers."

I've been constantly baffled the last few days contemplating how Videogame Developers can understand Polymorphism and still think in generalizations, or demonstrate no ability to put very basic logical reasoning in practice.

The apparent disdain for useful technical definitions is like that of an outsider. To quote the RSI:

"In fact, all scientists should make it clear when they are speaking as scientists – ex cathedra – and when they are recommending policy they believe should flow from scientific information."

Are we Game Developers or are we just the general public?

When you talk about the differences between Videogame, Game, Toy, System and Story everyone jumps out like you're trying to prove their god isn't real. But where there is really broad term they want to lock it down on specific narrow views and force external meanings not pertinent to it just so it can be targetted by scorched earth tactics in a retaliation campaign.

If this industry keeps existing for long enough, the only words left in the Dictionary will be "stuff" and "thing", but I could be there would be a discussion (by gestures language probably) about what's a "thing" and what's a "stuff", and then the less "inclusive" term would be the next worst enemy of mankind.

John Dickinson
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I'm getting really, really tired of seeing the propaganda of cultural marxism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Marxism) injected into everything.

Fun games, game for play and competition, built this industry from the ground up. 30 years worth of customers don't get thrown out because someone's political sensibilities are ruffled. You're not going to run the the industry on social mobile phone games, Gone Home walkaround narrative experiences, and a show of contempt to the loyal fanbase that has kept people employed even in an industry where they're often laid off in between development cycles.

Ganesh Chandrasekaran
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I agree with a some of points made here. The gaming industry does need to be more inclusive, we need to start including all demographics in our games and we most definitely need to take care and responsibility on what our games include and convey.

But that is all i agree with. I do not see why the term 'gamer' itself needs to go just because a few idiots went about tackling the issue the wrong way. There are trolls, haters and extremists on every community and i mean EVERY community. What a retarded portion of the group say should not be implicitly applied to the community or culture as a whole and result in genuine attempts at dialogue and discussion being ignored. If that is the case, no good change will ever happen. As a person calling myself a gamer, when the actions of a few get slapped on me and told me that i should be ashamed of myself for calling me a gamer, there is a problem. No part of the community speaks for the whole. The vocal few is a concept everyone, especially us from the gaming industry, knows all too well.

Saying we need to be careful of e-sports is one i strongly disagree with. Saying that "People passionately and regularly obsessing over brutalizing strangers’ avatars over the internet (in hopes of eventually doing it professionally) is scary and I deeply mistrust it" is, in my opinion, not at all a fair assessment. As a person who has been playing DOTA and eventually DOTA 2 with my friends and strangers for a long time, i can confidently say that it has helped me a good deal. It has taught me the basics of team work, trusting your fellow members and a philosophy of don't give up. On the topic of fun, entertainment and growing up, i am all for it. But my one request would be, give the industry some time to experiment and grow. The indie scene is currently showing the way with outstanding games and it would not be long before the big studios adopt the changes. Radically changing your approach is especially hard when millions of dollars and the livelihoods of hundreds of people are on the line. Yes, we need to change. As an indie developer, i can explore what i want in my games but i definitely do not want to do that when the stakes get big unless i am reasonably sure. Considering the development cycle of AAA games are usually 2-3 years, even if they are experimenting now, the initial details usually wont surface until a year later at least. Give them time and let them learn from the experience of indie games and their small fledgling experiments.

Chris Book
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http://unity3d.com/

You now have the ability to make any progressive art game (hopefully calling your game a game isn't offensive) you want, without trying to force everyone else to conform to what you want! If the industry is terrible, lead us by example.

Josh Neff
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So, in response to a number of comments:

The term Gamer is a rather diverse term… it refers to both men and women, young and old who play games – that is perhaps the most dilute answer I can come up with… I could add detail to it; Gamers embrace popular media for the purposes of sharing and experiencing the human condition in an enjoyable way. Or perhaps people who come together to partake in collaborative imaginary world creations (tabletop RPGs)… The truth is, there is no singular “right” definition for Gamer… and my objection comes at the notion that demonizing an entire category of people, because a small subset of people are demonizing others, is wrong.

Right or wrong, I’ve come to view being a Gamer as a culture. I can immediately strike up conversations with other gamers over darn near any game out there…and we can have a great time through that social interactivity.

Its really no different that people talking politics, religion, sports, martial arts, art etc… people naturally draw to their interests… and to others who’re interested in the same topic. Every single category I just listed has its problem subsets, without exception… but if we’re being reasonable and fair about it, those subsets don’t represent the category as a whole. In this same way, toxic elements do not represent Gamers or Gamer culture.

When people talk about doing what they can to ferret out sexism, racism and other anti-social behaviors that are sometimes codified within a game, I’m 100% on board with that. What is not okay, in my view, is to presume that all gamers belong to that minority subset, and so should be treated the same.

If we weren’t talking about the notion of demonizing an entire category of people (which has never worked out for the best historically) then perhaps I’d be a little less abrasive about this… then again, I’m VERY opinionated, so perhaps not… and we ARE talking about demonizing Gamers. Sorry, I just cannot sit back and abide that.

Martijn Muller
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I don't know which games industry with which games developer by which developers and played by which gamers this list is based on, but it certainly isn't the one I'm working in.

I see a lot of examples in this list of strawhuman gamers who do a lot of strawhuman things spurred on by a lot of strawhuman journalists and strawhuman developers, but the real games industry I know and work in, with the real developers and the real gamers, is not as mind numbingly stupid as whatever strawhuman industry is portrayed here.

Daniel Mann
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I see the very simple idea of a Demographic eludes this Writer. This might be the most sickening thing I've ever read on a Gaming Site. Honestly, the most moronic, ill-conceived thing I've ever read on a gaming site. This writer has zero clue. And Gamasutra, you should be ashamed for running this poison of an article.

Daniel Mann
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How can this writer be qualified to write about such topics when it is abundantly clear through his inane rambling that he doesn't understand the simple concept of a Demographic? Not to mention that many of his points, whether he realizes it or not, come across as frighteningly Pro-Censorship. Way to remove that advocate of Free Speech in terms of "Progress."

Quite frankly this article is a joke in every manner of speaking. The writer should hang his head in shame (or get more life experience which he so clearly needs) and Gamasutura, you should also hang your head in shame for having the gall to post such garbage.

And if you do block this comment, then you've just proven the point that you are Pro-Censorship and thus you should forfeit your right to Free Speech.

Martijn Muller
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In all fairness to Gamasutra, anyone can post a blog here. The choice to make it a featured article, I agree, is one that might need reconsideration.

Hakim Boukellif
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The only way to achieve a society free of inequality and bigotry is by people working together to break down walls and build bridges. You're not going to get it by establishing demilitarized zones.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Perry de Havilland
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Oh you got to see the funny side, these attempts at semantic engineering are quixotic to say the least. Every time you write "we" you should look behind you and ask yourself "where is everyone?"

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Luis MIguez
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"We stop upholding “fun” as the universal, ultimate criterion for a game’s relevance. It’s a meaningless ideal at best and a poisonous priority at worst. Fun is a neurological trick. Plenty of categorically unhealthy things are “fun”. Let’s try for something more. Many of the alternatives will have similarly fuzzy definitions, but let’s aspire to qualities like “edifying”, “healing”, “pro-social”, or even “enlightening”. I encourage you to decide upon your own alternatives to “fun” in games (while avoiding terms like “cool” and “awesome” and any other word that simply caters to existing, unexamined biases)."

What is it with the media obssesion that games have to be some sort of higher art form that transcends everything and that the message is more important than the gameplay, or that it's supposed to be incredibly relevant? Jesus christ people like the one who wrote this article is why people who enjoy videogames are so fed up with "journalists" and bloggers.

Frank Inktomi
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I wrote this to Leigh and Luke Plunkett, it seems to apply to you too.

Many people loved using the word "gamer" when it was hip, popular and upcoming it was such an over-used buzzword. We never asked for a label. That is for marketers and advertisers to use to catch the young market who is looking for an identity.

The older crowd, like me, who never dared allow themselves to be branded with it look at you and the rest of your brethren and laugh.

Remember that this is a multi-billion dollar industry and how it started.

Remember that is why you are here, to make a living writing for this crowd you are ready to claim "is over."

Remember that is was our money that helped build this industry to where it is now. We are the "hyper-consumers."

Remember the "the gamer" when you look at your bank account and your direct deposit paycheck is there. It is there because you write for (Gamasutra) Kotaku, which would not exist without video games-which wouldn't exist if we didn't spend BILLIONS every year on video games.

Remember that this is supposed to be about having fun.

Shahab Babakhani
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Game developers at best have to share the driver's seat with gamers, or players, or whatever you want to call the people who pay your salaries and allow you to make the games we love in the first place.
I am all for a wider audience for games, and I am all for games "growning up", although I think putting it like that is kind of patronizing, as a lot of amazing games have been made, released, and loved over the history of gaming. We should be careful that we don't denigrate the developers who have come before us, that created the games that made people passionate about gaming, and allowed gaming to become as big and varied as it is today.
With all the new platforms we have today and distribution methods and funding methods this is a super exciting time to be either a developer or a gamer. Gaming is changing in ways that none of us can predict.
This article does not feel like it is written by someone excited about the coming changes in gaming. It sounds like reactionary dross from someone upset and angered by all the unpleasantness that has been going on surrounding so called "gamergate".

John Cobalt
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I'm beyond belief. I can find passages from Marx himself that would correspond with your points.

We live in a free market, the market is very organic, the big development budgets will go to the largest demographics. Central planning is about as far from gaming as it can be and thank god for that, it would weaken diversity as it did in certain countries despite your fine points.

If you want the "Gamer" to disappear -> Create as many diverse games as possible using the free market, once everyone is playing more or less every genre, it will go away on its own no need for 18 commandments, we have 10 of those already and I'm completely filled up.

Less green leaves, more green bills.

dan factor
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I find this extraordinary. For years it was conservative morality campaigners who argued that violence in video games fuel aggression but here we have gaming journalists saying the same thing.

You are taking a very old right wing moral panic about video game violence and repackaging it as a progressive radical argument.

Your views are little more than what people like Jack Thompson have been saying.

Also your comments about multiplayer games is more or less telling games players what games they shouldn't be playing.


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