“Gamer” – What’s in a Name? – Extra Credits
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“Gamer” – What’s in a Name? – Extra Credits

September 10, 2019


hey folks today we’re going to be talking about one word gamer for some it’s a badge of pride for others it’s a term you never want to be called it’s at the heart of the discussion over whether or not video games are art and it’s part of the reason so many of us still don’t play our PS PS in public gamer itself is an odd term it’s pretty unique think about film or books you don’t call people who watch movies filmers or film watchers and you don’t call people who enjoy novels readers or Booker’s actually that was kind of fun Booker’s where was I yes the fact is none of those other mass media have a term analogous to gamer the only other time you refer to a person by the media they enjoy outside of games is when the person is a kind of a connoisseur or has an almost pathological obsession with that media film buff bookworm a bibliophile or audiophile is not someone who merely likes books or music there’s someone who fixates on these media to the complete exclusion of other aspects of their life I’m fine with the term Lu defile I suppose seems appropriate enough and there are certainly cases where the word would accurately describe some video game enthusiasts but it’s not the same as a gamer is it gamer is a tag given to almost anyone who plays games why is this in part it’s because our medium isn’t universally enjoyed yet if I were to ask all of you is there music that you enjoy 100% of you would say yes but if I were to go out on the street and ask people if they enjoy video games I’d get a few notes and a lot of others saying I don’t really play them so as gamers simply a binary label to separate those who have tried games from those who haven’t well no it means much more than that it’s a generalization to lump a group of people together so what makes a person a gamer am i a gamer because I’ve spent thousands of hours playing games I’ve also spent thousands of hours reading books I’ve spent just as much time playing music and even more time than that just listening to it and I probably spend nearly that much time watching television or films too I’m a media soak I consume media but the only label I get is gamer why should games define me that question is at the heart of what gamer means the term itself is vague almost to the point of being meaningless but it finds meaning in the stereotype that surrounds it the stereotype is one we’ve always known it’s the Cheetos eating basement-dwelling troglodyte that when their parents are never leaves the dorm room it’s the ultra hardcore gay-bashing noob hating shooter fan and the eight-year-old teabagger these are the images that are wrapped up into a single package under the term gamer and I guess some of that’s on us it’s our responsibility to change that that’s where we just have to grow up a little and stop using games as a way to vent our insecurities or flee from an unaccepting outside world just because games can be great for occasional escapism doesn’t mean they’re a place to hide they should be objects of joy exciting exhilarating life-affirming games show us what we could be they show us each day that we can succeed and overcome but don’t get me wrong this unpleasant gamer stereotype isn’t all our fault part of the ugliness behind the term comes from a frightened neo phobic world that’s no more secure or mature than the group’s at labels games get demonized and marginalized because they’re an easy target it happened to comics it’s happened to music and now it’s happening to us people who don’t understand the medium and won’t take the time to become informed about the things they criticize have perpetuated a stereotype that is no longer true and honestly probably never was now let me ask you have you ever been embarrassed to play a game in a public setting maybe a little now how about reading a book the times you’ve been embarrassed reading a book in public I’m willing to bet it’s because of the specific book you were reading but many of us feel shy about playing even the best most worthwhile games in public we’re embarrassed not about the content or the value of what we’re doing but the medium is presented in we are in fact afraid of the stigma the label attached to being a gamer I’ve met many gamers who even lead a double life proud to be a gamer amongst their gamer friends but in ardent denial when not sound a little familiar and sure does to me well it shouldn’t be that way and we can’t let it continue this gamer label and stereotype need to go playing games is a normal activity and there should not be any shame attached to that so how do we get there first off the good news we’re on our way Conan O’Brien can make cracks about halo on a major Network and ice-t can tweet about how leet his Call of Duty skills are the sheer value of the medium and the joy it brings are slowly winning out rejoice people gaming is finally becoming the norm but it’s not going to happen on its own look let’s just jump the hardest part we game enthusiasts have formed our own beautiful exclusionary culture we have our own jokes we have our own vocabulary our own music and our own heroes this is a beautiful thing and I wouldn’t change it for the world but one of the unfortunate downsides of it is that it set us apart as a response to the stigma that is associated with gamers many of us have chosen to associate only with other gamers this only reinforces the stereotype of gamers as antisocial people now take it easy I’m not saying that you need to get your ass out there and learn to love football or rodeos or whatever but I think we should all feel comfortable talking to non-gamers about something other than video games now and then second some of us have become the loud and proud type choosing to take back the term gamer by being in your face about our love of games and that’s not really helping look much as an opera aficionado should be proud of their knowledge and the way their favorite medium has enriched their lives so too should video game enthusiasts that doesn’t mean we have to raise a banner and go to war over it loving games doesn’t mean we have to start looking down on jocks just because some of them have looked down on us before and we don’t have to hate on casual players just because they don’t love games the way we do we don’t have to broadcast to the world how different we are let’s just be us we don’t have anything to prove to anyone we as a community can be more and that’s the only thing we should be concerned with and speaking of which third we have got to clean up our community a little seriously it’s embarrassing talking about scuffing someone’s mom because he happens to prefer the ps3 over the 360 does not paint us in the best light as a group can we please just start being better than this please lastly we have to demand better games we’re getting to the point where we have a library of games to turn to when someone tries to tell us games have no value where the video games are just mindless killing but as an industry we can do so much more don’t settle for second-rate titles don’t let your friends settle for them either friends don’t let friends buy shovelware I know we’ve been pretty content to settle for what we’ve been getting so far but the game industry is never going to make its Godfather or its Blade Runner much less its seventh seal or its cabinet of dr. Caligari unless we start asking for it but it looks like I’ve gone on too long and not said nearly enough perhaps we’ll come back to this topic some day later let’s just leave it at this for now we will be known as gamers for as long as gaming is seen as abnormal and as long as gaming is seen as abnormal it will carry with it that stigma that hampers games and gamers from being taken seriously we should absolutely be proud of the fact that we are pioneers in this new medium embracing it in its earliest stages so as gaming is evangelists let’s try to act with the respect and dignity that this medium deserves let’s disprove once and for all the lie of what it means to love video games

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  1. I know I’m so late to the video, but I think the problem is, gaming is seen as childish so is associated with immaturity. Similarly with things like LEGO and some board games.
    But this is weird because watching films/TV isn’t seen as childish, yet both of these mediums are serving for the same purpose of fulfilling our primitive instinct for entertainment, something both children and adults need.

  2. Gamers are people who love the art of games not losers even though some are but not one part of media should never be all of media

  3. There was this study that directly compared drugs to my favorite game Minecraft. Why? Because both produce high dopamine levels and can get people addicted. The joy and the addiction of Minecraft is the same if not more in other media but games aren’t as universal so they face the hate.

  4. people who read a lot of books=book worms
    people who watch a lot of TV=couch potatoes
    people who regularly goes to the cinema or watch a lot of movies = movie buffs (more like movie freaks)
    and people who play a lot of video game? Gamers

    Those were all stigmas, in the 90s (even before) that was not a badge of honer to be called one and considered to be things only nerds do…so unless you wanted to get bullied, you talked less and showed that side less
    there was also the fact that unlike today, the audience of those hobbies were the socially awkward people and not very popular

    Also Gamer is a blanket term since there are different kind of gamers: retro gamers, casual gamers, true gamers (those people who's real hobby is actually playing video games), etc…

  5. Also, what's that credits song? I like it, recognise it, but i just can't put my finger on it and it's driving me INSANE.

  6. well at least you shined some light for the ignorant. though in all honesty what have you said that isn't already happening now, also there are some of us who love and cherish the stereotypes, the vulnerabilities the absurdities and the meme's because without them life would be boring and a lot less funny or filled with humility, I bid you a good day!

  7. Umm… what is the difference between a reader and gamer? Besides the medium, obviously.

    Edit: …and the stereotype of gamers. Or are those the only two differences?

  8. One youtuber (gtamen) went to buy bread or something else and girl that works in that shop saw bully t-shirt (rockstar game) and asked him where it's from he said it is from video game and she said
    "You are one of those guys"
    She said it kinda as insult like he mentaly ill or something

  9. The worst thing is that some people that played FIFA or Candy Crush say gaming is waste of time because they have learnt that but they have played only those unfinished games.

  10. When mainstream Xbox/Playstation fans judge Nintendo fans.
    Trust me that us Nintendo fans have the toughest social lives.

  11. I know this comment is years after the video was published, but just wanted to point out that "Gamer" was, and still is a term for Tabletop Roleplaying game players, long before Video game players ever were called or called themselves "Gamers". All of us that play Dungeons and Dragons and so many other RPG games were avid "Gamers" before the first Nintendo system ever existed.

  12. A great episode. Let's all do away with the nonsense stigmas not just to gaming, but to other groups of people and things that do not deserve it.

  13. At no point have I felt like playing games in public is something to be ashamed off, in fact I think its the opposite to your suggestion and is actual reading that now holds a slight stigma to it. I find a lot of people don't even bat an eye lid when I say I'm a gamer but when I mention that I also enjoy reading the occasional book, you get that look of, not that you should be ashamed but more of surprise. I see more people gaming on there phones while at work or commuting than I see reading a book nowadays.

  14. We are called Gamers because we play games just like people who play music are called musicians.

  15. Man, 2012 is such an innocent time period. Video game enthusiasts did a great job of turning the previously benign term 'Gamer' into one people actively shun or have to justify "Yeah I'm a gamer but I'm not one of THOSE kind of gamers. I don't leave deaththreats on women's twitter accounts!"

  16. I never realized that there's a stigma around this. I was raised playing old 80s computer games that my dad bought, that my sisters played, that I love to this day. I've never known a time when gaming wasn't part of my life in some way. And yet, I don't really consider myself a "gamer", because it's as normal to me to play games as to read books or watch tv. It's just weird to me that in 2012 this was a big enough issue that you guys felt it important to speak up about. Not that it isn't important by any stretch, but simply that it's very alien to me. Anyways, I hope that the scene for "gamers" is changing for folks dealing with negativity since this video was posted.

  17. wow, completely fell in love with Extra credits. Really, you give insight about the subject from a mature point of view. 6 years later, this video is still spot on.

  18. Game is both a noun and a verb so the closest term would be “read” and “view”/“watch”. Only reader kinda makes sense

  19. There are many times where I feel attractive but then I almost feel naked when I’m caught with a portable console. Now I just try to tell myself that I play games on the level of sophisticated books/movies so where should the shame be? And if I’m playing a “mainstream” game, then why aren’t others ashamed when they watch Transformers (in the past) or some other blockbuster

  20. As one woman said:
    Any can be a gamer, even if it’s just sudoku on your phone
    Me:
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. I have played video games my whole life and played video games in public with no shame. I have demonstrated that I enjoy games without being in peoples faces about it and I never really thought that someone would be embarrassed about playing games. We need to change this stereotype so people don’t have to hide their love for games.

  22. What do you consider shovelware? Bc I'm old and busy and I like puzzles, and the big expensive games don't have puzzles anymore. So sometimes, I go to bigfishgames and get a free trial of an escape the room game, or a hidden object. I can play these games for 20 minutes at a go and they last me a week and cost $2, and that's really all I can devote to games at this time.

  23. i don't know if anyone reading this right now. But the gamer's world, gaming world are bigger and bigger since "Teenager" gamer had grown adult, pull the entire gaming industry up high with them.

    For example: The international 2017 and 2018.

    Now in my country, everybody range from 14 year olds to 30 year olds definely play moblie game

  24. 1:18 “‘Gamer’ is a tag applied to almost anyone that plays games.” Almost? I’d say that anyone who plays games is a gamer.

  25. I'm an almost-60 year old grandmother who loves telling everyone that I'M A GAMER, who is serious about playing World of Warcraft obsessively and casually (going on 12 years, now), and I love this video! <3

  26. I'm a 35 year old mother of two teenage boys who is an author with four books out.
    I'm a gamer (not mobile, candy crush crap). My favorites are the red dead series, Ark, Fallout 3 and several classic games.
    I'm not ashamed of it. I would do it in front of a huge crowd. Doesn't bother me. In fact, my boys became gamers because of me, and not their father.

  27. I don’t like playing my 3DS in public because a persons first reaction is to see it as a toy and not as a piece of tech.

  28. "We gotta clean up our community a little. I mean seriously"

    Cough Still hasn't been cleaned, in fact, its gotten worse….. (Pause) Another Cough

  29. I remember I was playing Zelda on 3ds and a little kid was watching and his mother got pissed and started telli g me off I was only 12

  30. One thing to keep in mind is that the label "gamer" is not just claimed (or stuck on) video gamers. I don't often play video games. That's not entirely my age, I am 61, but it might be because I am not used to the forms of social interactions common in computer game play, and my reflexes are not what they were when first person shooters were a new thing.

    But I am emphatically a gamer. I have been watching Extra Credits while prepping for my GURPS campaign, I have a huge wargaming miniature collections, and I play Euro-style boardgames when I get a chance. Gaming is a far bigger community than just video gamers; and most of those communities have been stigmatized at some point or other. Of course, being old, white, and middle class has it's privileges. When an old fart spits out a negative video gamer stereotype, my starting "Well, I am a grown man who plays with toy soldiers…" will tend to shut them up pretty effectively.

    Another thing about "gamer" is that the gambling industry has been working to hijack it, as if the carefully designed tools of evil they use to extract what should have been a mortgage payment from some gambling addict's wallet were somehow "games" as the rest of the world uses the term. Best we keep an eye on that usage and be clear when we self identify as gamers.

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