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What it takes to be a Gamer

Not as simple as the Webster definition but a little more precise than Urban Dictionary. Think you have what it takes?

Gamer. When you hear this term what comes to mind? A fat, sweaty man holding a SNES controller? A Korean kid in a MadCatz dry-fit with a Turtle Beach headset draped across his neck like a beach towel? Maybe just an average Joe that happens to play Call of Duty?

Nowadays gamer seems to be one of those terms that just has a weird air around it. Some see it as a title that they can wear proudly, while others see it as an almost pejorative term. The Webster definition of the term gamer describes it as "a person who plays games and especially computer or video games." This is accurate to a point, but for me to call someone a gamer they would have to meet at least two of these three requirements:

  1. You would need to play at least four to five hours a week. While this isn't a big thing I think it's safe to say if you can't manage at least five hours a week then chances are you're not a gamer. This also doesn't include watching YouTube videos and/or watching a friend play. If you're not actively playing the game then it doesn't count.
  2. You must own a system and at least 1 game. It doesn't matter if it's a Sega Genesis, a mobile phone, or a PlayStation 4. If you have a system and a game that's enough. Especially if you have a gaming PC. Just a console but no games yet? As long as you intend to buy one and not have an overpriced DVD player, then whatever's clever.
  3. You have to enjoy playing video games. This last one is the most important, because not everyone can afford to be a gamer. Let's be honest: games are expensive. You have a $200-$400 console plus $60 multiplied by however many games you own. Not everyone has that luxury. That being said just because you don't have Mario's latest adventure doesn't mean you can't go over to a friend's house and play with them. If you have a genuine interest in gaming and try to play when you can then that's enough too.

Even with this criteria it's still not so cut and dry. We gamers are a clique-y bunch. We like categories. Not every person that plays League of Legends is going to like Call of Duty. And what about the real people who play the games? Surely you wouldn't expect a frat boy to play Flower? Well to help add a little more clarity on the subject I did some digging.

Different types of people are naturally attracted to different types of games and as such to categorize them into one lump "genre" of people wouldn't be right. So I've come up with a few terms to help categorize a few of the types of gamers out there. Keep in mind that there are a lot of games in the world and even more people so this list may not cover every type of gamer that there is out there. That being said let's get into it.

Bro Gamers

These would be players who prefer the more "bro friendly" type games such as Call of Duty, NBA 2K14, and Madden games. These gamers only play a game or two to pass the time, and generally have no interest in gaming or geek culture. They generally own an Xbox and only own about four or five games most of which are shooters and sports games. While the more hardcore gamers don't consider them one of their own, bro gamers actually give a good deal of money into the gaming industry. Somebody has to fund Black Ops III right?

RPG Gamers

Next on the list we have the RPG gamers. Now this one is a little broader as it not only covers the RPG genre, but also MOBAs and MMOs. RPG gamers are a very strategic group of people, who are able to strategize and execute complicated plans to achieve victory. A little less physically social than the Bro gamer, the RPG gamer can be a little reclusive, choosing to stay inside and finally clear that dungeon, or master their rotation. They do however have great taste in anime. Look to the RPG gamer when you need a good anime fix.

Competitive Gamers

These are a little more hardcore than the average gamer. competitive gamers usually stick to fighters, shooters and MOBAs for their gaming needs. competitive players are very well, competitive. The thrill of battle and tales of victory are all a good competitive gamer needs to sleep well that night. To achieve this, most will spend hours practicing moves and perfecting strategies. When thier training is complete, they move on to tournaments and fight for the title of strongest there is. While the community may be a little rough for new players, these gamers have a pretty healthy community making sure to keep their aggression on the battlefield.

Hardcore Gamers

Hardcore gamers are the ones who play for the sake of playing. With a thirst for gaming that can never be quenched a hardcore gamer can play for days on end without a break, all for the love of the game.

The games that hardcore's play vary. Any game can have a hardcore following, but that's not always a good thing. Ironically for all their love of the games they play, hardcore players can be the most toxic. Lashing out at anyone or anything that blemishes their perfect games. This is not to say that the community is like this all the time. Hardcore gamers are literally wells of information about their favorite game. Stuck on a difficult level or just want to know som fun facts about the game you're playing? Just ask your local hardcore.

Casual Gamers

Interestingly enough, these people make up most of the gaming community but get the most backlash from other players. Often refered to as a "filthy casual", casual gamers are seen as the muggles of the gaming community. Casual gamers play on their time and play whatever they want. Most like to stick to the big name titles like Assassin's Creed, The Last of Us, or the Arkham series or mobile games like Angry Birds or Clash of Clans.

Casual gamers usually look at graphics before story or actual gameplay and like the Bro gamer, only play as a hobby or a way to pass the time.

Completionist Gamers

Also known as Trophy/achievement Hunters, completion gamers almost have a physical need to find every last secret in a game. No coin, gem, fruit is safe when a completion gamer is around. The reasons for wanting to finish a game vary from person to person but the result is always the same.

Completionist gamers are the gaming community's "explorers" opting to veer off the beaten path laid out by the developers and find glory through bleeding the game dry. Completionist gamers can also be seen as gurus, guiding the way for confused gamers with guides and helpful tips for finding loot.

Troll Gamers

The last group that I want to talk about are the Trolls. These are the players that just want to have a good time...at other players expense. Trolls get most of their enjoyment from harassing other players in some way, shape, or form. Generally sticking to multiplayer games, trolls like to give themselves challenges such as seeing how fast they can make another player rage quit, or taking out their own team in a team death match scenario. Some trolls have an elitist mentality and constantly compare other playstyles to their own, criticizing them the whole time.

While trolls can be toxic, it is never a good idea to antagonize them. Initiating conflict with a troll will not only make things worse but it will ultimately make the one confronting the troll look bad. When encountering a troll look to your fellow players to kindly vote yes to kicking him or her out of the lobby.

Gamers come in all shapes and sizes. They play all types of games. While the term gamer may still be a new an evolving one, it's not going away anytime soon. I've gamed since I was old enough to speak and I'm definitely a gamer. But I'm not just a gamer, I'm a hardcore, competitive, RPG gamer!

What about you all? What kind of gamer are you? Are there any categories of gamer that I missed? Think a few of them can go a little further? Let me know in the comments below!

Published Jun. 4th 2015

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