What is a Gamer?

What is a Gamer?

Are they someone who plays games or are they someone who plays a certain type of games?

The gaming community has simultaneously been trying to be taken seriously by other entertainment communities and has been tearing itself apart on the definition of what makes a ‘true’ gamer.

This is a bizarre situation.

No one debates over what a Hardcore Reader or Hardcore Film Watcher is, but there are endless wars over what a Hardcore Gamer is and why filthy casuals are ruining everything.


Can you play a game and not be a Gamer?

8 million people play Farmville every day, 93 million people play Candy Crush every day.  These are people who spend hours of their time playing a game and yet many of them don’t consider themselves gamers. Why not?

It comes down to what the term Gamer means.

Is it a generic catch all term for anyone who has played a game, or, is it a specific term for a person who has invested time in the gaming community?


Some people watch films and some people are film buffs. Film Buffs can tell you the name of every person involved in a film and can debate what a film really ‘means’. A person who just watches films knows what films they like, the names of big actors & directors and might be able to discuss why they like a film.

Neither way to watch films is seen as less valid as the other, people can watch films without being Film Buffs and these ‘causal’ film goers are not blamed for the ruination of the industry.

The same should be said of a Gamer, it is possible to play games and not be a Gamer.


Hardcore -Vs- Casual 


What is a Hardcore Gamer?

Seriously I’ve no idea. I’ve been gaming for about 20 years and I’ve no real idea not even after a Google search. The definition is all over the place, so  this is all I’ve been able to work out

‘A Hardcore Gamer is someone who plays the same games, in the same way  as me and my friends and a Casual Gamer is someone who doesn’t’

What this means depends on the websites you frequent.

  • To some people its length of time – I got my first console; the Sega Mega Drive, when I was about 8 or 9, at the tail end of its life cycle in most countries but it was still huge in Ireland.  To me this is a long gaming history to others its nothing because I didn’t have an Atari or a Commodore 64 but what do you want from me people, I was born in 1985!
  • To others it’s the type of games you play – if you didn’t break a controller playing ‘Battle Toads’ then you are nothing.
  • To yet more people it’s about how aggressively you can yell your opinion.


What’s a Casual Gamer?

This definition is also all over the place; it is someone who only plays mobile games like ‘Angry Birds’?, or only plays on a particular console like the Wii? Or maybe someone who doesn’t fit any of the Hardcore definitions stated above.

I’ve been at this awhile and I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a Hardcore and Casual Gamer, there are perhaps Hardcore games but not Hardcore Gamers.

We are all Gamers and it is up to all of us as a community to make sure that Gaming gets the same respect as all other entertainment mediums.

Why do we do seek to separate everyone into Casual and Hardcore?

In searching for a definition of Casual and Hardcore Gamers, I came to realise that this was a perfect example of the ‘no true Scotsman‘ fallacy.  When people call themselves Hardcore Gamers, what they are actually saying is ‘I’m a true gamer and anyone who doesn’t do what I do is a not a proper gamer’

It boils down to a fear of the ‘other’ who might invade your space and take it over or change, alter it in ways that you don’t like.

People who define themselves as Hardcore Gamers are basically marking their territory and telling the world that they are not to invade their space.

In reality newcomers are not an invading army, they are seeking to find the same enjoyment in games that so called Hardcore gamers do.

What is a Gamer?

If you take all the characters of Gamers and boil them down,there are three things that each Gamer does:

Keeps Up to Date:

A Gamer keeps up to date with the Gaming Industry in general. They know some or all of the games that are coming out this year. They know about gaming hardware that has come out or is due to be released. They read and are interested in gaming news. They may even have a favourite developer and know everything about them.

Plays Lots of Games:

A Gamer plays games for a number of different genres, they may have their favourite of course but generally they play  or at least they would like to play more than one type of game. As the Gaming Community gets older, more and more of us have jobs, kids etc. that mean we’ve less time for gaming then we’d like. Just because you only have time for a quick COD match doesn’t mean you’re not a Gamer as long as you’d like to try other things.

 Has Passion for Games:

Gamers have passion for games. They show this passion in many different ways; maybe its cosplaying as their favourite character, participating in the gaming community through forums, commenting on articles on gaming sites, debating games with friends or even just getting annoyed when games are blamed for yet another horrific crime.


Why does this matter?



There are two types of people in this world those who play games but are not Gamers and Gamers.

People who play games but are not Gamers, are people who play mobile games like Candy Crush, or who just play Call of Duty. They play games but they don’t think about games in the same way that Gamers do and that is fine. It would be a terrible boring world if we all liked the same things.

Gamers need to stop our infighting and realise that no matter what games we play or how we play them we’re all Gamers.

Some of us like incredibly difficult games like ‘Battle Toads’ and ‘Dark Souls’, some of us like character driven games like ‘Mass Effect’ others like to explore so they play games like ‘Just Cause 2’. It doesn’t matter what we play, it just matters that we play.

There are enough people outside of the gaming community that wish to paint us as, violent murders, sad loners or overgrown children.

We need to stand together and not bicker over who is a ‘true’ gamer.

We are all Gamers.

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Posted in Opinion By Rachel
2 comments on “What is a Gamer?
  1. TK says:

    To me, someone is a gamer if they play games and call themselves a gamer. It’s a self-given label that signifies how seriously they take games. To me, that’s all it takes. It doesn’t matter what games you play or how many years you’ve been playing games. Gamers are just people who take video games so seriously that they label themselves as gamers.

    I know of people who own video game systems and play plenty of games, but they’ll be offended if you called them a gamer. You may as well have called them a loser. I also know others who play games less than those non-gamers but who take the games so seriously that they proudly wear the gamer label.

    • The issue with keeping as a self-given title is that it promotes divisions within the community because some Gamers look around and see some Gamers behaving differently and therefore label them ‘other’. This is how we get the much heated debate over what makes a ‘true’ Gamer.

      This leads to two things

      A barrier to entry for newcomers, (they see the dickheads or “hardcore” and think they can never be a Gamer)
      People being embarrassed or insulted if you call them a Gamer. This is not a term that should be synonymous with the word ‘loser’ It is simply a description of them based on one of their hobbies.

      No one would be insulted or embarrassed if you called them a Film Buff.

      Attitudes within some parts of the Gaming Community clearly need to change and a better definition of Gamer would help that.

      It would certainly help with the common and very annoying attitude of ‘oh you’re a woman, so you’re not a real Gamer then’

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