“If you haven’t beaten every Souls game you can’t call yourself a gamer”

I don’t really have much more to say. If you haven’t killed Ornstein and Smough solo on at least new game plus, can you really claim to be a gamer? If you haven’t performed this incredibly simple feat that only takes a few hours of practice then you can’t. You’re nothing more than a casual.

This is, of course, nonsense. Utter nonsense.

Image result for dark souls ornstein

It was revealed this week that 84% of teen girls play video games. That’s incredible. In a hobby/industry that is dominated by males, from the developers to the normal market, to the characters inside actual games, this is definitely a huge leap in the right direction.

Head to the gamesindustry.biz article if you want further details, instead, I’m going to talk about something a little different.

The word ‘gamer‘ seems to have been strangely defined over the last decade as only core gamers. Only people who religiously play games and know every upcoming release, every reveal and more. People who grew up playing games have become territorial over the word and I can understand the reasoning. Since the beginning, the word ‘gamer’ has had certain connotations. Remember that incredibly World of Warcraft South Park episode? I’ll never forget it. For a long time that is what was associated with the word ‘gamer’. It was used to put people down and the people being put down decided to use it as a way to protect them. It didn’t matter that people generalised them as overweight, unmotivated losers; in the virtual world, they could be anything. They were gamers.

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I’ve experienced this and I’ve been guilty of it.

‘You only play Call of Duty or FIFA, you aren’t really a gamer’

‘Mobile gaming doesn’t count.’

‘Easy mode? Play it properly.’

Growing up in a small town in Scotland meant I was pretty unique in my taste of hobbies. Of course, I love football and have always played it, but being the only kid on the team and in the school to still be playing Pokémon at 16 and to play games that involve running around as an elf in tights doesn’t exactly lend into the traditional image of ‘cool’ in High School. However, I was a gamer and proud to be it. I’m sure every person reading this will have experienced a derogatory comment at some point as a result of playing games. Here’s an example that’s floating around the internet right now:

https://twitter.com/geri20022/status/1073150135561900032

This tweet has hundreds of replies that are mostly against Geri’s stance. It does have 42 likes though. This isn’t an uncommon opinion. When a statistic comes out showing how much more mainstream gaming has become, certain individuals try to create a division between core, hardcore, mobile and whatever other type of gamer they perceive to exist, only to exacerbate the problem. No matter what, whether you pick up a phone to match some candy, kill Ornstein and Smough blindfolded (done it, b*tches) or collect every moon in Super Mario Odyssey… you’re a gamer. No asterisks, no if, buts or maybes; if you’re creating tiers of gamers, then you’re no different from the people online hellbent on generalising to the lowest common denominator: the South Park episode.

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We all love games and we should be happy that our hobby, a hobby that other people haven’t always been comfortable with, is finally breaking into the mainstream, in a way it never had. Let’s be honest as well, Nintendo deserves the majority of the credit. Wii Sports, Pokémon Go and Mario Kart have enfranchised the world to become fans of gaming.

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