Throughout my life, I have always had one certainty, one thing which I’ve always considered a large part of who I am. That I’m a gamer.
From my earliest memories I can remember playing games, always having a Gameboy in hand on long car
trips, playing various games with my brother on every PlayStation in existence, and loving playing games over every other hobby in my life. My love for video games has often shaped and determined major parts of my life, including who my closest friends are, how I learn and even what I’ve studied at university. It’s a big part of my life. Heck, I even created a video game radio show, which I host every week on Radio Adelaide. I’m a gamer through and through. It’s a part of who I am.
But what does the word ‘Gamer’ actually mean? We hear it a lot in popular culture, and to put it simply, it’s used to refer to people who play games, but that’s fairly ambiguous and redundant isn’t it? You don’t call someone who watches movies a moviegoer, or someone who listens to music a music listener. They sound incredibly dumb right? And it’s because everyone watches movies, everyone watches TV and everyone listens to music.
But to me, being a gamer, means more than just someone who plays games. It’s something unique, special, and meaningful. Like with movies, TV and music, gaming has its quirks, but more so than any other medium in my opinion. It has a special culture, well known customs, which gamers around the world understand and often practice every day. Now this may all sound hearsay and rather pompous, but it’s real, and to give you an idea of what a gamer is, and how much of a gamer I am, I’ll give a few examples of what I do as a gamer.
I’ll never leave a game lying around outside of its case (cartridges are the exception here of course!), I’ll always attend a midnight launch for a game or console, or arrive early in the morning when the brick and mortar store (EB Games here in Australia) opens to pick it, so I can play it ASAP. I have Nintendo amiibos figurines, not because I actually use them with any game, but because they look amazing and adorable. I have a Google Chrome extension which plays the music from Animal Crossing, I have a 20th anniversary Mew sitting on my car dashboard. I have nearly over a hundred video game posters, nearly all of which are in storage because nice walls and renting. And I literally play every genre that exists, from Fighting, First Person Shooters and Real Time Strategy games, to music rhythm, RPGs and JRPGs!
But despite all these customs I believe in, and quirky things I own and do, it’s just who I am, and how I define myself as a gamer. Someone could do any or none of these things, and still be a gamer. If you play mobile games, you’re gamer. If you play table top and card games, you’re gamer. If you play League of Legends or Dota 2, you’re a gamer (but not those Heroes of the Storm scum!). Anyone can be a gamer, but more importantly, you decide what defines a gamer, and therefore, what makes you a gamer.
(This article was originally written for the University of Adelaide student magazine, On Dit, which Seamus is a sub editor for, and a regular writer too!)