A lot of people play games. Some do it for fun, some actually do it for work and some actually make games for a living. A lot of the time they all get squashed together under the “gamer” label, which for me was actually something I wanted to be acknowledged for. Granted I’m not the type to go around screaming “Gamer Pride,” I just try to be myself like Steve mentioned awhile back. The thing is though I didn’t grow up in a Western society where the idea of individuality was encouraged. It’s not that the people where I’m from were against it more like it was just considered an oddity, an alien concept if you will. Conformity was their comfortability and that made me quite uneasy and very misunderstood for the most part. Over there people generally did the same thing (of course with variation) and the only labels people had were either you were “in” or you were “out.” I remember the first time the topic of conformity was brought to my attention; if you’ve watched the movie 21 Jump Street then you’ll get what I’m talking about somewhat. I was a “one strapper” when it came to wearing my back pack and one my friends took notice of that. After a brief discussion on why “two strapping” is “cooler” and me defending my want of being comfortable and myself, she looked at me and said “individuality isn’t really that cool.”
Some may say that that was a good thing. More generality than specialty. As mentioned everyone did the same thing; hobby wise people were into watching anime, playing video games, listening to music or playing sports. But there are no “gamers” in my hometown but everyone I know loves playing videogames, hell if you owned a console you were actually considered “cool.” Well more like “that guy has money, I can play on his system for free.” I actually had a guy come to my house in the morning just to play DoTA the whole day just so he wouldn’t waste money at a cafe (I don’t put out that easy, he’d buy me lunch and dinner :P). Anyway, I didn’t want to be another sheep in the herd so I tried to identify myself with something close to me which was gaming. You could say I was a hipster back then, when people were listening to popular music on the radio I was listening to Ska on my mp3 player. I was really on my own when I wanted to talk about games because most of the people I talked with only played a certain game somewhat comparatively to western gamers and the general love of the Call of Duty games. I wasn’t a social outcast, I was generally out going, hell I was a cheerleader at one point in time. I’m not trying to get dark or anything but I was alone in what some may consider a lifestyle I tried to indulge in. But that’s the weird thing, labeling myself as a “gamer” wasn’t a negative connotation, sure people found it weird that I tried to dissect the meaning behind Shadow of the Colossus or once used The Power Rangers’ Megazord as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity (I went to Catholic school), instead I was regarded as creative and unorthodox in a good way.
Usually this is the part where you’d hear about “what gaming has done for my life” and all that jazz but that’s not really the point of this little article. I mean sure gaming has influenced my college and career path by wanting to become a game designer, but that was actually a calculated choice more than it was a desire. Gaming is what it is; a culture, a hobby or whatever. Sure you can say it defines me but I spent most of my time trying to define it. I don’t need it in my life but I certainly want it to be. I hear it a lot of the times that being called a “gamer” is a certain “social crutch” which leads to a lot of problems.
Being a certain label isn’t a bad thing. It’s isn’t something that you need to call attention to either. Most of the time it just so happens it is a part of you who are and I believe there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Let it identify you but don’t let it define you. I’m Ted and that’s my Gamer ID.