Growing up, the playground and cafeteria fights in school always went the same for us nerds. Which was better the Genesis or the Super Nintendo? When word of the PlayStation, Saturn and Nintendo 64 started hitting, we moved on to that, and talked about how awesome 64 bits would be, even though to this day, I swear the Nintendo 64 controller looks like an alien space craft (though extremely comfortable!) While the arguments in hindsight were a bit silly and childish, they at least focused on the games.
Fast forward to the start of this generation, and there was a movement or attitude that started to emerge that really just got under my skin. This movement to declare a game as “hardcore”, “Casual” or “Core” title. This attitude has been prevalent for almost a decade at this point, and no one has ever been able to really nail down a definition that was satisfactory to their point or as a whole. The fact that certain “Gamers” took up the mantle wasn’t surprising, it happens. The fact that the industry as a whole (including the press and developers) bought into it was a very sad affair.
However, this isn’t a rant about those terms, but the notion that has become wide spread across the industry of everyone trying to prove themselves to be a “true” “real” “hardcore” “superior” whatever you want to call yourself gamer. And this doesn’t just work for people who bash “casual” gamers as I’ve found out over the last two years.
As I noted earlier, no one has ever really given a great answer as to what makes a game more hardcore than another. You have several camps who will make their point, and show that everything else doesn’t matter. The most popular group (to be in and to hate on) seems to be the FPS aficionados, the folks who believe if you haven’t played hundreds of hours of Counter-Strike, if you aren’t playing the latest Call of Duty or Halo, if you aren’t jizzing your pants over Battlefield 3 footage than you aren’t a “true” gamer. Then you have the “classic” gamer who do to the success of stuff like Call of Duty and Halo feel like the FPS genre is a bunch of crap, and no one who plays them deserves to be called a “true” gamer. This goes down the line, you have RPG gamers, platform gamers, fighting gamers, sports gamers, and the list goes on. For each group, there is strong opposition for one reason or another.
At some point, you have to ask yourself, WHO CARES? I mean honestly, someone enjoying Call of Duty or Wii Sports or Persona 4 or White Knight Chronicles or Alpha Protocol or Beyond Good and Evil or Angry Birds or Farmville or any of the thousands of games that have been released since the start of the industry doesn’t effect you. They aren’t taking away time from your system or from your television screen. Most of the time, they aren’t taking away resources to finish the games you love and enjoy in your spare time. So why is it such a big deal that someone else enjoys it? Why is it a big deal for you to be considered a “Gamer” and for them to be considered phonies or fakes or Johnny come late.
At the end of the day, the only way for the gaming industry to grow and evolve is accept gamers and games that aren’t always your cup of tea. Sometimes, it will work out for a few thousand people who have an interest in that. And I’m sure all gamers want to see the industry prosper so it continues for many generations to come.