The Philosophy, Art, and Social Influence of games
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c0wb0y
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by c0wb0y Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:23 am

dsheinem wrote:
Key-Glyph wrote:And here's a question: is the stigma just changing instead of being eradicated? Because I think the original one of its being a nerdy, childish hobby might be being supplanted by a different one -- an image of aggressive, fraternity dorm-room entertainment. And then there are the collectors too, who are independent from both of those stereotypes but probably feel a different sort of pressure from their peers. I must admit this is getting more complicated than I originally expected!


This is a very thoughtful post, especially as it regards the cultural "image" of the gamer as constructed by media and marketing. Anyone with any kind of niche interests will find themselves stereotyped by these forces in particular ways, and I think you are absolutely right about the marketing to kids and/or the marketing to college-age students "defining" the gamer in the minds of many. It will be interesting to see if more game ads feature well-adjusted adults as the target demographic for the latest hardware/software (not like the Kinect/Wii ads which feature adults who discover "OMG GAMEZ CAN BE FUN AND ACCESSIBLE!" or Vita ads which feature college-aged students who "OMG TEH VITA BE STYLIN'!"). The only recent ads that do this that I can think of are some Wal-Mart ads that show guys coming home from work to face off online in Madden and COD. It's a start....

I agree, that was a great post by Key-Glyph. I think the stereotypes described, the nerd/child/collector, all still independently exist and have not been supplanted entirely. The shut-in, dorm-gamer, angry gamer stereotypes all seem to have gained traction.
Ads help shape the stereotypes, as does the news.

I like those Wal-Mart game ads. They are witty and remind me of some of the old Sonic (burger chain, not Sega's Sonic) commercials of the couple trading barbs while grabbing a bite to eat.
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retrosportsgamer
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by retrosportsgamer Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:56 am

Key-Glyph wrote:And here's a question: is the stigma just changing instead of being eradicated? Because I think the original one of its being a nerdy, childish hobby might be being supplanted by a different one -- an image of aggressive, fraternity dorm-room entertainment. And then there are the collectors too, who are independent from both of those stereotypes but probably feel a different sort of pressure from their peers. I must admit this is getting more complicated than I originally expected!


This is a great question. I agree that the image is changing to gaming being more accepted by society. I've even see middle-aged men on sitcoms playing CoD against each other (Up All Night). I was at a party the other week and in talking with two guys about gaming - the one that was a bit younger (i'm 33) opened with "Do you play Call of Duty?" He was not a frat aggressive stereotype either, just the absolute market for those Wal-mart midnight release commercials.

Ultimately, how you approach and engage others about the hobby will dictate how you are received and that will help remove any stereotype. I absolutely think that the video game collector falls outside both of the perceived gaming behaviors you mentioned above. It's almost like those diagrams with the two overlapping circles (nerdy introverted mom's basement sterotype + GAMER new-age stereotype) where there's that small piece in the middle. That's where I sit.
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Majors Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:55 am

Everyone I know or met, knows I play and collect video games. I do not hide it. It does help to surround yourself with fellow gamers. Going to "cons" or tournaments bring like-minded folks together and also validates your hobby (if you need that).

As for the "to old to game" talk, can I point out that VG started in the late 70's. We are just now getting to a time when games have always been in the home for people. My moms never played games because there were none. She saw my passion for video games when I was young as a kids toy, like Lego or G.I. Joe. She does not understand (or really care to) what it is all I do but she does realize that I've been doing it for this long, so it's gonna stay.

My girl plays iPhone games, so she's no gamer. I let her know when my gaming events are but that is for courtesy, not for allowance. The only time we got into it was about 7 years ago when her sister got married out-of-state and I wanted to attend a convention (lesson learned, I went to the wedding). She is okay with my gaming because she knows I keep it within my money means. I have some handhelds at her place, so I can get my fix while over there. Of course it helps to have the most awesome girlfriend evah!

I'm 37.
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Hazerd Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:22 pm

Majors wrote:Everyone I know or met, knows I play and collect video games. I do not hide it. It does help to surround yourself with fellow gamers. Going to "cons" or tournaments bring like-minded folks together and also validates your hobby (if you need that).

As for the "to old to game" talk, can I point out that VG started in the late 70's. We are just now getting to a time when games have always been in the home for people. My moms never played games because there were none. She saw my passion for video games when I was young as a kids toy, like Lego or G.I. Joe. She does not understand (or really care to) what it is all I do but she does realize that I've been doing it for this long, so it's gonna stay.

My girl plays iPhone games, so she's no gamer. I let her know when my gaming events are but that is for courtesy, not for allowance. The only time we got into it was about 7 years ago when her sister got married out-of-state and I wanted to attend a convention (lesson learned, I went to the wedding). She is okay with my gaming because she knows I keep it within my money means. I have some handhelds at her place, so I can get my fix while over there. Of course it helps to have the most awesome girlfriend evah!

I'm 37.


Where did you hook up with her?
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ksloth
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by ksloth Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:39 pm

The only time my gaming ever makes me feel a bit weird, is when I go to a midnight launch. It's kinda odd to be the 40 year old guy hanging out with mostly 20-somethings.. but even that depends on what game it is. When I went to the Skyrim midnight launch, there were as many people younger than me as there were older than me.

I work in the gaming industry, so I don't need to hide my gaming from my coworkers, and I have the social life of a parent of a young kid, so my social life involves taking my son to a park. Gaming is pretty much my escape from stress and reality, and I consider it no less of a good thing for a person to do than reading a book is. I just like to interact with my books ;).
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by Johnodog Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:39 pm

Like any hobby, if it is kept in perspective there is no issue. I am 46 and have been playing games since pong. When the gaming industry first took hold, there was a definite stigma and an association with kids, and that games were childish. In fact, it was this close( but false) association with kids that kept adult content from video games for a long time. Senators argued against violence in video games..as if they has just found porn in a G movie. Nintendo's early dominance did not help to dispel this myth and may have exacerbated the problem. When the face of gaming is a cute plumber mascot, it made it hard for outsiders to view video games in the same way as any other form of entertainment.
Over the years the trend has shifted and games are now viewed more like movies, with the public understanding that GTA is not made for the Mario crowd.
There was a great point made in an earlier comment that video games have taken on an almost Frat boy sensibility in some people's minds. I believe this is due to all of the FPS and Golden eye's influence. Ironically the anti social loner paradigm being sold by the ignorant media increased even as inter-connectivity and online gaming were trending in a more social context.
I guess the bottom line is that video games are now mainstream and are acceptable as long as ones other social demands are not being neglected, but there will always be those on outside looking in who will spend more time stereotyping gamers than trying to understand them. Thanks to all for their fascinating comments and insightful posts.
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by J T Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:29 pm

On a related note, I feel like there is less stigmatization of nerd and geek stereotypes in general. There are more and more people that don't even consider nerd or geek an insult, but rather a compliment. To be geek is more a sign of knowledgability and intelligence in addition to idiosyncratic personality quirks, and even the fashion industry has put out a few "geek chic" designs in the past decade where we see people wearing clothes and black rimmed glasses that have all the trappings of classic nerdware to simply give people the appearance of someone smart and odd, but these traits are now considered stylish in the post-post-post-ironic world we live in.

I think as the internet has become the major way in which many people do business now, people have realized that computers and technology are important for success and are not just simply geek toys. Likewise, videogames have more mass appeal, as do comic book franchises (at least for movies). And I hardly meet anyone anymore that doesn't enjoy a good game of Settlers of Catan, so even the board game geeks are working their way into mainstream.

That being said, there is still a mean streak of anti-intellectualism in this country, which is most clearly seen in politics, where intelligence is equated with snobbery instead of prestige; and strangely I think the nerd/geek labels have evolved to have less to do with intellect and scientific interests than they used to. It also seems to me that modern day geeks/nerds are less likely to be seen as sensitive and compassionate as they once were when it was expected that they had transformed experiences of gradeschool bullying into empathy building experiences. Partly, they aren't as bullied because the stereotype isn't as bad, but also the rise of internet snark has made some nerds turn bitter and misogynistic/misanthropic instead in the online domains where they have more power plus anonymity. Nerd and geek are terms with complex connotations now, but it all relates to changing perceptions and changing realities of geek culture.
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by AznKhmerBoi Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:33 pm

I’m 25 and I have been gaming since i was 6 years old. Luckily I grew up with awesome siblings who enjoy gaming as much as I do. The neighborhood kids also shared the same passion so we would play outside as much as inside. We see consoles come and go, but those memories of gaming were unforgettable and pure fun.
My parents never shun us for playing games and thought of it merely as a child’s toy. I would continue gaming all the way to my adulthood without any issues concerning from my family or friends. Oddly enough the only people that would give me grips about gaming came from various girls I dated throughout high school.

I was always a fan of retro games and didn’t start getting back to it until my college years. At that time the consoles I had with me was my Dreamcast, Psone, and my N64… and eventually bought a 360. Even though I was grown up, I still had that passion to play Mario’s, Kirby’s, and Sonics games of the past. At that time the only way I knew of acquiring classic console was online, which I didn’t want to do because at that time I still thought buying things online was still quite risky. So one day I decided to hit up the thrift store to look for computer junk and stumbled across a stack of box genesis games. It was the first time seeing them in store and not a yard sale, I was psych.

After shuffling around I picked up all the games that weren’t sports titles and headed to the checkout. While standing in line to pay for games I thought to myself, “I wonder if the clerk thinks I’m dirt poor for buying these ancients games”. Even though I felt awkward I didn’t care because my heart is pumping and I wanted to go home and play these games. After that day I would continue to stop in at that exact thrift store throughout my college years and continue to collect for the Genesis.

An interesting occurrence happened to me while on my thrift store pickup. I happened to see a kid, not more than 15 years old buying a SNES console and games from there. I thought to myself, “Is that kid poor and can’t afford new consoles like the 360 or did he have the same passion as me?” I didn’t get it because he was much younger and didn’t grow up during those time, to be honest I felt bad for the kid because I truly thought the kid didn’t have the money to buy a PS2 or a 360, so he got what he could afford.

Sorry for the long story, but anyways unlike some of you on here, I am not ashamed of my gaming hobbies and some of my friends are actually happy to see me come by with my SNES, Genesis, or even Saturn packed in bags. Even though they don’t retro game like most of us and think many games then are childish and lacking of story and depth, it feels nice to rub it in their face and say that my boxed FF3 is worth more than his Uncharted 3 or whatever months old modern game they had.
In the end my friends would learn that there is appreciation for these great games classic games and many are still played to this day. And throughout time I would learn that for some gamers are really shallow and nothing can compete against a game with state of the graphics, but as for me i will continue to game throughout my life because its my passion,hobbie, and interest.
Last edited by AznKhmerBoi on Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by ksloth Wed Mar 14, 2012 6:13 pm

Well said! All of ya's.
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Re: Gaming as a life-long hobby - Thoughts from the 25+ crow

by stickem Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:01 pm

mjmjr25 wrote:I've been doing a lot of thinking on this topic lately. Topic being - I am 33 and video games are a large part of my hobby time, in fact, it is currently probably my most time-consuming hobby.

I was talking to a friend the other day and pondering if the stigmas have changed in regard to gaming as an accepted hobby.

I can't imagine my dad or any of his friends (in their late 50's - early 60's) spending time doing meet ups or posting on vid game forums. However, I think I might still be involved in this when I am 50 - I have been for the last 20 years - why not 20 more?

What are thoughts and feelings of the other older gamers? Do you ever have "guilt" that you are still involved in the hobby? Do you have something nagging at you that "it's time to grow up"?
I don't have any designs for this thread - just some discussion from the rest of the "seasoned" racket members on this topic of Aging and Gaming.

Feel free to share stories, thoughts, and experiences.

Copy / Paste from my last post:
And EDIT: Please post if you are under 25, by all means. The title thought was to steer the folks who might have similar thoughts into the thread. But certainly if you have your own thoughts and are under 25 - please do make a thoughtful post.



pretty close to this for me. i'm 37 and have other things i'd rather be doing with my time. i have 3 girls that have no interest in gaming which doesn't help. i still buy and collect but basically don't play, just don't have the time to invest anymore. my favorite genre back in the day were rpg's and the thought of sitting down to start one is crazy to me. i still play an hour here and there whenever i have the free time so shumps, fighters, and fps' are my thing
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