Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gamers - the traditional, the new generation, the gaming parent and children

One of the surgeons assisting my the surgeon I was working with the other day said something I thought was rather amusing whilst we were operating.

"Did you see the article in the Sydney Morning Herald?  They said that the current consoles that were released (ie PS4 and Xbox one) will be the last consoles because people won't be playing consoles anymore, they'll be playing iPad and smartphone games."

I looked at him incredulously.  "What?  That's a crazy thing to say!"

He looked at me, his face shining with belief.  "That's what they said in the paper!"

I rolled my eyes.  "As if that's going to happen.  I'd like to see someone play a proper FPS on an iPad.  There's no way!"

The other surgeon agreed.  He's a console gamer.

Increasing numbers of people are playing games, but the games market is expanding.  More people pass the time playing games on their smartphones and tablets (think lunch time and commuters), who probably weren't people who would have played traditional computer games.  Social games, fun, fast games - I think people used to play those on gameboys and Sony PSPs but now the phones are the way for people to play - after all, it's convenient, and you carry your phone with you everywhere. I mean, it's so convenient and better than standing around twiddling your thumbs right?  Might as well put those thumbs to use on your touchscreen!

People, pets, YOU NAME IT, THEY'RE PLAYING GAMES
The definition of gamer in the Merriam-Webster dictionary states:
a person who plays a game or games, typically a participant in a computer or a role playing game

But it's such a broad term, just like when people say they enjoy eating food.  There are those who think true food appreciation is eating at Michelin star restaurants all the time, and look down upon those who trek through the asia eating at street markets to find the tastiest food stalls for someone wanting to experience the "real meal" in a particular country.  Snobbery also exists in gaming, especially in those who consider themselves core or hardcore - they tend to look down on casual gamers (as if somehow it's their fault that there are a slew of poorly designed games on the market).  Look at all these definitions below.

Casual (or social) gamers play games on their chosen platform and tend to choose games which are easy to play and don't spend time playing games which are too involved.  Core gamers are players with a wider rangeof interests and is more likely to enthusiastically play different types of games.  They may not finish every game they play, and it is this audience that video games companies target.  Hardcore gamers extend gaming into their lifestyle and are more likely to be identified as geeks.  They often buy games, and try to complete all the objectives of the games they buy and spend a significant amount of time invested into a game.  Pro gamers are those who study the games they play intensively to master, usually to compete.  Pro gamers may or may not have a salary but there are many pro gamers with sponsorships of up to 100k.

You see this is why I can't play console games - can't play them whilst at work
So you can see, all sorts of people play games.  My parents play games, and even my aunt plays games.  My dad still loves to play Heroes of Might and Magic, and my mum and aunt play card games.  Sure, it's just solitaire but that's a game - and probably one of the reasons why my aunt started playing solitaire on the computer is because it deals it a lot faster than if you do it by hand.  I think people forget that most people play games to keep themselves occupied - there were chess clubs and board game players and solo card games that people played for ages.  My mum said she encouraged my grandmother and even my dad and aunt to play games because it keeps their mind active, and I wasn't surprised that she wasn't the only one who thought this way.

Source: Interactive Games & Entertainment Association
This graph is a bit funny - I am assuming that "Excitement/thrills" has "fun" under its umbrella.

There were distinct differences in the way gamers and non-gamers view computer games. For example, according to the survey by the Interactive games and Entertainment Association, 44 per cent of gamers believed gaming was "part of an active lifestyle" compared to just 10 per cent of non-gamers. However both sides agreed that games relieve boredom, offer excitement and were mentally stimulating.

The average gamer, they said, plays 2 hours of games every two days.  Now that is a frightening prospect since I spend at least 3 hours a day playing games - or rather A GAME.

People play games to spend time with one another.  This pic is kinda cute, but we can all see the err... intimate advantages of such play.  Though I find it great that they poor guy has to play on a laptop on an ironing board.  What a man.  And what happens if he gets a... hmmm never mind.  I guess they can kill 2 birds with one stone then.


Parents spend time playing games with their children (mostly console or computer) - 53% did so to monitor what they're playing as well as spend time with them.  I thought about my daughter who loves me to come play games with her as well as to watch me play WoW - she still thinks it's a great treat to sit on my lap and run my tauren around the Shrine or Orgrimmar with the mouse, whilst I type in chat to my friends.  Not only parents wanting to spend time with their kids, but kids clearly think it's a great way to spend time with parents.

OK this might be a little young.  Though I may have had this look whilst raiding some years ago...
People are horrified when they say my daughter plays computer games.  I think they think that I just let her waste her life in front of the television or computer playing games until her eyes go square.  But people don't realise that if you play games with your child, is that any different from playing ball with them outside? Or hide and seek?  Or dress ups and make believe?  My daughter likes the interaction with me, and it's something we can do together. Besides, it would be weird if I didn't let her play computer games, like a double standard or something, since I am obviously playing.

There are people who are gamers who are terrible parents.  Couples like this whose children were malnourished and starved almost to death, whilst their parents played games.  Or the other couple whose own daughter died of starvation because her parents were too busy raising their virtual daughter in a computer game.  These are what give gaming parents a bad name - especially to those who don't understand what exactly gamers do.  It only takes a few bad ones to besmirch an entire subpopulation.

I think most people can guess what I want as a gift - I'm a pretty easy person to give stuff to!
It just seems so strange to me that even in gaming there are so many factions and subfactions, and internal snobbery too.  The non-gaming people tend to look at gamers as some kind of layabout timewasters, doing nothing useful with their life, and within the gaming community there are those who think they are better than others, looking down on those gamers whose values about gaming are not as "pure" as their own.  But should I really be surprised?  It's really just one of the nasty aspects of human behaviour, the same attitudes you see in everyday life - your occupation and pay grade, your "social standing" (eg at school), your religion, your methods of parenting.  It is that aspect of human behavior whereby one seeks to elevate oneself above the status of others.  And within ourselves is a little bit of herd mentality as well.  It is easy to be swept along with the flow, rather than to be different.  Change is hard.  New ideas are hard.

But there are enough gamers, tolerant gamers, out there so that being accepting of others isn't really that difficult.  Enough of a herd, so that it's easy for you to join in and be part of the more accepting whole. So try to think about that before you belittle someone for being a noob or not being as good as you, or knowing as much as you.  Your behaviour to that person today, may shape their future for how they will behave tomorrow.

10 comments:

  1. You forgot one vitally important social distinction amongst 'traditional' gamers:

    http://www.gamersschmamers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/PC_Gaming_Master_Race_by_Claidheam_Righ.jpg

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  2. It is interesting how the public still view playing games in a negative way. Most gamers are loosely put under the "nerd" or "geek" bracket by non-gamers (especially male). Anyone who is a gamer that married (if they are lucky enough to even be accepted by the opposite sex of the same specie) a non-gamer will tell you how much they suffer and a lot of couple conflict because the spouse do not want the gamer to play.

    The irony is that often the non-gamer spouse will have a hobby which is just as pointless as playing games (e.g. reading comic / watch TV shows etc) yet this is fine whereas playing games is worse than gambling...

    KSret

    P.S. No and I am not talking about myself, I do have permission to play games, as long as "everything" is done...

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    1. You're lying, you are SO talking about yourself.... who is the one who has to hide their credit card bill from their wife in case they see extra "Blizzard" charges on it!!! And you're the one earning the money!

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  3. I remember thinking how strange I thought the concept of using my computer to play games was. My computer was for work and work only. I just tried WoW to see what my son-in-law saw in MMOs. And now look what happened, lol.

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    1. I know! Look at you know! WRITING about computer games, omg who does that? :D

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  4. Oh no! I hope you weren't offended by my "Farmville" or Candy Crush joke on TNB! I was being cheeky - of course all games are fun. You did hear how I spent literally two months from dawn till dusk (and then some) playing Animal Crossing, right!? LOL When desktops first came out, and this is a while ago, I positioned my desk in my office at the time so my bosses couldn't see the screen while I was playing Solitaire. And let's not mention the hours I spent playing Hercules checkers on a Disney game I supposedly bought for my son, who could never play it because I was playing it. As far as children and gaming, I just hope parents still read to their children, which I can attest is not happening. There are many studies and data to support that the digital natives, while great at engaging in good UI, are not exactly literate. What you always do well in these posts is discuss balance - well done and great post, Navi! http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/10/28/241444449/how-you-handle-screen-technology-time-with-your-kids

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    1. No no no not at all silly goose! I play Candy Crush :D and lots of other mindless iPad games! My kids do play a lot of iPad I admit, and my daughter has to do some educational games if she wants iPad time. I do worry about my son, though he enjoys the iPad, fortunately he also loves playing with his trains and throwing a ball or a toy about with me. If only he would SPEAK... An interesting read that article btw! And TY!

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  5. Even my son...who is way better at WoW than me btw *laughs* appreciated some of this & alot of it is definitely true. *grins* just thought I'd put in my 2 cents before he drags me thru some more dungeons. *laughs*

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    1. LOL Gwynie! Thanks for visiting btw!

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