Metacognition: Defining Gamer

Welcome back to Metacognition! Join us for some deep thoughts (and maybe the occasional not-so-deep thought) about gaming, and catch up on all the previous deep discussions here. If you find one you’d like to answer, you can either comment below or write a post and share the link so we can all read your fantastic thoughts!

How comfortable are you with yourself as a gamer?

My comfort within my own skin has evolved as I’ve matured, like anyone. And so has my comfort with myself as a gamer. When I was younger, I’d rather stop playing a game altogether than change a difficulty level (once that was even an option). And I have to admit, because of that I struggled through some games which definitely gave me technical practice that has served me well.

This leads to a “chicken or the egg” question. Reflex for reflex, I actually am pretty good at games. I have good hand-eye coordination, and once I know how a battle system works I can plan out pretty decent strategies (or spam it if necessary, which is almost the same thing). But am I good at these things because I game, or do I enjoy gaming because I am good at these things?

Image result for chicken or the egg

It’s a question worth considering. I tend to think, like any talent, a person has an innate ability, and then practice can help that ability develop. Then things become exponential, as the talent feeds the skill, which strengthens the talent, which makes the “thing” more enjoyable, which increases the time spent with it, which strengthens the talent, and so on.

So, like so much else, I think it’s a little bit of both: talent and practice, inspiration and perspiration, nature and nurture.

But back to the question.

I’m never going to competively play any sort of video games. I have no desire to be the best player on the internet, and there is no way I’d be able to hate myself enough if I became one of the annoying know-it-alls that I come across on forums sometimes.

Image result for actually meme

Without that pressure, yeah, I sure am comfortable with myself as a gamer. I achieve all my gaming goals. It’s gamer-tastic.

The funny thing about being comfortable about yourself is, in my opinion, being able to stand up and do something your own way without being ashamed and without caring about the labels that other people might apply to you. It means being able to really laugh at yourself, and being able to connect with other people more profoundly because the you-ness that is you it’s not defined or drastically shaken by the me-ness that is me or the him/her-ness that is he/she, and so those differences can be appreciated, not feared.

I change difficulties of games as my whim dictates. I can headshot an enemy in the heat of battle while hardly thinking about it. And you can bet I’ll name my sword “A Fluffy Bunny” because I think it just adds a layer of cute to a game when you can attack people with A Fluffy Bunny. Oh, and I’ll be a woman while doing all of those things.

I know there are people on the internet (and probably the physical world, too) who would say that I’m not a real gamer, because of one or many of the things I just mentioned. And to that I say:

Cool story, bro. Now excuse me while I go slay some dragons.

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Have at thee!

What about you? How comfortable are you as a gamer? What does that mean to you? Do you do anything that is considered against the gaming grain? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you soon!
~ Athena

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18 comments

  1. You can’t really win with the people who insinuate you’re not a real gamer. If you do meet their standards, they’ll just move the goalposts until you’re not a real gamer again – even if that means contradicting what they said earlier and they themselves don’t meet the new standards.

    Either way, I think I’m more or less comfortable with being a gaming enthusiast. However, after seeing a lot of the games that garnered critical acclaim in the early-to-mid 2010s such as Spec Ops: The Line, my question for those who actually work in the industry is: are you truly comfortable with yourselves as game developers?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right about that. Once someone decides “you don’t belong,” it usually doesn’t matter what you do to show that you actually do.

      I really like that question…. Anyone involved in any industry should always be asking themselves that, I think!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Definitely happy to declare myself a gamer. I don’t really play anything competitively with any great degree of seriousness; the odd foray into a beat ’em up or a round or two of Oh Sir! is about it for me. But, the idea of being a gamer is, to me, defined as someone who enjoys to play video games. Oh, and I too can fiddle with the difficulty on a whim at times. :p

    Liked by 2 people

    1. At the end of the day, as long as each person is happy with themselves, that’s really all that matters! I like your definition of “gamer”: someone who enjoys playing video games.

      …and I’m glad there’s someone else who doesn’t mind flipping between difficulties!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It seems to be the most logical definition to me. Making it any more complicated than that just feels like it’s muddying the waters a bit. Absolutely though. Sadly, my skills are such that a difficulty switch is sometimes necessary.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I once felt guilty about playing games on easy. Now I just don’t care. Sure, I’ll go normal first, but if something kicks my ass, down goes the difficulty, haha. I’m old and I have a lot of games to play… These days I also play for fun and to experience stories, not to get angry and smash controllers. Real life is frustrating enough, thank you.

    I also just downed all the High Dragons in Dragon Age Inquisition and was quite proud of myself. I don’t care that I was playing on easy mode. Inquisitor Ellen and her crew are still total badasses. 😎🐉

    I think every gamer plays games for different reasons, and being different doesn’t make someone less of a gamer. Other people enjoy crushing difficulties and good for them! That’s why we have options and stuff, right?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely; I’m the same way. I’ll start on normal and then figure the rest out from there. I figure if the developers didn’t want you to have the option, they wouldn’t have programmed it in.

      That still totally counts!! 😀

      Very true. The most important thing is that each person is having fun and is comfortable with themselves and what they’re doing! (and how they’re doing it, of course)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Semantics and labels, all! Gaming for me is a hobby, and I just want to enjoy myself when I game, which sometimes means turning down the difficulty so I don’t have to agonize over it. The gamers who staunchly try to create a boundary for what constitutes gaming, or get upset when the gaming industry tries to be progressive, need to work a bit on empathy :p

        Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s a part of me that really loves fighting games. I’ve largely stopped playing them, because I don’t have friends that play games and the oneplayer modes are usually somewhat problematic. Now that online play is so common, one would think I just tap into that, but outside of my usual lack of enjoyment with playing with people I’ve got no connection with, being competitive at that would require a level of practice that, although I could do and I’m confident I could get up to that level, just wouldn’t be fun to get there. So, I don’t. I play fighting games oneplayer, typically on the lowest difficulty levels. And I’m fine with that.

    Otherwise, yeah, I’m comfortable with my skills as a player. Sometimes the dumb internet ‘git gud’ guys to git to me, but overall I am who I am, and what other people think doesn’t change. I can beat a lot of challenges many consider hard, I struggle with some simple things in games, but I think that’s everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that seems like a reasonable (if unfortunate) response… I avoid online gaming for many reasons, and one of them is that I don’t want to put in the grinding time just to keep up with the folks who… erm… are very devoted to their gaming stats online. Could I? Sure, but that wouldn’t be fun for me, either.

      It’s hard to ignore the “git gud” folks, for sure. But you touch on an interesting point: git gud *at what*? You may be great at one thing, and I’m great at another, so… maybe everyone can benefit from some practice in areas outside their area of expertise. But somehow I don’t think that’s what the git gud folks mean…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m just not good at some games. I used to be much better at platforming when I was younger, but those were 2D platformers. I’m pretty terrible at 3D ones (which is why I’m glad Super Mario Odyssey was so forgiving hehe). I don’t think you have to be “good” at games per se to be a gamer, because there are so many aspects to gaming. The one ones I’d consider myself good at would be RPGs and puzzlers, and I play the former because I love the story aspect. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more anxious at any game that involves scary situations and/or jump scares, and there seem to be a LOT of those even the more tame ones.I know I prefer ones where I can study a situation and make a choice without feeling rushed, but that doesn’t mean I won’t step outside my comfort zone and play something that’s not my typical genre.

    I also watch a lot of Let’s Plays, and I think that’s often looked down upon by gamers and non-gamers alike, because you’re not “really” playing or “why would you watch someone play a game?” To which I’d respond with I grew up not only playing, but watching others play, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I love video games no matter how I experience them. To the other, I’d respond with, “Why would you watch someone play a game?” in terms of sports. The question is silly and hypocritical. I get that it’s easier to access a video game and play that than, say, professional football, but you’re still viewing an activity you love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are certainly a lot of people ready to judge for no good reason. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that what you do makes sense for you. As long as nobody’s getting hurt, does it really matter that I play Playstation and someone else plays Xbox? And the “casual” thing drives me nuts. Finger-pointing begets finger-pointing. If someone tells me I’m a casual, my knee-jerk reaction is to be like “well, I have a life outside of video games” but that’s just as toxic, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Who cares if you’re a casual player? You don’t have to play to the umpteenth degree for it to be valid. Not everyone writes reviews of all the books they read, but that doesn’t mean their reading counts any less. Let people enjoy things in the way they want to enjoy them. Everything doesn’t have to be a competition.

        It’s my knee-jerk reaction, too. It’s because you’ve been unfairly judged, and you just want a quick comeback from it 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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