Still a Gamer

I've refined my thoughts since the last time I committed to identifying as a gamer. The more time I spend on online gaming sites the more I encounter problems with what is seen as the gaming community. There really is an insularity that keeps creativity stifled, and allows misogyny and other exclusionary attitudes to thrive. It's not always like that, but it's a problematic and highly visible. It alters broader public perception, and the perception of developers on who they are creating games for. Both of these factors diminish games as a medium that can be enjoyed by many different types of people (tangent: and cats).

This extends to broader issues with geeky interests, and this weirds me out because I don't understand geeky very well. I find the separation between geeky and non-geeky interests completely arbitrary. If anything it's more about the difference in community. Like, geeky interests are those where one group of people think they're FREAKING AWESOME and another group thinks they're a bit weird and embarrassing, which just eggs the first group on and they have to be more passionate and evangelical.

Then again, I could say the same about some enthusiastic football supporters, and I don't usually see them accused of geekery even when they can give you player stats off the top of their head. Don't expect me to understand how anyone manages to navigate society without becoming hopelessly confused.

How geeky interests can be so readily identified puzzles me, but I can't deny there are communities surrounding those interests, and they have a certain character. It's handy if you're looking for somewhere to belong and can find it there, and I'll stand up for that as an important societal role for geek communities. But I'll only support a community when it's welcoming any weird and wonderful people who show up, not when it's exerting its difference by excluding people or ideas.

Sometimes it becomes difficult to say I'm a gamer without embarrassment. But this is also precisely why I will continue to identify as a gamer. The actual extent of game culture is diverse and interesting, to the point where "gamer" or "game community" become meaningless terms. But while my identifying as a gamer has a chance to broaden perceptions of what a gamer is I will continue to do so. If people are blind to the diversity around them I will give be something to bump into.

If they happen to be trawling my obscure corner of the internet, that is, but we all act at our own scale.