Proud To Be A Gamer

We have heard it all before. Gamers are immature. Games aren’t artistic because gamers don’t want them to be. Gamers are whiney entitled little douchebags making everyone’s life a living hell. Heck, PBS Game/Show did an entire episode on how the toxic behavior of gamers actually makes successful game developers quit the industry. It would be easy to write another article about how gamers have to grow up, stop raging about stupid things, stop acting entitled, and generally act like adult human beings who have a responsibility to the medium that they enjoy. However, I’m going to attempt to come at this at a different angle. Instead of simply chastising immature gamers for their immature behavior, I’m going to posit that many forms of gamer immaturity don’t actually make any logical sense.

Example 1: It’s Just a Game VS. I’m Proud To Be A Gamer

“It’s just a game” is the mantra we hear every time someone tries to talk about games as art. The idea, is that games aren’t supposed to be art. They are supposed to be just a fun diversion. Trying to shoehorn art into gaming is either making a mountain out of a molehill, or needlessly weighing down an otherwise fun experience with pretension.

However, we frequently hear gamers talk about “gamer pride” as if playing video games is something to be proud of, which creates sort of a paradox. If the idea behind gamer pride is that playing games is as valid of a past time as, say, watching movies, reading books, going to theater, playing sports, and so on, then how can games be “just” games? How is it that we can argue that games are unimportant enough to be considered art, but important enough to be considered as important as art, at the same time? If gaming is truly unimportant, then being a gamer is unimportant, and the whole concept of gamer society is pretty much an illusion. If gaming is important, however, then gaming society is important, but games open themselves up to be scrutinized on the same level of any other piece of media.