Let's launch into something right now, eh?
I certainly define myself as a gamer, and have done for years. I first started playing 'games' aged 2, although these were educational DOS games involving different coloured squares and a lot more reading than you'll find in most modern titles. My 2-year-old self I don't feel was a gamer, however since the first day I rented a PS1 from my local Video Express I was hooked, and so without wishing to add current age into the matter (although you'll surely be able to ballpark it), my gaming life has spanned, so far, 10 years. During this time a certain evolution has occurred, that of the steps from casual to hardcore gamer, the latter defined herein as someone who either owns several consoles, owns hundreds of games, plays daily, or, in my case, all of the above. Although relevant, this is beside the main point: how I am perceived.
I'd say 95% of all hardcore gamers out there can understand the following situation; in my time at school, I have been seen as the 'nerd', through a combination of circumstances either out of my control, or indirectly related to ever wanting to be a 'nerd'. Let's make a list, shall we?
- I am computer competent. I know what ROM is, I can make a database, I use alternative PC software (Firefox/Openoffice/Trillian for those interested) and I can work out whether or not your PC will run a certain game. Oh, what's this? A relation to gaming? Bingo, you've got the key. Hardcore gamers need levels of competence with computers as a bi-product of enjoying the hobby, especially for PC gaming. It's impossible not to build up a generally large knowledge of something you explicitly need to know parts of, since I have to know CPU speeds and which GPUs are better than others in order to understand what I'm doing, just like downhillers need to know the intricacies of their bikes. It's just a shame that, unlike with this auxiliary computer knowledge, you can't make an entire hobby out of knowing what shocks, closeouts and cassettes are.
- I am into anime/Japanese music. Now then, this one's a bit trickier, and specific to my tastes as a gamer; I love Japanese games, and generally prefer them to Western ones. With the introduction (not completely new, but certainly a lot easier) this generation of region-free gaming, and also the release of the Freeloader for GameCube, I've been able to enjoy titles such as Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei (Bleach: The Blade of Fate), Ossu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (Elite Beat Agents) and Tales of Symphonia either many months before their PAL release, or in their original pre-translated states. This means I have had a large exposure to the Japanese language and culture over the years, and it has grown on me to the point of becoming part of my general life.
- I used to be quite pale. This is clearly a personal thing, but I used to have a deficiency of some kind (NOT sunlight) that meant I was pale-skinned. Certainly didn't help matters.
The thing that most annoys me personally though is that in my own experience, even if I manage to convince someone that gaming is a hobby separate from general computer enthusiasm, no matter what the other person is in to, I always get the same kind of response; disbelief that I could spend my time solely on gaming. A complete jock who spends his entire weekend either playing rugby, training for rugby or doing exercise will ask me what I did over the weekend. "Aside from work," I'll say, "pretty much nothing, just played a bunch of games." A wry smirk comes with their retort, "how many hours would you say?" My heart sinks with the sheer weight of anger at this point, I know exactly what's coming, but I'm honest all the same "I don't know... 17, 18 hours?" I usually get the laugh at this point; this laugh says more than his limited vocabulary ever could. This laugh says, how could you possibly spend so much time playing games? I can't, so how can you? I'm always tempted to strike back with a witty dig, but then I remember they just spent their whole weekend training their body.
So that's me really, and that's the sort of thing I'll be writing about here, as well as general views on games I'm playing or ones I've just enjoyed so much I want to talk about them years later.
Ciao for now.