There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the idea of who or what a gamer is. I believe the stereotypical image of a gamer need to be reconstructed from broader perspective. One stereotype for gamers is that they invests a large portion of their time playing video games. Although this statement is not necessarily wrong, it is not entirely true either. In most cases, gamers choose to spend a majority of their time playing video games as a form of escapism from reality.
Studies in depression state that individuals usually turn to drugs and alcoholism as a way of numbing their pain when they are depressed. Similarly, there are gamers who seek comfort in video games and, similar to drug abuse, become complacent with the idea that video games are their only source of happiness. This is one explanation as to why some gamers invest so much time into video games.
However, not all gamers invest as much time in their games as most people believe they do. Personally, I know many gamers who involve themselves in other activities aside from video games. If you were to meet these people you would never guess that they were gamers. One does not have to play video games 24/7 in order to be considered a gamer. For example, I’m typically not seen as a gamer because I spend my time doing various activities like working out or playing soccer. This does not make me exempt of the title of “gamer” it simply means I enjoy other hobbies as well. Gamers simply appreciate the content games have to offer and can choose to play a game casually or constantly.
I believe that gamer stereotypes intentionally put a negative light on gamers in order to alienate them from a culture that focuses on following the newest trends and being popular. In this sense, we live in a very extroverted world where those who would rather spend their weekend playing video games rather than going to a bar are considered losers. Being an introvert myself, I shouldn’t have to feel obligates to say “yes” when my friends ask me hangout, however, introverts are the minority and we all know the majority rules.
One final misconception I would like to shatter is the belief that girls can’t/shouldn’t play video games. Both society and the male community of gamers are equally responsible for creating this belief. Through the use of media, society has labeled girls as materialistic and feminine. Being a predominantly male hobby, a girl playing video games is both bizarre and unheard of because it strays away from the conventional ideal of what a girl is. In addition to society’s description of what a girl should be like, the male community of gamers has made it very difficult for girls to enter the gaming scene. This is because most male gamers hold the mindset that girl gamers are inferior and incapable of playing video games. I believe girls are equally capable of playing video games and have just as much of a right to play as we, the male community do.
I hope that over time society will begin to look at gamers in a new light. Every gamer has their own story and their is no justification for painting us all with the same brush. Don’t judge a book by its cover, a fitness junkie or even a sports fanatic can be gamers. Most importantly, we should respect and welcome the female presence within the gaming community.
Gamers are diverse.