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The Most Common Gaming Stereotypes.

video game stereotypes

Common Gamer Stereotypes

Stereotypes. I absolutely love stereotypes.  They are just so blatantly funny to analyse. In gaming culture there are a number of negative stereotypes that are harmful, and just plain mean. Namely all gamers are teenagers who life in their mom’s basement have no girlfriend and waste their time in on a pointless pursuit that they’ll be no good at if they are not Korean anyway.  But just how true are these stereotypes?

Gamer live in their mom’s basement.

If you’re an orphan or your parents don’t own a basement because they live in a small retirement flat, does that mean I can’t be a gamer? Just how many basements are there in the world? Seriously, I don’t know anyone that has one, although I and the majority of my friends live in a terraced housing that’s constructed to facilitate the creation of an underwater railway tunnel in the 1873, so maybe it is a working-class thing.

Kind makes you wonder if we should start a charity too doesn’t? To unite gamers disenfranchised from their cultural title with moms that have unoccupied basements.  Could you imagine the bleeding-heart appeals about Pete, who wants to game but has no basement?

Gamers don’t have a girlfriend.

A common stereotype is that gamers don’t have a girlfriend. This is totally untrue. Most gamers I know have dated Liara T’soni at some point.  I have a save file that I never use, so she’ll be mine forever.

All Gamer are Fat and Lazy

I would have done extensive research, and created a witty comment to show just how wrong this stereotype is, but I was too busy eating doughnuts. Just be aware that the stereotype exists.

All gamers are teenage dirt-bags

Many from the older crowd believe only teenagers play games?

It begs the question, if the majority of game-players are teenagers, then why does the game industry publish age restricted material that the large majority of their customers can’t buy?  I really should stop applying logic to stereotypes, shouldn’t I?

Interestingly, Kowert et al (2013) conducted a large scale studying into gamers, compiling all demo graphical correlations.  Surprisingly, there was only one significant correlation found among their dataset – age. They found that a higher number of gamers were in their thirties.

There is even some evidence they know what soap is.

Do video Gamers really waste their life?

One of the common stereotypes is that gamers are wasting their life.

I’ve been told that playing computer games is a pointless hobby and I am not sure what people really mean by that.  I’ve seen people defend the worthwhile nature of games by quoting that the industry reports billion of dollar worth of profit.  And how if it is pointless so is movies.  Very rarely does anyone make the argument as it is actually full of points.

It’s the ultimate form of stress relief and escapism.

Simon Peg makes this point beautiful don’t you think? So much better to drown Lara Croft than your neighbor’s cat.

That in itself has a purpose but let’s examine this form of escapism.

One of the oldest forms of escapism are these leafy and texty things called books. These books contain narratives that scholars analyse and debate topics such as society, culture, philosophy and art. Sure a narrative analysis of pong may come up a little a short, but what do you think you’d find if you compared and contrasted the themes of Frankenstein with Deus Ex?  Would it expose the same fears around the transgression of science? Would we see the same anxiety around technology? How about Heavy Rain and Raymond Chandler? Bloodbourne and H.P Lovecraft?  And, arguably, video games are the better medium for creating these debates, exposing these as you get to explore different paths and perspectives on them.  If reading someone else’s thoughts breeds empathy, what does living it create? Is expanding your mind, knowledge and ideas about the universe the very thing most people believe life is about?

I could rant go on about cultural exchanges, how it provides social ties and knits communities together, emphasizes collaborative play and sharing, has a component that train critical thinking and enhances eye and hand co-ordination.  I’ll stop, but if you’re interested in that stuff it was in a study by Rochester University. So, my point is video games are actually a form or self-improvement.

Koreans are the best video gameplayers.

There is no denying that Koreans are dominant in the e-sports arena, but it is not due to them having the innate genetic pattern to kick-ass at games, but rather a cultural difference in the societies. Gaming is seen as more worthwhile, and culturally accepted in Korea.  This means if you admit to playing games you are not resigned to finding a basement to live as heterosexual monogamy (if you even get a girlfriend that is of course.)

But this produces a culture of support as video games are seen as a more worthwhile pursuit, and even as a way to earn money, they have greater time to dedicate to practicing their craft.

Girls don’t play video games unless they’re Shrek in drag?

The video gaming landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years. Mobile gaming platforms have expanded the amount of people that play games and they are taking revenue from traditional console.  Hell, even established developers like Konami and Square Enix are focusing on mobile games more to tap into this revenue.

Due to this change in landscape, on average gamers are 41% female and 59% male. 

But there are some alarming underlying facts surrounding this stereotype that should give the game industry some concern.  Representation of woman in the format has been widely criticized due to their weight, the skimpy clothes they wear, and there is a whole issue of objectification of women which could be seen as turning girls off games. What I find a little startling though is that even critics of video games objectify woman who play video games by turning them into some kind of mythical hydra. Female gamers just can’t get a break from any camp.

What is even more alarming is the small amount of game developers that are woman.  They are grossly under-represented in the industry.  This obvious bias is why woman are so badly represented in the medium.  Who wants to found a female only studio?

video game stereotypes

Conclusion

After deep review of the quantitatively and qualitative research done on gaming, I conclude that the stereotypical stereotypes are close-minded and have a really limited perspective on life in general.

Hang on…

I just insulted myself there somehow didn’t I?

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