I’m not a gamer

So, yesterday, I made a post on a couple of topics, including toxicity, bad game design encouraging certain , “tryhards”, the terminology of “being a gamer”, gatekeeping and other stuff. My problem with that post was that it started with a question, then it suddenly branched out into three different topics and at the end, it concluded without ever answering the question. That’s what I’d consider a confusing and bad post. 

So, I edited the post and it didn’t help bring my point across because that post was overloaded and bad in quality. Hence, I’m splitting it up into multiple posts, each dedicated to their own topic so that I can get my idea across as intended. After all, I’m really bad at putting my thoughts into words and I should just write about one thing instead of trying to add in more and more herbs to the soup, if that makes sense.

This post is about “being a gamer”. 

A while ago, I had this experience with a German streamer who I followed for a bit who wanted to learn English. I thought that that was cute and wanted to help, so we hopped into Valorant and played a few rounds and I corrected him whenever he did use words in the wrong way, which he really found helpful.

During one of the games, he got frustrated. He was playing Jett, a duelist-class agent that has high mobility and an ultimate with some nice kill-potential. I was playing Sage, a support-class agent that has zone-control with an ice wall and a slow area but that can also heal and revive people. Sage doesn’t have any damaging abilities. Other people in our team would play Raze and Pheonix, as well, which are also duelists with tools in their kit to kill people with. Raze is also able to one-shot people with three of her abilities, which is major bullshit btw. 

That guy’s frustration came from him doing really well with 27 kills and us still losing the game. I, on the other hand, died a bunch and got a lot of assists for helping my team kill people – but I didn’t get that many kills. My KDA was, hence, not as good as his, so he insulted and “flamed” me. I told him that my or his KDA or stats don’t matter if we end up still losing the game because of bad team play. In the end, you can be the best player on your team but it doesn’t matter if you don’t win – and winning was our common goal. 

Roger said a while ago that there is always someone who wins and someone who loses in competitive games. You cannot change that unless it’s a tie of sorts… but those are quite unlikely with overtime mechanics in place and that kind of stuff. It’s a given that you cannot always win or that there is always someone better than you in any game. 

So, this guy who was insulting me on his stream also said that I’m not a “gamer” because I don’t care about those stats. And it’s true. I don’t care about stats and care more about having fun in games. Winning is also fun btw so obviously it’s not that I don’t care about winning and doing my best. I’m just fine with losing if I’m able to gain experience, practice or just have fun.

Practically, I’m really bad at FPS games and even worse in Valorant as I haven’t had any practice in it for quite some time. I also haven’t played CS:GO or any of those other games, so I’m lacking experience. The only way for me to improve would be to play more. Playing more, however, requires me to have fun as I’ll get frustrated if the game gets boring, stale or if I just don’t enjoy it. I told him beforehand that I’m not good at the game and when he insulted me based on numbers without acknowledging that him playing Solo and for his stats only in a TEAM GAME wasn’t exactly “good” either,… well…. I just didn’t wanna bother with him anymore. I felt that he was toxic, selfish and honestly quite cringy. Him throwing a tantrum over me not being a “gamer” was childish at best. Him rushing in to kill people without pinging, communicating or saying anything was really bad, actually. Him getting a kill but then dying, alone, with the spike on him, is a bad move. But that doesn’t matter apparently when you have good stats, right? Because people just look at the stats and not your individual plays or whatever.

So, what’s a “gamer” then? 

First up, I won’t include the urban dictionary definition because of obvious reasons.

Apparently, a gamer is someone who is not contempt with losing and who only cares about winning no matter what playstyle and what tool they have to resort to. Cheating or hacking is most likely not included in that definition. Ninja said that someone who is contempt with losing has lost twice and that you have to get angry and rage when you lose, to be considered a gamer – or something like that.

My problem with that sort of definition is that it is kind of wrong? I mean, it doesn’t include casual gamers, otome gamers, mobile gamers, simulation-type gamers, and other types. I’d say that a “gamer” is someone who plays games a lot. A “competitive gamer” would be someone as mentioned above who is very competitive (duh.) and who really wants to improve and get better at the game. A “casual gamer” would be someone who rather focuses on having a fun experience and enjoying their time. 

Problem is that no matter what my personal definition is, there will always be people that won’t acknowledge it. “You’re not a gamer” is a form of gatekeeping that excludes me because I’m not honing my skills in certain games. It also excludes people that play games casually and people that play other types of games that cannot really be played competitively. There are a lot of people in “gaming communities” that don’t consider Visual Novels, otome games, mobile games and simulation-type games as “games”. I mean they are games but if a “gamer” is someone who “plays games” then those people that play the game types that I mentioned above aren’t “gamers” or “true gamers” in their eyes

That’s what I noticed in a lot of places like Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, and Discord. It’s gatekeeping at its finest and I don’t like it. It’s unhealthy for communities and toxic, at best. That’s why I don’t consider myself a “gamer” because that term is just oozing with toxicity. It’s a term that people use to label others while excluding other people. A “gamer” is more often than not almost obsessed with winning or obsessed with having high stats. You cannot always do good, though, and despite what Ninja may say on the topic, losing is completely fine as long as you did your best. There is always someone who is better than you after all. In the time that you rage or insult or badmouth others, you could easily try again and get better by reflecting on what you did wrong and what you can do better. And then you get better. That’s the way it is.

So, to sum it up, there is not really any definition of what a “gamer” is that literally everyone would accept, duh. There is a meme, as Jett and Dan pointed out once in my stream, of “getting your gamer card revoked” for liking certain types of games or certain game mechanics (e.g. escort missions) – and that’s really just gatekeeping, in my eyes. People that want to belong to a gaming community get excluded for not being “gamers” because they do things differently. 

Obviously, people will always be assholes and the only real solution to that is to ignore them. If you want to be a gamer, be a gamer. Fuck their opinions, just go for it. Nobody can stop you. If you want to consider yourself a core gamer or a true gamer or a veteran gamer or whatever, then just call yourself that. 

If someone calls me a “gamer”, then I’ll politely say that I’m not a “gamer” because I don’t like the term and because I have negative connotations with it. It’s a terminology that is oozing with toxicity and that seems gatekeep-ish and that does more harm than good, in my opinion. Also, I don’t like labels like that, be it “otter” or “gamer” or “otaku” or whatever.

Rather, I’m “someone who likes to play games” or rather “gaming is a big part of my life” or a “big hobby of mine”. Terminology like that puts it better into words and really helps me because it’s not negative or positive. It’s just neutral and objective. Similarly, I like watching anime but I wouldn’t consider myself an “otaku” because I have negative connotations with the term – or rather, it’s an insult, to begin with, and I hate the anime community because of my negative experiences with a lot of people in said community. Being an “otaku” and “liking anime” are two different things for me, personally, with a very small difference.

Wearing the “same trousers” and wearing “trousers that look the same” are two things as well, btw.

Furthermore, I’d like to say that I don’t care about how you play your games. You can be a speedrunner (which is awesome btw!), a competitive gamer (I play games competitively as well, at times), a casual gamer (I mostly play games casually), a mobile gamer (it’s still a game, innit?), or anything else. You can be someone who plays games or someone who is a gamer. Whatever floats your boat. I’m not critiquing the way people play their games but rather the terminology and the gatekeeping that I associate with it.

I just wanted to comment on the terminology of “being a gamer” and why I don’t like the terminology, personally

What are your thoughts on the matter? What are statements that would “get your gamer card revoked”? Have you had any toxic experiences with gatekeeping in regards to being or not being a “gamer”? Would you consider yourself a “gamer” or rather “someone who plays games”? Do you see any difference at all? 


19 thoughts on “I’m not a gamer

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  1. Glad you took the criticism well :-) I know I already commented on the last post, but for completion’s sake, I’ll give my thoughts again. I, too, do not like it when I get labelled as a “gamer” because I don’t like the “us vs. them” mentality that comes with that. Imagine the same thing would happen in other hobbies! “I’m a whiskey drinker, and everyone who puts ice in whiskey commits a sin!” Or “There’s only one true way to eat a steak – medium-rare! Everyone else is just wrong and stupid!”…Goddammit, I’ve come too late! :-(

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure my gamer card would instantly get revoked if someone would find out I’m at Lvl 296 in Microsoft Spider Solitaire…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Never saw the appeal of Candy Crush. Just not my cup of tea but uh “whatever floats your boat”, right? :) Tastes differ and honestly, I feel like those numbers sound like achievements! And if anything, the achievement-hunting is what turns “gamers” and “people that play games” into “heroes”. :D

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I tend to call myself a Gaming-Enthousiast these days as I had to deal with a lot of toxic people.
    I am excited about games, that will always ring true! I have tried most genres and have a lot of fun in most. Some more than others.

    I tend to stay away from competive as I do not care for winning at all and I am all about having fun. In the end I look for games that contribute something for me.. so when someone asks me what I think is good about a game I want to give an answer like “I really enjoyed the story” or “This power up is so unique and amazing and fun to explore the world with”. I would really hate to give answers as “I am good at this game that is why I like it”.. that says nothing about a game and I know plenty of gamers who are like that. Nothing against them but it screams insecurities to me! If you need a game to feel good about yourself but don’t care about the game that much.

    If people want to take the word gamer away from me and twist it in something gate-keepery then that is fine. I do not want to be associated with such people anyway. Playing and enjoying games to me is something that does not require skills or complex games.. or commonly accepted games. Does Urban dictionary make me not a gamer? No, I defeated King K Rool.. every time he showed up! I smited Dracula and Bowser and even took down Handsome Jack and Andrew Ryan. I fought Jack of Blades, and became the Duleist of the Roses! I don’t need to win against other gamers.. or “gaming enthousiasts” because why would I take gaming away from people that preform less than me.. or why would i not be a gamer if others preform better?!

    Things that could get my Gamer card revoked:
    I main Jigglypuff in Smash, I played Halo Reach trough just so I could make the cutest Pink spartan uniform and I subscribed for World of Warcraft just for the roleplay! I never got a character to max level by myself!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agree with you there for the most part. I only started playing ranked in LoL in season 7 (so three years ago?) and I enjoy the aspect of people trying to actually work together. In normal games, a lot of people are trolling or practicing or try to do it all alone and when I initially started playing ranked, I was looking forward to people actually playing as a team… but little did I know that it’s everyone for themselves in most games anyways :D But I do enjoy it and seeing your rank get better as you progress through the season is quite nice – but I do get what you mean. League of Legends’ lore, the champions, the mechanics, the customizability of builds and some other things are what make me play it so much lately. I doubt that anyone truly plays a game just because they’re good at it. Someone who plays Valorant chose to play that instead of CS:GO or R6S or whatever, y’know? And there’s a reason why people choose one game over the other.

      Urban dictionary says that a gamer is someone who never leaves the house and “doesn’t get any pussy”, so that’s why I didn’t use that definition in the post. It’s toxic, cringy and hurtful, on top of not being true at all. Oh well :D

      I love how I know most of those bosses. Only recently defeated Andrew Ryan in Bioshock (post coming up soon!) and have really enjoyed that fight. Handsome Jack will always have a space in my heart. Bowser is iconic. Jack of Blades is… a villain… yes…. not a well-written one but he exists!

      Oh, interesting! I mained Kirby and the suicide-tactic in Smash ages ago and haven’t played Halo Reach at all :D The pink spartan uniform sounds comparable to my Pink Powerranger Costume for Geralt in MHW! Never played WoW but would love to play an MMO just for the roleplay aspect again. Can’t remember if I ever hit max level in any game before. :D

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Someone many years ago, when I was playing D&D mini’s at a tournament at GenCon, told me after a match that I lost because of a lot of bad moves told me something when I said I should just hang up my gamer tag. He said,

    Look around you, what do you see, hundreds, thousands of people of all age groups, fathers, and some mothers, with their sons and daughters, even a few grandparents, they are all here playing and competing, some may be the best in the world, some may be picking up some game for the first time. What we all share is a desire and love of playing games. It does not matter what your skill level is, just that you want to play games.
    The next match I had was against an 8 year old kid that pretty much had a few starter packs and was just learning. His dad sat off to the side watching his son play a game against a guy in his 40’s. He made a few wrong moves, and I let him change his mind, but not before I let him think about what he did wrong, when we finished, I had won, but only by a little, and I gave him a dragon miniature that I had a couple of. I like to think that made his day, he told me that next year if I was there he wanted a rematch. His father shook my hand and said thank you, it really meant a lot seeing someone willing to take time to explain things.
    It doesn’t matter if you’re the best, or have the most wins, all that matters is that you play the game.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You know how I said in Discord I was already rolling my eyes at the brief description you gave?

    …Well, I didn’t in the end. I do however disagree with where you landed as a result of the experience. Without a doubt, this whole label and tribalism thing that sometimes comes off the back of them is a weighty and complex topic so I won’t try wade through *all* the ins and outs of it at this time.

    But here’s the thing. Play out the scenario where everyone of your ilk, everyone who is generally nice, doesn’t believe in gatekeeping from their hobbies, etc etc, all decided to abandon the gamer identity.

    It becomes essentially a self-fufilling prophecy. If you leave only the asshats behind, then the identity will be a bunch of asshats.

    All being a ‘gamer’ should mean is that you enjoy gaming.

    That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

    In that group, sure — there are asses like the one you had an encounter with. But there are some pretty awesome people too. So don’t let the rotten folk effectively gatekeep *you* out of feeling comfortable using the tag.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m glad that you weren’t rolling your eyes! I’m pretty sure that that would have hurt! (uh… like rolling the dough… okay, I know where the door is)

      What I meant to say wasn’t that everyone *should* abandon the tag or anything like that but rather that I just personally don’t like to identify as a “gamer” because I have negative connotations with the term. If other people were to declare that they are not “gamers”, either, that’s their choice. If they want to, they still can be gamers. I just personally don’t think that I want to be something that I personally feel so negative about. :)

      Thanks for sharing your view on it! :)


  5. Gatekeeping really says more about the gatekeeper than about the gatekeepee. These are people who crave validation from others — it’s not something to be admired. The dictionary definition you wisely chose not to include would just define a gamer as someone who plays games. For me, I doubt anyone who thought of themselves as a gamer would consider me a gamer, although I do think of myself as one. I don’t play competitive games. I don’t play WoW. I miss all the trends. And yet I like games.

    Nobody owns the definition. If the word “gamer” can’t include someone who liked playing Monopoly when they were a kid but hasn’t touched a game in a decade as well as someone who gets headshot streaks in Fortnite, then the word has already lost its meaning.

    “content with losing”, not “contempt with losing”… ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have played video games since pong. (yeah I’m that old) I worked my way through the gaming systems as they evolved from Atari to Nintendo to now. I’ve been saving princesses and fighting bad guys since I was a little girl. I currently have a Switch, Xbox, PS4 and a Wii. I play video games, so yes…I call myself a gamer. (but will sometimes follow that up with “but not like, a hard-core gamer” lol. That seems to be more the type of people you are talking about with this gatekeeping business. Gamer isn’t a dirty word, and silly people like that don’t own it.


    1. It’s perfectly fine if you feel that way but I just have too many negative connotations with the term “gamer”, which is why I don’t use it. :) Just a personal thing, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course it’s a personal thing :) There are all kinds of gamers…and it means different things to different people, with different experiences. And TBH, if I am talking with serious gamers (like those that are more concerned about winning and keeping score) I usually classify myself as a “retro gamer” or “casual gamer.” I’m just in it for a little fun, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

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