We are gamers

I can’t believe this will be my last official column of the year already. With that said, this week’s column will be about people who play games, instead of individual games. After all, electronic entertainment is nothing without the people playing with and enjoying it, correct? Especially since we are at a tech school, video games are integral to many of our lives one way or another.

The stereotypes for video game nerds have remained the same throughout the years. They live in their parents’ basements. They have no social lives, and care only for their computer-related needs. Their awkwardness is proportional to their extensive knowledge of games.

Both in our society and on our campus, there are scores of people (Editor’s note: get it?) who prefer electronic entertainment to social contact. In the most severe instances, I remember a story of a student my freshman year who dropped out of Stevens because he did nothing but play “World of Warcraft” in his room all day. I personally know some gamers that fit those stereotypes by the book at Stevens, and I figure getting that out of the way would be nice.

With that said, the bias against gamers is often extreme, because nowadays video games take up part of most our lives one way or another, even if they manifest through mobile garbage like “Clash of Clans” and “Candy Crush”. After watching a recent “I’m a gamer” commercial by Intel and ESL, I can safely say that a lot of “normal people” play games for a variety of reasons, and interaction with others is becoming one of them.

There will always be that large crowd of “League of Legends” followers, loyal “FIFA” or “NFL” fans, “Minecrafters”, and “Hearthstone” gatherers. To them, playing games is a way to socialize, contrary to the anti-social portrayal of gamers above. Nowadays, when designing a game, developers even take advantage to incorporate more and more player-to-player interaction and social elements. Furthermore, what I see of recent is how video games have become integrated into our daily lives and even cultural norms.

Gamers are dynamic, too. Video games are meant to be fun, just like any other hobbies. A majority of gamers will be of the “PFF” (Play for Fun) variety, with the primary objective of getting as much fun out of games as possible without committing too much time—normal people like us. In general, they enjoy interesting game mechanics, moderate challenges, and anything else that make games fun and interactive.

On the other hand, there are players who are always looking to overcome their limits. They are jokingly named by the internet as “PFU” (Play for Uber). To them, having fun means beating harder bosses, and refreshing their best records, and, in competitive scenes, means beating all other players. These are the people who thrive on challenges and sometimes become centers of attention in streams and break Guinness World Records.

At Stevens, I am often surprised by some of the people who I thought will be opposite of the types that play video games, and they still do and sometimes even surprise me in their genres of choice. However, overall, it is the different gamers that build a vibrant community.

Personally, I see myself as a “hybrid.” I play games fundamentally for fun, and I play a lot of different games just to try out new things and enjoy something different once in a while. However, I always desire to get good at every game I’ve played, and sometimes do get serious with MOBAs or a game with a demanding objective.

The important lesson I have learned is that in order to game for the right reasons, take gaming to an appropriately serious level, but don’t get mad over a single loss or setback. The bottom line is that video games are meant to be fun. As gamers, we should always remember that above all else.