The Cliques Of Gaming
Gaming has certainly evolved as a culture. It’s not just a niche thing that a whole bunch of random people do anymore, but a cultural phenomenon. And with any cultural phenomenon, people get split into groups. These groups have their own set of fundamentals and their own unique lifestyle that they follow. Gaming is no different. Think of the movie Mean Girls (I have no shame to admit that I’ve watched it more than 10 times already) with all the different cliques of a high school that it showed off. Jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, asians and so on. We also have our own unique cliques in gaming culture and I would like to share a few of them with you now.
Just to be clear, I’m not stereotyping anyone. See this as a light hearted look at the diversity of our culture.
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Let’s start this off with a classic. Jocks are usually those guys that are good at sport and nothing else and are generally seen as the popular kids. The gaming version of that, I think, would be obsessive Call of Duty players with so many Xes in their tags that you would think they were advertising some German porn site. Call of Duty is the popular game. Everyone knows about it or at the very least has heard about it. It’s the “in” game to play even amongst people that aren’t really that interested in games. Hell, even my brother’s girlfriend plays it and she is a gamer like a rock is a gamer. People that only play popular games can be seen as jocks. There’s no real objective behind why they play these games, but they do. But if they’re having fun then who am I to blame for it?
Jocks can also be douchebags that shove kids into lockers and flush their heads down the toilet. Here we can draw a comparison between that and the numerous internet trolls that plague our existence. People that maliciously stalk gaming websites, waiting for their chance to ruin someone’s day. They want to bully the people that put so much effort and determination into their passion for, well I don’t know, reasons. They seek attention because their dads hate them or something and they somehow want to do that by being as unlikable and offensive as possible. Lord knows why they do it, but they are already embedded into our culture.
Rhythm game players, basically. This group has died out in recent years thanks to the fall of rhythm games, but there was a time where obsessively playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band was something you would hear about a lot. These people would practice their plastic instruments for 8 hours a day and make it their life’s mission to 5 star Through The Fire And The Flames on Expert. I was one of them. There was a period in my life where I played rhythm games for days on end and only stopping when I had to eat or go to sleep. I even played a 7 hour long setlist without breaks that really destroyed my fingers.
The band geeks are still around, but you would see them in a corner somewhere and not doing much. Or maybe even playing in the school band, you never know.
I hate the moniker, but the description of nerd that I think would fit here is someone that has a passion for something that not a lot of people would understand or have the patience for. Here you can find your compulsive RPG players, be it singleplayer or MMOs. The people that have logged over 400 hours in Skyrim or have four level 80 characters in World of Warcraft. Or even playing incredibly tough JRPGs for hundreds of hours. To be such a compulsive RPG gamer you have to have patience, strong will (fighting that legendary boss can be quite taxing) and a bit of intellect for wrapping your head around so many ideas and mechanics.
These people play games in a way that would make even the most hardcore Call of Duty players shake in their boots.
Casual gamers fall into this clique. These people play things like Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Farmville and Bejewled. Little timewaster games that don’t require a lot of thought processes or commitment. Cheerleaders are usually light hearted girls (or boys) that just go with what is popular and just do what is fun at the moment. The same can be said of casual gamers. They play fleeting and often simplistic games just for the sake of playing something. Once again, I can’t fault them if they are doing something that they have fun with. Even if they have massive credit card bills because the “just one more life” thing got a little bit out of hand.
Being an appreciator of fine art is something that is very admirable. The people that would fall into this category are people that love their artsy indie games. Games like Journey, Okami, Shadow Of The Colossus and Bastion. All of these games have great art styles and are meant to be appreciated from a more personal standpoint. They are also the kind of people that appreciate an artfully crafted narrative with rich characters and extremely deep lore. The infamous argument of “are games art” would be answered with a resounding yes from these people because they have experienced what is to offer.
Once again, I’m not stereotyping anyone here. If you love what you’re doing then all the more power to you. But you have to admit that gamers could be lumped into these cliques. Some more than others, some less than others. Which cliques do you think you belong to? Feel free to create your own.