Friday, May 24, 2013

He’s Not a Gamer

My brother-in-law is not a gamer. He doesn’t really get the appeal. Video games are cool and all, he says, but some people probably take it too far. It’s odd when people call themselves that: a gamer.

Sure he plays games sometimes…every now and then. He only gets on his PlayStation a couple of hours a day after work, before the kids get home. If you think he has disappeared, he’s probably just in the back bedroom schooling his daughter on Mario 2-player with the Wii. It’s her Wii, not his. He’s also got a 2-year old that loves to play barnyard games with him on his kindle. When he’s bored, he whips out his iPhone and plays whatever iOS game that is the hotness of the moment. Once a month or so he tries out a new game on his PS3. He gets the ones that have an artsy look to them and are cheap.

But my brother-in-law is not a gamer. He figures that he doesn’t play more than any normal person, and iOS games don’t count. The rest of the stuff is just spending time with his kids, which he could do in any number of ways. He likes me, and doesn’t seem to mind sharing his “man cave” with my giant computer. However, I think he finds my online habits a bit strange. “She’s a (raises eyebrows and gives a little pause) Gamer.

He spends tons of time playing games, but I agree with him. He’s not a gamer.

He’s not a gamer and that’s OK. He plays Call of Duty not because it’s the only game he has, but it’s what he got for Christmas… and it’s the disk that’s already in the machine. After work, he plops down in bed, picks up the controller and presses, “start.” He knows other people who play the same game, but doesn’t attempt to team up with them. He plays a bunch, but never schedules time to do so. He doesn’t talk about games unless he is showing me one of the new ones he bought. As far as those go, he has no idea that he is supporting indie game makers. He just figured companies with big studios make all games.

My brother-in-law is interested in art and music. He’s a good-looking guy who likes to paint or sculpt or create images to put on t-shirts.  He hangs out with people who have similar interests. He thinks it’s cool that I meet up with folks from time to time that I have met in game. It’s super cool that I went to Australia to see a few members of my guild, and that someone would let a “stranger” into their house.

He doesn’t read articles about games beyond what little blurbs might be listed in GQ. He never listens to podcasts…much less one on games… much less a weekly one on a specific game.

And he sure as hell doesn’t write about them.

My brother-in-law probably spends the same amount of time gaming as I do. But he’s not a gamer. That’s not how he identifies himself. He’s not part of that community. I guess at the end of the day, that is what separates those who play games from gamers: Identity

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