26 votes

Are you open about your gaming?

The title question is more of an umbrella one, and I want to state from the get go that I am asking these questions non-judgmentally. I want this to be a space where people can feel safe to respond honestly.

I’ll also qualify that I’m not asking these impartially, as part of my reason for making this thread stems from some identified frictions in my own life that I’ve been mulling over. I don’t want to prime anyone’s answers, however, so instead I’ll just lay out what I’m interested in hearing about:

  • Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?
  • Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?
  • Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?
  • Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

18 comments

  1. stu2b50
    Link
    In general, yes. I feel like to the general population of people under the age of 40 or so, playing video games is hardly some scarlet letter. It's about as surprising as someone telling you that...

    In general, yes. I feel like to the general population of people under the age of 40 or so, playing video games is hardly some scarlet letter. It's about as surprising as someone telling you that they like to watch movies. This makes sense; the video gaming industry today is 4x larger than the movie industry, and that money isn't coming out of nowhere.

    • Definitely not; it's not like I profess my love for video games with every word, but it's in my generic icebreaker list of interests certainly

    • Yes, albeit from my HS days I am pretty casual now

    • Nope. Even for something like DnD, the other kind of gaming, it feels in hipster vogue like rock climbing now.

    • Not particularly. Just generally being someone who plays video games isn't much of an identity at this point. It's like identifying as a movie watcher. Of course, there are "cinema snobs" (with snobs being endearing here), and the same in video games, but I do not identify that hard with that group. And of course there are the weirdos on /r/tlou2 (which is somehow /r/thedonald2) - certainly am not part of that.

    11 votes
  2. joplin
    Link
    Not as an adult. (For reference: I was alive when Pong was released.) When I was a kid, I played video games avidly at the arcade as well as at home on consoles and our home computers. It drove my...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    Not as an adult. (For reference: I was alive when Pong was released.) When I was a kid, I played video games avidly at the arcade as well as at home on consoles and our home computers. It drove my family nuts. To me, it was just a cool way to spend time. I was interested in graphics, and sound, etc. But it ended up becoming a thing for my parents and grandparents. I don't recall any actual bad outcomes related to my playing video games, but it just really irritated my parents for some reason. I remember one year my grandmother sent me $5.00 in a birthday card. I spent it all at the arcade. I never heard the end of it. For years after that, if my grandmother gave me money, she'd always do so with the caveat that I "don't spend it on video games." When she died I inherited a small amount of money. I put it all into my computer-graphics-related business because of how much she harassed me about my video game playing. (And I should say, I don't really think I played video games that much. Compared to today's youth, I hardly played them at all.)

    Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you
    play, or the importance you ascribe to them?

    I believe so.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    People in my peer group and younger don't, but I still wonder what my parents would think if I were still speaking to them.

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    No, for a few reasons.

    1. I'm not that good at gaming despite having played a lot of them over my life.
    2. I tend to like games that aren't popular. In particular, I really like adventure games.
    3. I don't want to be associated with the toxic gamergate aspects of gaming, and I don't fit into any of the niches I know of (like gaymers, or RPGers, or game-specific groups like people who play Fortnite, or whatever). I don't tend to play multiplayer games beyond the occasional 2-player scenario with friends
    10 votes
  3. MimicSquid
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't hide the fact that gaming (video games, board games, tabletop games, etc) is one of my major hobbies. I try to not talk about it nearly as much as I'd like, since most of the people in my...
    • I don't hide the fact that gaming (video games, board games, tabletop games, etc) is one of my major hobbies. I try to not talk about it nearly as much as I'd like, since most of the people in my life aren't passionate about games, the gaming industry, game development, etc, and I know I could talk about it for far too long.
    • Yes, absolutely. System optimization is a major part of what I enjoy about games, and I extend that passion to my work in business administration. I'm open about my work and play both being outcroppings of that core desire to organize and improve.
    • I'm not a "gamer", to the degree that refers to a particular subculture. I don't feel like I'm judged for my choice of hobbies.
    • I definitely identify myself as part of a broader gaming culture, to the degree that I think about/discuss/consume secondary media about games for a good chunk of my recreation time. "Gamer" as a title has been for someone else to claim since GamerGate was a thing.

    Edit: cleaned up now-irrelevant aside.

    8 votes
  4. Omnicrola
    Link
    No I've never really felt that I've needed to hide it. In high school in the 90s I once needed to bring my PC in to do a presentation for class. My wallpaper at the time was Kerrigan, Queen of...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    No I've never really felt that I've needed to hide it. In high school in the 90s I once needed to bring my PC in to do a presentation for class. My wallpaper at the time was Kerrigan, Queen of Blades and I didn't think twice about putting it up onto a projector.

    As an adult, gaming is a prominent part of my life. I will usually work a mention of it into any conversation, though I'll only keep talking about it if the other person seems interested. Same as talking about movies or sports. People who are actively antagonistic I will usually quit talking to.

    Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?

    Certainly. I spent years running several LAN centers in Arizona, I have no qualms about sharing how much time I play games and then giving an in-depth explanation about the benefits and risks of different games as well as the influences games have had on popular culture, the economic impact, and the ethics of different games that include microtransactions.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    I'm sure there have been people. However given my general path through life, those people are likely to have been either random idiots, or the minority in the group they happen to be standing in.

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    I think that "gamers" (meaning, "people who enjoy playing video games") is such a broad and diverse category now that it would be as descriptive or useful as saying I'm a part of "American culture". There are parts of the culture the apply to me and other parts that do not. There are aspects I like and dislike. There are games I like and dislike.

    7 votes
  5. herson
    Link
    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others? Not necessarily, but talking about games is not something I do often with my friends, I only play single player games and because of that...
    1. Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?
      Not necessarily, but talking about games is not something I do often with my friends, I only play single player games and because of that I don't need to befriend a lot of gamer friends.

    2. Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?
      I don't play as much as before, so there's no reason to be ashamed of gaming too much, also I have never been asked IRL how much time I play.

    3. Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?
      Some people may see it as childish and in some context that makes sense, but at least the people whose opinion I care about don't see it as a bad thing.

    4. Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?
      There's a lot of bad things in the gaming community such as homophobia and misogyny, so the further away I can put myself from those echo chambers, the better.

    6 votes
  6. Gaywallet
    Link
    I do not hide the fact that I play games at all. Anyone who would judge me for this is not worth my time. Yes, I don't spend as much time playing them as I used to, but I never hid how much of a...
    • I do not hide the fact that I play games at all. Anyone who would judge me for this is not worth my time.
    • Yes, I don't spend as much time playing them as I used to, but I never hid how much of a part of my life it used to be. Nowadays, it's still there, but it's not as prominent.
    • Maybe, but people judge me for all sorts of shit, like the fact that I'm trans. Life is too short to pay any attention to this.
    • I guess? Gaming culture can be wonderful and it can also be toxic. I'd say its broad enough that both coexist and many subcultures exist within gaming.
    5 votes
  7. cardigan
    Link
    Absolutely. It's not something that I morally object to, as I tolerate it in others, but it does get in the way of the consistent, manufactured self-image I go to great pains to project. Yet it...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    Absolutely. It's not something that I morally object to, as I tolerate it in others, but it does get in the way of the consistent, manufactured self-image I go to great pains to project. Yet it happens in bursts. It's not rare for me to go a year or more without touching a game, but when I am working on one, I will play most days for 10 to 12-hour stretches. I'm like that with everything that I do, but there are activities of mine which are much more socially glamorous than minmaxing every character in a JRPG. As it doesn't even occur to me to try to moderate the time I spend playing them, I curb the habit in other ways. I started picking up Japanese in my sophomore year of college, since I almost exclusively play JRPGs, and swore off translations altogether, even when I was far too unequipped to understand the dialogue. I did this both to deter and encourage myself, to try and turn something merely neurotic into something productively neurotic. Dangerous veers toward asceticism are a fundamental part of my personality. If I'm enjoying something, something must be wrong. Now I can mostly play what I want, which is no compliment to me, given that the plots of most these games are virtually identical, with the specific details passed through a Mad Libs playbook.

    Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?

    If someone finds out that I do play games, I don't feel the need to lie to them about how much I play, or how much particular ones have impacted me. But I try not to let it get to that point. In public, I'll feign ignorance about games and technology entirely until my niche is broached in a way that's too good to pass up, and I see an opportunity for real connection -- say, someone mentioning a minor detail about Persona 3 that resonated with me.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    I don't fear their judgment: what I'm afraid of is that it will be just one more alienating aspect of my personality, and that it will help confirm my deep-seated fear that people do not and cannot ever relate to me. Being condemned or deemed uncool by people doesn't bother me. What does is not the idea that they view me as an uncool person, but that they view me as something more like an alien, or a creature who could never understand them. Because when you find out that someone plays Fortnite, you at least have a cultural reference point. For most people, the Famicom on my desk would not be one, and contribute to a picture they have of me as a "weird person," which is to say, not a person at all.

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    No. Partially because I don't keep tabs with what's popular, and partially because I find defining yourself in terms of the things you like to be reprehensible, and a stand-in for having a self. But there's a tension here, because though I can look inwardly and recognize that I think for myself, and that I am different from those around me, desperately seizing at a perceived common interest is one of my only means of relating to people.

    5 votes
  8. streblo
    Link
    Echoing others here, not particularly. I feel like gaming is more mainstream than most other hobbies at this point. I'm not really forthcoming about anything, but I won't hide it from anyone...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    Echoing others here, not particularly. I feel like gaming is more mainstream than most other hobbies at this point.

    Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?

    I'm not really forthcoming about anything, but I won't hide it from anyone either. I generally don't bring up gaming unless someone else does -- mostly because there's such a huge range of games and such that discussing them isn't really productive unless you have similar tastes.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    No.

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    No. Mostly because I find a lot of nerd culture extremely grating and because I don't want to be associated with "capital G" gamers.

    5 votes
  9. tempestoftruth
    (edited )
    Link
    Ingrained in my feelings about games is a sense that socially, games aren't important or a worthy topic of discussion. I do sometimes hide that I game from people, or feel self-conscious bringing...

    Ingrained in my feelings about games is a sense that socially, games aren't important or a worthy topic of discussion. I do sometimes hide that I game from people, or feel self-conscious bringing them up in conversation. Depending on who's around, I may also avoid cultural critique of games, since there are people who don't evaluate games as art, or see them only as entertainment (not that art and entertainment are distinct). I try not to get worked up about this gatekeeping (since they're the ones losing out on the possibilities that come with games), but sometimes the perception people have of games as infantile can pass on to their perception of you personally, making it harder to ignore. Of course, this isn't the case with all games or with all people. Had I been playing Call of Duty as opposed to FTL that one time, perhaps that person wouldn't have treated me differently; yet I've also met people who saw me playing FTL and were genuinely interested in the game as an object worthy of their attention. I guess if someone called me a "gamer" I wouldn't mind it (edit: in a non-Gamergate sense), though I find the label rather silly. I don't feel a particular sense of community with everyone who reads became I'm a "reader".

    4 votes
  10. omicron-b
    (edited )
    Link
    I don't put it into my list of hobbies on resume (because there are different types of games, and different types of people reading my resume), but otherwise no, I don't hide it. Yes, but it's...
    • I don't put it into my list of hobbies on resume (because there are different types of games, and different types of people reading my resume), but otherwise no, I don't hide it.
    • Yes, but it's very rare to talk about games with non-gamers for me.
    • Yes, partly because I myself look down on mobile games and MMOs, and I understand that some people consider all games an addiction or an escape from reality, because they are just not familiar with good games.
    • Yes and no. I only game on Linux, I only play singleplayer games (I like to enjoy a story or a gameplay with no distractions), and I never buy games on release for a full price, so this leaves me a few options to engage with a community, but I still feel myself part of a culture, because I enjoy learning PC gaming history, I play PC classics and there are some favourites there for me.
    4 votes
  11. Thrabalen
    Link
    I absolutely do not hide my gaming. I streamed on Twitch for three years, under the name Thrabalen. To this day, I refer to myself on Twitter as "Thrabalen Gaming." I don't bring up the subject...
    • I absolutely do not hide my gaming. I streamed on Twitch for three years, under the name Thrabalen. To this day, I refer to myself on Twitter as "Thrabalen Gaming."
    • I don't bring up the subject (for the same reason as I wouldn't bring up any hobby... hobbies are generally only of interest to people who practice the same hobby, and I don't want to bore people), but if we're on the subject, hell yes I'm honest. I've been a gamer since the 80s, and gaming is my prime hobby. I play games (video and tabletop) the way some people follow sports.
    • Some people absolutely look down on gaming, and thus me. I just don't care. If I can survive the Jack Thompsons of the world, the rest doesn't matter.
    • I am a gamer. I've been a gamer since before the Internet was as big a thing as it was. I've been a gamer since the first time I played Frogger in the back arcade room of a corner grocery store. I suffered through Pac-Man and ET for the 2600, I suffered through the Arcade Crash, I suffered through loading games into high memory for 640K of RAM, I suffered through the first year of G4 before it was G4TV. I suffered through tabletop's "Satanic panic" of the 80s. I suffered through the CCG days of companies falling by the wayside as MTG consumed players. What I'm saying is, I put in my time in the trenches, so I absolutely wear my "gamer" status as a badge. Inasmuch as a gamer is something you can be, I am a Gamer, and I always will be.
    4 votes
  12. mrbig
    Link
    Oh yeah. If anyone think less of me because of that, I don't give a shit. That's not the kind of people I wanna be around anyway. I guess I did not get this adulthood memo.

    Oh yeah. If anyone think less of me because of that, I don't give a shit. That's not the kind of people I wanna be around anyway. I guess I did not get this adulthood memo.

    4 votes
  13. [2]
    knocklessmonster
    Link
    Yes and no. I don't know how to explain my dislike of AAA titles, my interest in retro games, and preference towards modern indie titles in a way that doesn't make me come off as a ragey hipster,...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    Yes and no. I don't know how to explain my dislike of AAA titles, my interest in retro games, and preference towards modern indie titles in a way that doesn't make me come off as a ragey hipster, when it's really just a preference. I don't like how major studios operate, pricing mechanics, or the gameplay, and these are simply issues of my preferences, but explaining them makes it feel like I'm asserting these as some sort of universal truth. There's also a larger context of me missing games that came out when I couldn't afford them as a kid, which is the major reason I play retro games. I also generally try to avoid talking about the games I like to play because for me it's usually a difficult way to connect with others. I didn't get attached to a lot of major series that still run today because of an inability to buy into them back in the day.

    Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?

    Yes, as well as just the amount of time I spend in front of screens generally. I think it's great, except for the only drawbacks that are really personal, like a lack of exercise and whatnot.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    I'm wary of being a "casual" gamer, but that's more of my own insecurities clashing with a former reach for an identity a lifetime ago.

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    I think of myself as peripheral. I watch people play games, I play games, I enjoy games. I don't identify as a "gamer." A lot of it is to do with a larger issue I have with identity in this context, but I also don't identify as anything else I enjoy: a cyclist, yoyoer, guitarist, musician, whatever.

    When I was still attached to the title, it was uncomfortable. Every "gamer" I knew either all played the same games the same way (which ruined online gaming for me) or were hard for me to relate to, due to our different exposures. I also simply take issue with the "gamer" identity. "Gaming culture" much like what we refer to as "nerd culture" has gone mainstream to the point it is simply "culture," and doesn't really exist as an in-group anymore, except by people who self-describe as it in an effort to retain their previous identity. This is usually done via some form of gatekeeping, and only serves to reinforce stereotypes surrounding these hobbies.

    4 votes
    1. Akir
      Link Parent
      Are you me? I suspect a lot of the reason for this effect is that we don't have enough perspective or vocabulary to describe why we have our tastes. Right now, for instance, if you were to ask me...

      I don't know how to explain my dislike of AAA titles, my interest in retro games, and preference towards modern indie titles in a way that doesn't make me come off as a ragey hipster, when it's really just a preference.

      Are you me?

      I suspect a lot of the reason for this effect is that we don't have enough perspective or vocabulary to describe why we have our tastes. Right now, for instance, if you were to ask me what I thought about AAA games, I would probably say that I don't like most of them because they have a lack of genuine personality to them. And when the developers try to inject some personality into them it tends to come off as disingenuous (like the "hackers" in Watchdogs 2). But the reality is that games are extremely complex works of art and therefore so are my reasons for liking or disliking any given game, so the explanation I have just given is only a small fragment of what I actually think.

      I honestly wish that retro gaming was bigger than it is today, because quite frankly there is a wealth of amazing, interesting games that everyone missed. Not only was it impossible to play all of the bigger releases, but there were smaller releases you'd not have heard much about, if at all, as well as foreign games that were simply never released in your country. I have found so many interesting, unique, and fun games from exploring things that have never come out where I live.

      3 votes
  14. nothis
    Link
    I distinguish between videogames as a medium/interest/activity and "gamer culture" which has become some different beast entirely. I am deeply embarrassed for "gamers" in the /v/ sense of things...

    I distinguish between videogames as a medium/interest/activity and "gamer culture" which has become some different beast entirely. I am deeply embarrassed for "gamers" in the /v/ sense of things and their bizarre anti-social culture of edginess (which, oddly enough, has been successfully absorbed by weird alt-righty political movements). I do worry of ever being associated with the latter.

    That being said, I'm incredibly lucky to have found people to share my interest in gaming with on an entirely non-edgy level. I just played through Overcooked 2 with my girlfriend on valentine's day, for example, and it was pretty great. I like talking about more obscure indie-ish games as well as big event type games with friends, it's no different than talking about some movie or book. I'm also playing more games than ever before, mostly thanks to the Switch. It's a great time for videogames.

    I think the negative stereotypes of gamers come from socially awkward people avoiding confronting their issues while distracting themselves playing videogames. I don't think videogames existing has much of an impact on the underlying problem, with is mostly a personality trait, but there's some truth to the stereotype. It used to be that it worried me when this was not reported correctly in the news and videogames were presented as a cause of social awkwardness. Nowadays, however, the opposite is happening, which is kinda baffling: Gamers still don't acknowledge the underlying problem (social withdrawal) but almost see gaming as... the cure? Like some kind of "gamer pride" situation where gamers unite to counter-attack any criticism of gaming and form this giant community of assholes. It's the worst of both worlds. It's this hyper-anonymized, text-driven movement that's basically loner anarchism and – like all anarchism – immediately gets co-opted by bad actors. The result is gamers-rise-up type cringe, Gamergate and unhinged hate-campaigns towards individuals who might have said or done something vaguely "anti-gaming". It's social withdrawal with an attitude. Nothing good can come out of that and it deserves all the scorn it gets.

    4 votes
  15. loto
    Link
    No, but I wouldn't usually go out of my way to bring it up, so maybe that qualifies (i.e. listing other hobbies first to seem more "normal"?) - but I'm definitely not shy about it to folks who...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    No, but I wouldn't usually go out of my way to bring it up, so maybe that qualifies (i.e. listing other hobbies first to seem more "normal"?) - but I'm definitely not shy about it to folks who already know I play games or I already know play games as well.

    Are you honest with others about the amount of time you spend playing games, the types of games you play, or the importance you ascribe to them?

    Yes, yes, and yes! I've spend a pretty significant amount of time talking up the games I've played to family/friends over the years, and gotten a few people interested and playing them that I think otherwise would have written them off - for example, my mom originally thought most games were like call of duty/gta/arcade games because that's what she saw people playing, but gave portal a shot after hearing me rave about how much I enjoyed & realized there's whole genres she didn't know about before, which tipped me off that there's probably a lot of people who'd enjoy stuff like puzzles or graphical adventure games that may not know they exist given a lot of mainstream games are more action-oriented/violent which may turn people off. So, I suppose I'll be honest about how important & interesting I find games I play in the hopes that other people will find them interesting as well.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    Probably, but I find that the more people find out about the different kinds of games out there the less this happens - my family used to say stuff like "you've been playing too many games, read a book!" but then a bit after Doom Eternal came out I heard "You've been played too much Doom, change it up every once in a while!" which I thought was a nice change :)

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    Eh, I identify with my friends/family who play games, but I'm not sure if that's a representation of broader gaming culture, but I don't really have a sense of what the broader gaming culture is like beyond "this game was/is/isn't popular" or "this developer is/was/isn't popular" which is a mixed bag - I'm not hugely into multiplayer/competitive games which I think(?) are a huge part of gaming culture, but I'd definitely identify with folks who are more into single player stuff - whether its narrative driven, linear, more open ended or some combination thereof.

    3 votes
  16. usr4746
    Link
    No, because almost all of my friends and most people at school are gamers. And those who aren't gamers don't really care. Yes. No, they either like it or don't care. I'm part of and quite active...
    1. No, because almost all of my friends and most people at school are gamers. And those who aren't gamers don't really care.

    2. Yes.

    3. No, they either like it or don't care.

    4. I'm part of and quite active in some gaming communities but not all of them. I don't like AAA games so that cuts out a decent bit, I discuss retro and indie games a lot however.

    3 votes
  17. eladnarra
    Link
    Not particularly? For example, I've mentioned it in work meetings when we're briefly chatting about our week or plans. I consider it like any other hobby. Nah. While my parents don't "get" it,...

    Do you feel that you need to hide your gaming from others?

    Not particularly? For example, I've mentioned it in work meetings when we're briefly chatting about our week or plans. I consider it like any other hobby.

    Do you feel that people judge your gaming habits or status as a gamer negatively?

    Nah. While my parents don't "get" it, they don't judge it as a bad thing. And most of my friends play at least one video game somewhat regularly.

    Do you identify yourself as being a part of a broader gaming culture?

    Nope! It's one of my main hobbies but: 1) I'm not very "good" at them, 2) I didn't play them as a kid, 3) I'm a "casual" player, 4) I'm not a guy. I just don't feel like dealing with the grief I'd get from random people on the internet if I said I was "a gamer."

    2 votes