What Makes Someone a Gamer?

About a week ago, my friend Kiara posted this on Twitter, and it got me thinking:

 

Like with almost any label someone can apply to themselves (baker, photographer, reader, etc.), there seems to be some set of criteria for calling yourself a gamer, but no one knows what it is. What separates a gamer from a non-gamer? What’s on that mythical list of requirements? Today, I’d like to answer that question and finally put an end to these discussions.

Before I dive into that though, I want to give a shoutout to the wonderful people in the Geeks Under Grace community! I posed this same question in their Facebook group, and while these thoughts in my post are mine alone, discussing this topic with them helped me process some of my own ideas.

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What’s Wrong With Walkthroughs?

Let’s say you’re planning a road trip across the country. You get your maps out (or use the internet) and follow the highways, looking for cities and other places to stop along the way. Before long, you’ve got the whole route planned out, down to every motel or Airbnb you’ll be staying in.

Does this make the trip any less exciting? Most of us would probably say no. Planning ahead is the prudent thing to do – after all, you don’t want to end up in the middle of nowhere with no place to eat or sleep. Having a GPS or map guide you doesn’t make the trip any less of an adventure.

Video game walkthroughs function similarly to a GPS, except instead of telling you which exit to take, they tell you how to defeat those strange new enemies, which block needs to be pushed to solve the puzzle, and where to find any hidden secret. In other words, they’re a map to guide you on your virtual adventure.

Following the road trip logic, using a walkthrough shouldn’t diminish the sense of adventure or excitement in playing the video game. Yet, for some reason, we gamers seem to think it does, and we look down on any one who would dare look up the solution to a puzzle on YouTube. We call them “casuals” and “fake gamers.”

But why? What makes their way of enjoying video games inferior to ours? What’s so wrong with using a walkthrough?

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A Beginner’s Guide to Video Game Acronyms

Acronyms are a daily part of our lives – we say things like “TV,” “ATM,” and “PB&J” in everyday conversation, and nothing is lost in translation. Some acronyms have even become words in their own right, like “scuba.”

There are some acronyms, however, that aren’t very common. For example, if you didn’t follow Maggie’s Musings, you might not know that “WIR” is an acronym for “Week In Review.” A lot of groups, from writers to musicians, have their own systems of acronyms that don’t usually make sense to anyone outside of that group, and nowhere is this truer than in the world of gaming.

Even though I’m a gamer myself, there are some acronyms I didn’t know until recently. One of my friends kept referring to “DPS” during a Pokémon Go raid a while back, and at the time, I felt too embarrassed to ask what that meant. So trust me, you’re not alone if this jargon sounds like a foreign language – you’ll get the hang of it soon!

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Life Lessons Learned From Pokémon

One fateful day many years ago, someone handed me a GameBoy Advance and a copy of Pokémon Sapphire, and my life was never the same.

I suppose you could take that in the literal sense – i.e. I became a huge geek after that, and my chances of ever being able to pretend I was a normal human being were completely shot – but I think there’s something more there too, something less tangible and obvious than discovering a new hobby.

The things that are a part of our childhoods often have a bigger impact on us than we realize, but we tend to brush these things off as being “not mature enough” to have any real significance in our lives. We look back at the hobbies we had and the games we played as children and think, “Yeah, that was fun, but it doesn’t really mean anything now.”

But that’s where we’re wrong, readers.

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Week In Review – December 22

Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope you’ve all had a good week – things have been busy but fun for me lately, so that’s  been really good. Also, my blog hit a pretty big milestone yesterday – it was my 2-year blogiversary! I can’t believe it’s been two years since I started blogging again, but it’s been such a fun journey. If you missed the celebration post, be sure to check it out for some fun surprises! And, while you’re at it, you can read my Monday blog post from this week, The ABCs of The Legend of Zelda.

Other than that, not much has been going on around here. I’ve mostly just been hanging out, running errands, and working on some projects while I’m at home. But if you’d like more details about what I’ve been up to lately, keep reading!

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Why I’m Okay With Good vs. Evil Stories

A Good vs. Evil story is usually pretty straightforward. You have the Good Guys on one side, and the Bad Guys on the other side, and you’re almost always cheering for the Good Guys to win. It’s the type of story you see in children’s fairy tales, but that doesn’t make it childish.

Lately, I’ve noticed people tend to steer clear of these types of stories. The argument is that “Good vs. Evil” is too unrealistic – people and societies really aren’t that clear-cut when it comes to morality. In reality, there’s a lot more ambiguity. That’s how we end up with writing advice about giving our villains redeemable qualities and giving our heroes flaws.

And don’t get me wrong, that’s good advice – you do want to have fully developed characters on both sides of the equation, or it isn’t a very fair story. But in the process of giving this advice, we shun the typical good vs. evil stories, calling them cliche, predictable, overdone, and so on and so forth.

But here’s a secret: I’m actually okay with these kinds of stories.

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Best of September

Today is the first day of October and you know what that means? HALLOWEEN IS COMING.

Well, there’s that and also another edition of “Best Of” (which I’m starting to think is poorly named, but I’ll worry about that another day). Since I’ve been giving you a lot of updates throughout the month about life and college and stuff, I won’t have as much to talk about there, but there are a lot of other things to talk about! So without further ado…

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