I was at a game convention this last weekend, playing hours and hours of board games with friends who "loosely" satisfy the term, gamer; nonetheless, do attend conventions and do play a great deal of games.
In fact, an interesting discussion arose (however brief) regarding the term and what makes someone a gamer vs. someone who games.
For instance, it is possible to drive a car without being a driver, build a shed without being a carpenter, and serve the common good without being a martyr. Definitions are not labels and vice versa, but we often use nouns and adjectives to identify ourselves to a) establish common ground, b) extricate the frauds, c) save time.
The term gamer is used at conventions, shops, small-talk with associates, and any (anti-)social gathering designed to make banter seem more important than it is. It's a helpful tool, but not really a quality gauge of the "hobbyist."
Let me explain further.
There is a huge class of gamer who enjoys ren faire, living city games, monty python quotes, princess bride trivia, bards, puns, referring to their dice bag as a furry sack, and anything star trek/buffy/bab 5. They think arguments about kirk and piccard are important and often repeat a bad joke several times because they assume the lack of laughter in the room means no one heard it the first four times. They consider themselves above anime and anthropomorphic fans, spend copious amounts of money on kilts, volunteer their opinions when they hear you talking about something nearby, make jokes about CHA 19, mix Italian and English renaissance at will, have no knowledge of Sir Francis Bacon, and detest manners.
This is the stereotype that gets mocked on television. It's the stereotype that exists whether you like it or not. And it's the stereotype that continues to foment it's own bad behavior by rallying in tight circles at RPGA and IFGS events, and your local game store's Saturday night open game tourneys.
They are a puzzle to me and I have spent years avoiding them.
If you are among this group, do not take it personally that I will never game with you. Don't think for a second I look down my nose at you. Don't get yourself going into a self-esteem shame spiral on account of my words. Chances are if you're reading this, you're not among this "group." And if you are, you think I'm talking about someone else, anyway.
I don't expect this trend of gaming to go away. In fact, because gamers as a whole are so accepting (after all, we need people to play with/humiliate in our game sessions), this group of aspergers sufferers is only going to get larger.
So what's the point of all this and when are you going to post about DnD again?
The point is that I don't really satisfy many definitions of gamer. I don't watch television, I don't like sci-fi, I don't read R.A. Salvatore, I don't care about the borg or the klingons, I don't own more game books than clothes, I don't own any foam weapon, I don't eat a bag of doritos inbetween combat sessions, I don't make Str 18, Wis 3, Cha 3 fighters named Brak, and I don't complain about how the Bard: Swashbuckler I kit in the 2nd edition of FR: Harpers isn't as good as the Rogue: Swashbuckler III kit in Ruins of Zhentil Keep: The Semi-Lost Levels.
I don't even own a dice bag.
I love games. I love stories. I love designing. I love the hobby. I love world-building. I love hanging out with artists at GenCon. I love arguing game theory and movies with Ken Hite (who knows too much about everything... so secretly I hate him). I love the fact that Chris Pramas and I have been friends for nearly 10 years and we've never gamed together, let alone discussed our characters.
And despite this rant, I love about 50% of the people I game with. I really do enjoy the company of some of these misfits. Wayne, Chris, Farrell, John, Rob, Aaron. If you're reading, this means you. But, I've got to tell you, there's one thing I don't have any patience for:
[See next post.]