On “Gitting Gud”

Popular social theory among young game enthusiasts is that you have two camps of gamers: Casuals, and real gamers. this dichotomy separates the Angry Bird player from the dota 2 player, the Nintendo fan from the PC master race. It creates a hierarchy of fans, where those who beat Fallout 4 on survival have opinions which are “worth more” in the community, and those who dare to not make their experience some masochist joyride are considered second class citizens.

And it’s all bullshit. All of it.

I am one of those “hardcore” players, who always crank it up to the hardest setting. I play roguelikes, which prominently feature permanent death. I play dwarf fortress. I get mad when the hardest difficulty isn’t open from the start of a game. My wife and closest friends are the polar opposite: permanent death is a terrifying thing and they all think I am crazy…They play games where they are a save away from getting back on their feet, and they are fine with a fun power trip through Skyrim or a comfy science victory against easy bots in civ. All of us are gamers, and all of us are enjoying our experiences. while I get entertained and have fun with these hard settings and downright grueling experiences. My friends and wife do not.

We play games for fun and entertainment.

That is the reason that this idea of “casual” vs “real gamers” needs to die. If someone has fun with a game, then they are doing it right. Judging someone for playing on easy, or turning off permanent death is doing nothing but projecting your own pathetic little ego onto them. Unlike these judgmental asshats, they do not need validation through games. They have different needs and different tastes.

Case in point: My 5 year old. My 5 year old LOVES games. He gets excited, he uses every minute of screen time to play them. He does extra chores to get more time. He is a passionate fan and will play anything you let him, but he has his favorites too; Shovel Knight, yokai Watch, and Mario Party 10. for a 5 year old, Shovel knight is a super hard game- it’s hard even for adults! Meanwhile, Mario party 10 is a super “casual” game- it’s mostly luck based, it’s cute, and there’s little challenge to be had.

Yet, he loves all of these games. It’s not about the difficulty of the game. He doesn’t care to wear some chip on his shoulder so he can act better than anyone; he’s just there for the fun and challenge he gets.

I hope that we can all be like my son. I hope we can stop attacking others who share our hobbies for playing them a different way, and just be excited and joyed to play!