Gamers obviously have at least one thing in common: Games. That’s what makes us “gamers” after all. You could argue that you can play games, and not be a gamer, and I would agree with you. So that makes it two things in common. Games, and self-identifying as a gamer. Part of what makes it such an interesting group to be a part of is that there aren't any rules about who can join, beyond liking games. What kind of games? That shouldn't matter. Even if you’re just addicted to candy crush, I’ll still grasp your forearm in a manly Viking handshake and call you brother (or sister!), and hope that one day you'll join me in a game where I don't have to send you lives.
Without varied opinions and interests, life starts to get pretty bland.
Does this make me wrong? Maybe. I like to think it makes me someone who cares about letting people be a part of something I love on their own terms. I wouldn't want to be a part of any club that excludes people just because they don’t like your specific flavor of ice-cream, but I also wouldn't want to only ever meet people who were exactly like me. Without varied opinions and interests, life starts to get pretty bland. That’s part of what is so great about gaming as a community, as a group we can be pretty diverse in outside-of –gaming interests.
Basically what I’m getting at is: Yes you’re a gamer, but what else are you?
Playing games can have such a hugely varying effect on a person’s life. For me, gaming was a formative part of growing up, and continues to be a part of my adulthood. Others find that they are less attracted to gaming as they grow older, or maybe they just lose touch with whatever gave them joy in the first place. Neither one of these is the “right” way, nor is any part of the infinite spectrum of how people integrate games into their lives. Because that’s exactly the point, Gaming is a part of every gamer’s life. Even if you somehow have the ability and time to game pretty much non-stop, you still are other things besides a “Gamer”.
I know that each and every person I game with has interests I might not even know about that are also a big part of who they are.
It could be that you’re a huge fan of Metal, or Electronica, or a connoisseur of the Folk songs of the Native American Papago tribe. Maybe you like to build Gundams. There are literally an infinite number of loves, interests, and skills that are a part of who every person is. At J!NX we have surfboard restorers, choir singers, musicians galore, comic fiends and hip-hop dancers. We’re gamers, but that’s not all any of us are. We’re all other things to other people as well. I’m a son, a brother, a boyfriend, and a friend to a lot of people. I would hope that no one that knows me thinks of me only as a gamer, and I know a lot of people feel the same way.
Maybe we game together; Maybe all we ever seem to do is play games together. Some of my best friendships are maintained by playing games together when we can’t seem to make time in our schedules for anything else, but I know that each and every person I game with has interests I might not even know about that are also a big part of who they are.
So I’ll ask again: What else are you?
Keep up on what's happening at the J!NX Stronghold when we can tear ourselves away from a game long enough to blog about it. Updated Fridays.