Gamer Stereotypes

posted by on 31st May 2007, at 9:51pm

I usually don’t participate in a lot of gaming talk at lunch, but when two guys near me were engaged in a conversation about Runescape and mentioned some false info about the Dragon Slayer quest, I couldn’t help but slide in some of my own thoughts. While one knew I played, the other seemed genuinely surprised that I, a girl for one and sitting at a lunch table with more than two people for another, would play Runescape. That got me wondering, why exactly is it so strange that I might play Runescape? It really isn’t that shocking, but apparently the times have warped peoples’ minds to have a certain set impression on what gamers are like.

Gamers are male.

This is the most overused stereotype that I’ve heard. While it may be true that the more predominant number of gamers are male, that doesn’t mean that every gamer is male either. I for one would know so, as well as the other females in the gaming population. I’ve lost count of how many times people have called me male online, and I’m sure I’m not the only female gamer who has been. However, most of the time I’m still confused referred to me as a “he”, stating clearly that gamers still use the pronoun that indistinctively comes to their mind – one that describes a male. While it’s no longer rare to see females being gamers, it still has not overcome the thought that one should ask what gender someone is before jumping to conclusions.

Gamers have no life.

This is another stereotype that people often incorporate with gamers, especially with those who have never gamed. Too often I hear people talking about how that “one nerdy kid must sit around all day at his computer playing games.” It could be true that that one nerdy kid does game, but it might also be true about many others who would be last on peoples’ lists of who they’d expect to game. I know a bunch of gamers at my school who are not only academically achieving but also involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities. I never hear any words about them being nerdy kids, yet they still game a lot.

A good example of this stereotype is the number one player of Runescape himself: Zezima. According to the exclusive interview with him, he does indeed have a life, as he goes to a university and has a major as well as a minor and is looking into genetics research. He is not, as many people think, a no-lifer who spends every passing second gaining experience on Runescape. People seem to misconceive rank with life, and although it is true for some (example: N0valyfe), it isn’t true for others such as Zezima.

Gamers are around the ages of 10-19.

This stereotype sort of incorporates itself with the no-life one. Younger gamers usually think that people who’re ages 20 and above who play games have no life, therefore gaining a mind-sense that only people around their age are the ones who “should” be gaming. I’ve seen more than once on Runescape that when someone over 20 says their age, people around them go, “Haha why are you still playing this? You should be out having a job and having a life you loser,” or something along the lines of that. Well, simply because older people do game doesn’t mean they game all the time. They might have a job and a life and maybe even kids, but sometimes when they have free time they might want to do something they enjoy, such as gaming. What the younger gamers fail to realize when they have this stereotype is that the people who made the game that they love are most likely over the age of twenty. There are people who might have to game in order to get an income, so clearly it never will be just people in their preteens to teens who will game.

Gamers are geeks who’re computer-smart.

I honestly don’t even know why people think this, because from some people I’ve talked to on games, less than half the gaming population are educated in computers/programming. The younger end of the gaming population are the ones who most likely don’t fit this stereotype, while some of the older people might. I mean, after you walk around a bit in some MMORPG’s and hear talk such as “u suxxors haha u n00b,” one might wonder where this stereotype gets its base from. However, it still exists, because I’ve seen many gamers called computer dorks, even at my school. I’m not saying it isn’t true that some gamers do know their way around a computer (after being around B&B, I’m positive plenty of older gamers do), but there are some who know so little that I doubt it’s safe for them to game at all.


Overall though, one just has to remember that there are some that fit these stereotypes and there are some that don’t. It’s not hard through years of gaming to gain a less open-minded view of gaming, but there’s still many who break the usual gaming stereotypes.

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