I’m an idiot. And so are you!
There’s an old proverb: “No matter how much you learn, SOMEONE will think you are an idiot.” I’m just kidding, I made that proverb up just in this very moment, but I’m hoping that if I become famous and have adoring fangirls, there will be a hi-def black-and-white picture of my handsome face with this text in Papyrus font displayed next to it in a meaningful manner. But, quote-worthy epiphanies aside, it’s true! You can be the most well-read person in the galaxy, knowing Chaucer to Shakespeare to Stephanie Meyer to the entirety of Wikipedia’s series on parasitic fungi, but then someone asks you, “Hey, man, did you see that hilarious ‘Annoying Facebook Girl’ meme? Lol, LMS!” And you have no idea what they’re talking about. And then they say, “Oh, sorry, next time I’m over we’ll have to visit that ROCK YOU WERE BORN UNDER. ARTARD.” (These events are based on a possibly [partially] true story that does not involve a sports team overcoming adversity to win a championship or whatever).
Joking aside, the same principle can be applied to video gaming. I consider myself to be a gamer. I consider myself to be relatively knowledgeable about the majority of important games, both past and present (and future: Guild Wars 2, anyone?). However, there is a huge amount of knowledge about video games I just don’t have, because there aren’t enough hours in the day to really get your head wrapped around all the games coming out nowadays. And boy, when I don’t have it, it shows. A new friend came over recently, asking if I’d played Borderlands. In the dark, hopeless abyss that is college, I had missed it, and had never even played it. Not the biggest shooter afficionado, I chalked it up to the fact that, although I’m pretty well-versed in shooters, I was probably working my way through something else at the time.
Then he asked if I’d played CoD: Black Ops. I hadn’t touched that one, either. I heard about the zombies, and not too much else. I can joke with my friends about the game because I’d managed to pick up some expertise through hearsay and internet surfing. But you put a virtual gun in my hands, and I die like a chump. I seriously embarrassed myself in the most brain-being-devoured-ly way. It was awful at best. I have a screencap of my Game Over screen, but I don’t want to post it out of shame.
After some self-examination and expensive therapy, I’ve come to a conclusion about this traumatic zombie-murder experience: the label “gamer” is a lot wider than most people assume. Now, in the constantly derailing locomotive that is my train of thought, this is a very logical conclusion. If you think about the absurdly high number of games out there, we can’t play them all. We tend to trend towards certain genres. Of course, there are games that EVERY gamer should play, regardless of genre: Minecraft, Halo, Mario, Contra, Zelda. But you can call yourself a gamer with confidence even if you don’t play CoD or Battlefield, if you never touched Unreal Tournament or think that the term “Fallout” is most often used when talking about World War II and Chernobyl.
Some people will probably think you’re an idiot. And there’s only two ways to deal with that: be a self-confident, mature human being, or try to figure out which games they haven’t played and belittle them for it. I think the gamer within you knows which one to choose.
P.S. I beat Mass Effect 3. What the heck is up with that ending? #betterlatethannever