A few weeks ago I was at my local GameStop reserving a game. I was talking to the clerk about a great game that I had just finished when a fellow customer walked in during our conversation. After overhearing what we had to say the patron chimed in, saying that he to liked the game we were discussing, Darksiders, and had just beaten it on the hardest difficulty possible.
He then asked what difficulty i played the game on. I quickly explained that I had played it on easy because it gave me a challenge without going overboard on difficulty. After hearing this, the customer scoffed and told me that “you’re not a gamer.”
Soon, after a short debate, I left the GamStop with one question on my mind: “Does playing a game on easy really make you less of a gamer?”
To answer that question, an acceptable definition of a gamer must be established. Many will claim that to be a gamer you have to spend all your free time playing games, Some argue that you have to beat the games you play, while others only label those at the top of multiplayer leaderboards as gamers. And, while all of those are great examples of gamers, I view those as “types” of gamers, not really the definition of what a gamer is.
I believe the definition is far simpler; a gamer is someone that enjoys playing games. Age and skill shouldn’t be factors nor the genre you enjoy. Someone who loves playing “casual” or easier games, like Kirby, Angry Birds, or just about anything from PopCap is no less of a gamer then someone who holds Battlefield marathons or plays The Elder Scrolls for hundreds of hours on end. They are simply different types of gamers.
This may be too broad for some people but I ask you this question: “Why do you play games?” Its not because you make money doing it, its not because you have to, or because your friends do. You and most other people play them because you enjoy them and are able to draw entertainment, enlightenment, and joy from them.
The fact of the matter is not everyone is good at games and not everyone has all day to play them. However, many of those same people love playing video games. It’s simply a part of them.
All gamers aren’t created equal making it necessary for game developers to include multiple difficulty settings in their games. These different options are implemented because the skill variance among gamers is very wide and they want the most people possible to be able to complete the story they paid for and took the time to indulge in.
Rarely does playing on a harder difficulty nab you any longer of a story than an easier play through. It’s there to give certain gamers more of a challenge. A person that completes a game on easy experiences the same game and story as a person who played it on hard, far more-so then if either of them adjusted to the other person’s preferred difficulty level.
The important thing is that they both enjoyed the experience.
I have been playing games for a plethora of years and never really questioned my credibility as a “gamer” until recently. And, after giving it some thought, I’ve dismissed the comment of the angry GameStop customer all together and come to an important realization: I play a lot of games on variable difficulty settings, sometimes I beat them and sometimes I don’t, but one thing stays consistent.
At the end of the day, when I pick up the controller, I have fun playing those games. And that is what makes me a gamer.
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