The Enthusiast Gamer

As part of the application process for Rock Paper Shotgun (which I didn’t end up applying for), you had to write a 500-word piece on a gaming topic. What follows is what I wrote, sort of a follow-up to The On-Again, Off-Again Gamer post I wrote about two weeks ago. Enjoy!

Enthusiast gamers are a peculiar bunch. Shunned from society for owning and regularly using all the major game platforms, enthusiast gamers possess every console platform if only to play the largest variety of games possible.  Enthusiast gamers prefer PC; some say the keyboard and mouse combo feels more natural, others still channel Steve Jobs and say “it just works”.

Enthusiast gamers — not to be confused with euthanasiast gamers —  are currently an endangered species. Their highly coveted skills in all forms of video games are desired by many a casual gamer, but what separates an enthusiast gamer from the rest of their gaming brethren is the fact that they innately understand games. They understand how the graphics of any game are supposed to complement and add to the overall gameplay, and they understand how the game mechanics in good games make the game balanced for all players. Above all, enthusiast gamers enjoy games in a way that sets them apart from others who also game.

Enthusiast gamers can usually be found holed up in the corner of your nearest LAN gathering, or doing the odd job here and there; most enthusiast gamers are familiar with many technical aspects of computers, and that comes in handy when new games have to be purchased. New games don’t grow on trees, you know. Enthusiast gamers are usually aged between 17 an 28; old enough to play and really enjoy games, mature enough not to care about real world things like full time jobs or other meagre things. Indeed, the amount of time spent refining twitch reflexes in a first-person shooter or levelling their chaos blood mage in the latest massively multiplayer online role playing game means that enthusiast gamers really don’t have time for such things.

Enthusiast gamers are strongly opinionated. If prompted, they won’t hesitate to speak about games they’re currently playing, but be warned — some enthusiast gamers take such opportunities too far and launch into epic tirades on the state of the gaming industry today, occasionally slipping into “bitter old man” mode and lamenting how game development studios don’t cater to their niche; indeed, it is for this very reason that game developers see enthusiast gamers as the loyal manservant — they’ll happily buy whatever the game development studios are selling, but might post a ranty blog post about it later. However, most enthusiast gamers are kind, gentle folk, provided you don’t knife them in the back in Bad Company 2.

Enthusiast gamers don’t necessarily live and breathe games, but when they’re not playing games, they’re reading about games, and when they’re not reading about games, they’re thinking about how they would improve existing games, or even dreaming up new and exciting games. Enthusiast gamers read gaming literature from a variety of sources, and aren’t particularly swayed by any opinion — if a game receives bad reviews, enthusiast gamers usually play the game and decide for themselves rather than letting someone else tell them what any given game is like.

Gamerscore: somewhere in the vicinity of 55,000

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