In my time, I've seen one prevalent attitude among gamers. We cower a little. We hide our incredible lights under the most baskety of bushels. We seek solace in shady corners of the internet, to discuss games with people like ourselves. We are insecure. We project our insecurities, expecting other people to think we are, at best, “eccentric.” At worst, “a sad sack.”Despite our hobbies being very social things, we equate our interests with an antisocial lifestyle. We make jokes about not “getting a girlfriend” despite most of us having one, and many of us being female or gay. Or both.
We perpetuate a stereotype. We do it. No-one else does. One glance at a google image search and I can find a photo of a gamer:
But this guy isn't a gamer. I've just found someone who fits into our collective perverse idea of what a gamer looks like. This guy is an innocent pawn in our terrible game.
It ends now.
It is time for something that speaks to all gamers, be they board gamers, card gamers, pen and paper RPGamers or video gamers.
GamePride is here.
SO WHAT IS GAMEPRIDE?
Good question, although there's no need to shout.
GamePride is a concept. It's the idea that people who play games should be proud of their hobby orientation. It's the notion that we should let nothing change our interests, and that we should no longer ghettoise ourselves in the pursuit of our pastime.
In practical terms, what does this mean?
It means that each of us commit to taking three vital steps:
1. We no longer self-deprecate as a defence mechanism.
2. We actively promote our interests with pride.
3. If we aren't out, we come out. And we out others.
Now, I understand that point three may cause some debate. Let's imagine you are, for example, the recording artist Usher.
The common belief right now is that it would be bad business for Usher to come out and say that he is a gamer. We would imagine that Usher would not benefit greatly from stopping during one of his R&B ballads to tell the front row that the worker placement in Round 13 of Agricola is very stressful, or that the launch of Battlefield 1943 on Xbox Live Arcade was fraught with bugs and annoyances. But we are wrong. Usher's audience would not care that he enjoys slipping collectable cards into protective sleeves. Indeed, Usher's audience would likely want to assist with the sleeving, while undressed.
Becoming one with the new momentum, in our new reality Usher “comes out” as a gamer, and all is well.
Now, onto the outing of others. It is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the GamePride movement, but it is essential. Some people will have been brainwashed into thinking there is an element of embarassment in admitting what they are. Left to their own devices, these people will never come to the realisation that ourselves and Usher came to. These people will need a push. So, inform on anyone you know to be gamer, and all will be well.
The Role of Celebrity
As crass as it may seem, the realist accepts that celebrities can normalise activities simply by openly participating in them. The knowledge that a known or notable person participates in the same things you hold dear warms the heart. Let's look at a few examples.
On the website BoardGameGeek, it is heartening to see Star Trek:TNG star Wil Wheaton exhibiting his GamePride by openly registering his interest in board games. We know from his profile that even this young man below–
–has wanted to kick the shit out of his friends during a game of Junta.
Another example – the internet hurrah caused by the beautiful Mila Kunis' bold exhibition of her GamePride during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel.
Now, we can pretend that celebrities have no bearing on our lives if we wish. But let's be honest – celebrities have a huge part to play in any movement. They have a voice, and people want to listen. If you or I were to advise someone to try a game of Scotland Yard, we'd maybe have a struggle on our hands. If the lady below–
–suggested that someone sit down with her and take her on in a sealed booster draft game of Magic: The Gathering, she'd probably have no shortage of opponents.
One of our first goals, then, is to encourage gamers who are in positions of celebrity and influence to come out in support of GamePride. We will use all means at our disposal to do this. Ideally, these people will come here and profess their pride. In the comments section below. But any statement of GamePride will do. This will start the ball rolling in a big way.
And we need big balls right now.
It is time to make a stand for GamePride. There is a comments section below that will allow further discussion on the GamePride movement, and more articles will follow detailing further steps in this radical campaign.
If you're reading this, you're a gamer who has been fortunate enough to get in at the very start of something historic. You are a pioneer in the GamePride movement. A new momentum in gaming.
And here is our mark. Our flag. Wear it well.
Reprinted by permission of the author. Originally published on Downtime Town. Check it out.