I Am A Gamer
Every weekday evening I have the pleasure of teaching game production to a small group of men and women – asian, african-american, latino, and white – most of whom are at least 30 years younger than I. But what unites us all is our love of games.
So, I am saddened that, due to recent incidents of harassment in the gaming community, that there is now talk of the need to “take back” the word “gamer”, as though it were a perjorative. I am even more distressed to read some editorials in the gaming press that we should give up using the word “gamer” altogether, as though it were exclusive rather than inclusive.
Yes, there are trolls who hide behind the mask of anonymity and put down anyone who is superficially (and apparently, morally) different from them – but that happens all over the internet. And yes, there was an (unfortunately) well-publicized case of an ex-boyfriend publicly humiliating someone who just happened to be a gamer – but, again, jilted lovers throughout history have lashed out in even worse ways than this (crimes of passion, as they are called, are among the most hideous crimes).
When we hear about such unconscionable unconscionable incidents, our impulse is to take immediate action to do something to somehow prevent them. Unfortunately, it is no simple task to expunge behavior that represents the worst side of humanity, and simply discontinuing use of the word “gamer” will not stop some people from acting horrendously.
If there is a solution, it is to remind people constantly of the good behavior that is expected of them when they interact with others. And, in fact, gaming can bring out some of the best side of humanity. Just listen to Jane McGonigal’s talk “Gaming Can Make For A Better World” if you need to be remind what a positive force for good “gamers” can be.