Sep 082011

A short time ago I was involved in a conversation about the “mentality” of gamers.  The basic perception that these people had about gamers is that they are “freaks” .  To be more precise they kind of thought gamers were a bunch of depressed anti-social people who could not follow the norms of society.  This is so far from the truth.  I mean the perception they had makes us outcasts, which is really the opposite of what we are as a whole.  You might be wondering why this is important.  With any luck I will cover that in the next few paragraphs.


Let us start with the meaning of the word game, more precisely its origins.  According to Dictionary .com we have this little bit of history


O.E. gamen “joy, fun, amusement,” common Gmc. (cf. O.Fris. game, O.N. gaman, O.H.G. gaman “joy, glee”), regarded as identical with Goth. gaman “participation, communion,” from P.Gmc. *ga- collective prefix + *mann “person,” giving a sense of “people together.” Meaning “contest played according to rules”
is first attested c.1300. Sense of “wild animals caught for sport” is late 13c.; hence fair game (1825), also gamey “having the flavor of game” (1863). Adjective sense of “brave, spirited” is 1725, from the noun, especially in game-cock “bird for fighting.” Game plan is 1941, from U.S. football; game show first attested 1961″
So the very nature of the word game tells us we are social beings.  In some cases our group might be  smaller, or we might even be a part of more than one group.  In fact it is hard for us to be a gamer with out being social.  It doesn’t matter what game you play they are you’re community, or if you are like me your communities.  I also found it it interesting that that before the meaning of game became a “contest according to the rules” it meant “people together”.
So why is this important?  While I am no expert on the matters of sociology and psychology you don’t have to be one to know how the perception of others can affect and effect your environment.  If you are a gamer and you are reading this it is important for you to know you are not anti-social.  If you come across those that think you are just be kind to them and share some nice thoughts.  If you are a concerned parent, friend or pastor and your ONLY concern is that this person plays games please tread softly.  As gamers we are not anti-social everything we do revolves around the community we are a part of even if it is a singular activity.  When I say singular it could be painting mini’s, drawing a map, or even making terrain.  For us gaming is not an escape from reality, that is it is no more an escape than a movie, or reading a book.  It is however a much more involved process.
This does not even begin to cover what it means to be a gamer, or what it means to be a part of that community.  It is merely an eye opener for those of us who truly do not realize what it means to game.   There are so many arguments we can cover in the future about the merits of gaming that delve deep into the sciences of soc and psych, but that is for another day.  When we get to that day we will discuss things like why a gaming community is important, or my kid plays D&D I am afraid for his life.
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