Gaming is often associated with geeks and nerds that lock themselves in their room, browsing forums and usually being quite ‘pro’ online. Now a lot of you would argue that this is generally not the case as lots of people play games from Mums and Dads on the Wii to students on the Xbox but I disagree.
Playing games and gaming are entirely different aspects.
Playing games in general can be quite casual and is more associated with consoles. Get a few mates round and have an evening in, socialising and mocking each others abilities on Gears of War.
Online gaming, however, is completely different. Ranked matches, kill/death ratios and impressive achievements makes online gaming an entirely different experience. It’s not about socialising or having fun, it’s competitive and all about how much better you are compared to all the other ‘noobs’.
All over the world, national LAN parties are held so gamers can compete against one another, testing their skills. For online gamers, this is all part of their culture. But this varies from the casual gamers culture of meeting up and having fun.
For me it is a bit of both. I would consider myself part of two major gaming cultures.
First off there is the casual side of my own culture. I will regularly sit in a flat with a handful of my close friends and play a variety of Xbox games from Rockband to Halo 3. This is fairly social as I am interacting with people and holding conversations, which makes for an enjoyable and entertaining evening.
But then once a week, there is the LAN side of my culture in which me and the same handful of mates go to a small gamers society.
It’s scary how, by changing the setting, culture and games we adopt different attitudes and goals. We no longer socialise or interact as we take our seats at individual computers. We become extremely competitive, hell-bent on taking each other out in the most humiliating ways.
It’s no longer about having fun, it’s about who’s the best! (and it’s very rarely me)
Overall I would say games occupy a considerable amount of my life but then it’s not because I want to be the best ( thought that would be nice). It’s because I enjoy watching how it affects our behaviour and attitudes towards others, whether it be within casual games or online.