In today's extremely lengthy yet entertaining edition of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter Nightram details 27 different types of gamers he's observed over the years, and wonders where you fall in the list.
I've been observing my real-life gaming friends for some time now and have drawn some conclusions.
When gamers spot another gamer, most are fast friends, maybe even despite liking different genres or series. A debate with a knowledgeable gamer is a very enjoyable experience most of the time, but recounting a loved game with someone who played it around the same time can be bliss.
Maybe there are several types of typical gamers?
Taunted and teased as a child for the gaming hobby, this gamer grows up resentful and would rather not leave his or her gaming dungeon (comfort) and be forced to interact with other people. This gamer may see the world as one giant joke, is well-aware of its hypocrisy, and is well-informed about examples. He or she is thrilled when around people that feel the same, or at least share their very specific likes/genre/series. While not necessarily close-minded when it comes to games, they feel most at home with a specific brand and system. Tough to penetrate the defenses, but haters can be some of the most loyal friends.
This gamer will never admit they are a gamer, except to another jock gamer. They buy the latest console for the graphics, other capabilities, and the latest sports or "cool-to-own" title. They'd rather throw last year's games away then set foot in a game store (and might as well), but will gladly talk about their specific subset of games if prompted as long as they play it off like they don't care. They're all about the new, and holding on to the past is laughable.
Like the hater, they'd rather not interact with people, but for different reasons. They get their interactions online or in-game, rather than have to deal with all the nuances and mind games people play in real conversations. They may be more inclined to play MMOs or games known for online play to feel a connection, but with a heavy distraction as a safety net in case things go sour. Most of their purchases are made without human interaction, and they are uncomfortable when a crowd is forced upon them. They are very close to the people that they do interact with. They have strong opinions about games, but lack the willingness to engage in a conversation about it, unless something must be said.
The True Nerd:
This gamer knows every nuance and detail of every game they've ever played, isn't afraid to recite any of it, and is proud to be who he or she is. They are confrontational by nature, boasting their vast knowledge and welcoming all challengers of said knowledge. They are good at anything they try, and are hopelessly embarrassed if they are beaten even in an unfamiliar game. They often have tempers, and some may even cross the line in a versus match and can be very sore losers. These gamers may be arrogant, and may let a match or contested game knowledge get in the way of a friendship. Online, they are a force to be reckoned with.
This gamer will play anything and even if they don't like it will have something good to say about it, or can understand why the game is popular. They are good friends with gamers and non-gamers alike, and don't have a problem meshing in either setting. They are well-versed in gamer news and happenings, often pointing out the latest event or hidden gem, yet can be surprised by a suggestion now and then. Politicians may even fake liking something or lie about even playing it to foster a relationship. The politician doesn't necessarily have to gain anything from a relationship, but prefers it.
The unrelenting gamer who is always ready to defend what they think is the best game/system/franchise in history. Anyone that doesn't think the way they do must be made to believe. Anyone that refuses is worthless. This gamer is as close-minded as it gets, and will blindly buy anything the game/system/franchise offers and tout it as gold.
They played Atari or NES but then left the hobby all together, only to return years later and discover with child-like wonderment the advancements of their once beloved hobby. Like a puppy, every day is the first day, meaning every game release is a new and interesting thing that should be explored. They are often frustrated because their income can't keep up with their exploration. They try games and then quit unexpectedly, moving on to the next shiny thing, often finding themselves unable to offer an opinion on the game they just played. There is very little attachment to the games they own, but the hobby has great worth. When they see something they had an attachment to as a youth, they splurge on it, often finding that the actual experience is lackluster in comparison to what they had in their mind. They have a love/hate relationship with remakes and ports.
May actually have more knowledge than the True Nerd gamer, but won't offer it up until prompted. Always willing to offer a suggestion of a great game, followed by the admission that the game is unattainable. They have seemed to have played everything on the original console, and amazingly have kept up with the hobby since its inception. They are the absolute best at spotting a deal, or calling someone on a horrible one. They always seem more mature than most gamers, but that may simply be because of the wisdom they bring to the table from all the gaming they have done. Their skill falls into the "jack of all trades master of none" category though, as they may collect more than they actually game. They have a hard time finishing anything, but a very easy time starting something. The deal they got on a game can often be more important than the game itself.
The gamer that touts the best skills but never seems to be able to pull a win off in a challenge, blaming the loss on variables supposedly out of their control. The whiner is the worst person to play against, and is often seen as the "Me too" or "small dog" gamer that wants to be like the Collector, True Nerd, Politician, or similar types. There are redeeming factors though, as this person will always offer up a game/location/whatever to get people to like them, and is an overall very gregarious person, unless they lose. They are good friends that should not be underestimated, and patience is the key to keeping them your friend. They never seem satisfied by new releases, and can find something wrong with any title, even the ones they like. These people do make excellent critics, though. While they have an opinion and will offer it with some anonymity, they can be easily swayed to change their thoughts with group pressure.
This gamer will win at any cost, often sacrificing morals to own that win. They are experts at covering their tracks, and will utilize any method, often illegal ones, to attain their desires. They may even be great hackers or pirates, and have very few friends because of their despicable behavior. They work every angle in their head, and will often appear generic or mousy, shifting focus off of them to pull their latest con. They can be obsessed with trivial features like leaderboards or gamerscore, often artificially raising these numbers to appear better than they are. While their skills on infiltrating games are impressive, their actual gaming skill is minimal or pathetic. They are anxious about live versus matches they cannot manipulate, but often find a way to cheat in these matches as well.
This gamer has played so many styles of play that they can seemingly master anything with limited practice. This gamer will often hold at least one world record in a game, and are involved in events like speed runs, marathons, high scores, etc. Despite the radical change in this generations offerings, he or she will amaze crowds with even the most outlandish play style. This gamer just seems to "get it", but is a recluse in many other aspects of life, rarely saying much of anything. While differing from the Loner in the sense that he or she doesn't feel uncomfortable in a crowd, it's only really in a crowd of gamers. Non-gamers want very little to do with them and vice-versa. They do not seek competitors or boast scores, but will sheepishly let slip their greatest achievements, feigning embarrassment.
Touts a good game, and lives up to it, trash-talking all the way. Seeks competitors in every location they attend, but in a friendly manner. While they may be great at specific games in specific genres, they can be tripped up. They understand this, and don't retaliate once beaten, but will practice and rally at a later event thus proving their strong work ethic. They are very friendly outside of the competition, but behind the controller they are a different beast, often bringing the competition outside the game in a playful manner. These are the funnest gamers to watch, and they know they are in the spotlight in their specific moment, yet are modest for the most part. Trash talking is all in jest, and they will always shake the rival's hand saying, "good game."
This gamer will always be the first one to play the game outside of its parameters. Backwards on Mario Kart. Rocket Jumps in multiplayer. This exploit-seeker loves to mess with people, but hates the Cheater. He or she uses the game against itself for personal gain, often to rousing laughter from other gamers. Never scorned for messing around because of their jolly nature and life-of-the-party mentality, these gamers will always be the ones with the greatest one-liners and quips about our favorite hobby. Youtube is their best friend, not being able to wait to show off their latest crazy find in the latest title.
Worse than the Rebounder, this lazybutt flippantly tries games at their leisure, often without any previous recommendation or research. They dabble in each generation listlessly, often picking titles of ill-repute. While this gamer may have high hopes for their purchase, they are often disappointed. They will play the off titles and then report to anyone with ears about the shortcomings of the game, but not in an overly negative sense. They are excited about the industry and where it is headed, but lack the motivation to follow the news with any zeal. They know what they like, and they avoid what they don't, including people. Their gamer stuff is often in deplorable condition, covered in dust and barely working, yet they do attribute value to it and would be sad if it bricked or broke.
This gamer wants all the street cred of the Collector or Politician with none of the work, but has stronger morals than the Cheater. If it's hard to prove, they have done it. If asked to do it again, they offer excuses. They boast a large collection, but are either very private in regards to possessions, or are outright lying for attention. Their gamer skill is fair, but they will actually be reluctant to challenge anyone or even play in front of others for fear of being found out. They will be able to get by on their general skill if challenged on most occasions.
Seems to know more about gaming than even the Collector, but it's always outlandish facts and games nobody has heard about. While they know nobody would question these facts, they find the truth behind them to be very important. These are the best gamers to learn from about new playstyles/genres/games and the history behind it all. These people are explicitly knowledgeable in their area of expertise despite there not being any media to learn about it from. They often have a background in something seemingly unrelated that aids them in connections normal people don't make, and can offer some of the most interesting gaming experiences. They most likely own a website which is the one source for that particular niche. They are often resellers, and use their knowledge for their income.
The Non-gamer Gamer (or Closet Gamer):
Like the jock, this gamer will never admit they are a gamer, but when surrounded by gamers or put in a gaming setting, they often surprise everyone in the room with amazing skill or even knowledge. They may play this off as beginner's luck or indirect knowledge based on other interests, but they genuinely but reservedly hold stock in the hobby. All gaming items owned are small and discreet, and can be passed off as being someone else's (a child or spouse).
The Casual Gamer:
Different than the Closet Gamer, this gamer will download a silly game to waste time, hates paying for games so often utilizes free trials or loopholes, and dumps it immediately upon inevitable disinterest. Knows little about the actual industry, and is fine with that. Deems gaming a trivial pursuit, and hates that game too. Easily finds a good time when confronted with games, and will admit it, but won't ever offer it as a night's plan. Gaming is for filling the boring times only, and this "gamer" will have little opinion to offer even on games they've played.
This gamer doesn't hold any attachment to their games, but finds games interesting in the moment. They will offer up their game to another gamer, stating that it was an enjoyable experience. They assume that the other gamer will return it, but if worse comes to worse they won't miss the game. They keep great care of their items, honor the hobby as a whole, and like the experiences it offers, though they view them as fleeting one-offs that hold little value other than entertainment in that moment. Still, they are glad to spread knowledge of the experience and hope others will find it interesting too. They value the conversation about gaming over any specific game.
This gamer loves the industry, loves the hobby, has several favorite games and can talk articulately about gaming, but owns nothing. This gamer is often the product of luck or circumstance, having several other gaming friends that foot the bill for the gaming hobby. Those friends are often indignant toward the fancy-free Leech, bitterly allowing him to participate in their expensive hobby to his or her utmost pleasure. If they really want to play something, they either manipulate others into attaining it for them or find a way to get it free.
This gamer will find any means to enhance his or her game, often claiming that they are better at a certain title when drunk, high, or "accelerated" on caffeine. Most of what they claim is ridiculous and their gaming skills prove this to a point, but they get lucky enough to justify the behavior to themselves and those not paying close attention. This gamer is also a fan of the Game Genie and Game Sharks, but less so for the cheating aspect and more for the overpowering abilities for fun aspect (moon jump). Knows many "cheat" codes by heart and has a Goldeneye cart with all codes unlocked. They have several opinions on how games can be better, but often lack the fortitude to jump in the industry and do something with their ideas, preferring to bark from afar.
Holder of game tournaments. Converter of non-gamers. Has a library of games to pull out at any moment for a nice challenge. They prefer to watch rather than play, but can hold their own when confronted. This gamer will help the distressed mother in Wal-Mart find the perfect title for their son or daughter. They will offer their well-informed opinion, even on games that they have never played, and are often precise in that suggestion. Happy to help with anything gaming or not, enablers are cheerleaders for the industry and have excellent points on why everyone should be a gamer, or remind gamers why they should try new things. They will lend out their own games if they trust the person receiving the game, but hold a lot of nostalgia in each title they suggest. Enablers allow Leaches to exist.
The "Sir not appearing in this" Gamer:
This is the gamer that swears he or she will always be at the next tournament, get-together, or other event, but can never seem to make the time to be there. He or she is an enigma, leads a hectic life, and always seems to have too much on their plate.
The Retro Gamer:
While this gamer may own newer systems, their love for the hobby will always be focused on a legacy system. This gamer may have a complete library for the system they lament went out of production. They get crotchety when discussing new-gen stuff and will swear the industry peaked during their favorite system and all decisions made after that point spell certain doom for the hobby. Their biggest pleasure remains finding new stuff out about old games or hearing about a title they never played. They demand a nostalgic feel in most of their gaming experiences.
The Envied Gamer:
This gamer will buy something that everyone has their eye on just to have something everyone else wants. Playing/using it doesn't matter. In fact, it's better in this gamer's eye to be able to dangle it in other's faces that they simply have it. The fact that they don't use it adds to the face rubbing. They may have several older things they haven't opened simply to continue showing it off, but they focus on the current gen that more people are knowledgeable about so they can maximize the jealousy of those around them. They never share, and most of the games they actually play are attained illegally or as gifts.
Eternally boastful and often packing an impressive amount of mastered games, this jerk of a gamer will trounce you easily and love every minute of it. Far from modest, but for a reason. They spend a lot of time with specific games and will hunt down less-experienced gamers just for the win. They know all locations/tactics for the easy, cheap kills. If they lose at a game they will often call it worthless and not worth their time, only allowing themselves to sink time into games that are similar to the ones they are masters at. Often has few friends due to their arrogant nature, liken this gamer to the hunter who brings automatic weapons to the hunting range. Gamers without their skill level are laughable and easy prey.
This "gamer" will visit game stores often but never buy anything. Not only do they yearn for games, but for human interaction. They also yearn for the time or money to be able to afford the hobby, and with some rearrangement of finances/time management could easily support it, but lack those skills. They will often talk the ear off of employees and other captive audiences about games, but it's mostly fluff and ill-informed talk. They may actually own a lot, but they get it late and never finish a game, if they even start it. They could easily be a Leach, but either won't sink that low or lack the friends with stuff.