So, as you may have seen, I did talk a bit about the terms hardcore and casual and how meaningless I find they are in the context of gaming culture and game development. I also spoke a bit about what makes a gamer, what makes a casual gamer and what makes a hardcore gamer, and how the definition of them are based on moving goal posts. Well, serendipity and synchronicity struck.

Transcription underneath the embedded tweet for accessibility.

No you’re NOT a gamer

I’m so sick of all these people who think they’re gamers. No, you’re not. Most of you are not even close to being gamers. I see these people saying

“I put well over 100hrs in this game it’s great!”

That’s nothing, most of us can easily put 300+ in all of our games. I see people who only have the Nintendo switch and claim to be gamers. Come talk to me when you pick up a PS4 controller then we be friends.

Also DEAR ALL WOMEN: Pokémon is not a real game. Animal Crossing is not a real game. The sims is not a real game. Mario is not a real game.

Stardew Valley is not a real game. Mobile games are NOT.REAL.GAMES. Put down the baby games and play something that requires challenge and skill for once.

– sincerely, all of the ACTUAL gamers

Basically, this is what gatekeeping is all about. The writer is “sick of all these people who think they’re gamers”, but their main audience seem to be the people they target in the next to last sentence. Dear all women.

Sure, they do target all those poor schmoes who think they are gamers but haven’t shown enough dedication to their games to rack up more than a hundred hours. This can be pretty difficult if the games you play are tiny indie games that can be completed in a day or less. But I have a feeling that this person doesn’t think tiny indie games are very gamer-worthy either.

The games listed, Stardew Valley, Pokémon, Animal Crossing, they all have a varied audience, not just women. But the point I think this person is trying to make is that they are accessible to a lot of people. They’re also friendly towards the player, they don’t punish, and they don’t buy into the masculine role that triple=A console games do. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the console cited is a PlayStation, nor do I think it is a coincidence that the Switch is seen as “not a real console”, which is the conclusion I have to draw based on word choice.

“Oh, this is just one person” you may say, but this one person gives voice to thousands of others, and unfortunately, there’s also a very strong connection between some aspects of gamer culture and the alt-right and the manosphere.

It is impossible to understand trolls in their most modern form, which involves tactical harassment, mass participation and a serious sense of competition, without understanding Gamegate. It was through this mass-harassment campaign that many of the modern tactics and techniques, deployed by large mobs of trolls with great precision and impact, were hones and developed.
– Men Who Hate Women, Laura Bates

Bates writes about the online culture that has taken shape during the last seven or eight years, and an important point she makes is that “a key feature of trolling… is the need to perform to, and impress, other trolls”. To be honest I think this is not only restricted to trolls. I believe that the comment above, from “all of the ACTUAL gamers” is also performative in nature. By establishing who the poster is by distinguishing themselves as someone apart from the “normal” plebeian players as a “real gamer”, this person is also performing towards a pretty toxic brand of masculinity, that is deeply embedded in the gaming culture.

I don’t believe that GamerGate was a coincidence, or that the dark days of stalking women, Black, Asian, Latino, indigenous, mixed race, trans or non-binary people started within the gaming culture. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that the alt-right and manosphere found a home there. We have to wake up. We have to realise that gaming culture is in some parts toxic, and we can’t continue to support that toxicity, not if we want gaming to grow.

And parts of that, no matter how meaningless it may seem, is to change how we talk about games. Hardcore, casual, gamer. Maybe it’s time to retire them and go for something less tainted?