Do any of you ever feel the need to hide the fact that you like pushing pixels around for entertainment? Are you out and proud as a gamer? Be honest. Do you hide the fact that you’re a gamer at social gatherings just so you don’t get that look? Ask Joe Public to find a picture of what he thinks the average gamer looks like, and you’ll most definitely end up with an image that looks something like this:
But we, as gamers ourselves, know that this is merely a stereotype – a projected image that we all get labelled with as soon as we mention that we’re gamers in certain social arenas. Well, it’s time to get our bits out gamers! Right here, right now! Show the world your bits!! (That’s computing bits, for those of you playing at home. Get your minds out of the gutter people). Let’s show the Joe Publics out there that we’re not the greasy cellar dwellers they think we are, lazing about all day with a controller fused to our gnarled hands, and no life beyond the permanent butt print we occupy on the couch. We’re much more evolved than that, right?
The average gamer, statistically, is aged 31 and is either female or male, as the split between men and women gaming is virtually 50/50 these days. And speaking of the age of the average gamer, there are currently more gamers over the age of 35 than there are between the ages of 18-35. So the truth of the matter is that the average gamer is most likely to be your dentist, your tax agent or your local pizza shop owner, not 12 year old Gavin from next door, who likes to slay noobs while shouting profanities about yo Mama. Gamers literally come in all shapes, sizes, genders, nationalities, ethnicities, age groups and Doritos flavours. And that is a very, very good thing.
And it turns out that celebrities, despite all the bullshit that goes along with their lives, are real people too underneath it all – and guess what? They love gaming just as much as you do! More and more celebrities are crawling out from behind their monitors and celebrating their membership to the gaming massive. I did a quick search of celeb gamers, just to get an idea of the cross-section of people that have come out publicly as game nerds, and the list is just way too long for me to even post here. Seriously! So, I’ll note a few worthy mentions and we’ll move on shall we – they already get enough attention as it is, hey.
Probably most famously is comedienne, Aisha Tyler (if you’ve seen Archer, you know her as Lana Kane), who wrote a very passionate Facebook ‘poem’ on the subject of her loving gaming and being a gamer. It was addressed to the haters she experienced when questioned as to why she was hosting the E3 gaming event. Here’s her opening statement. Mad respect:
I’ve played since I was a little kid.
Since I begged my dad to buy me a Nintendo LCD Donkey Kong, Jr.
Since I blew through three weeks’ allowance playing Defender at the laundromat.
Since you were a twinge in the left side of your daddy’s underoos.
I’ve been a gamer since I made friends with a girl in the 5th grade just to get at her Atari.
Since I missed the bus playing Galaga after school.
Since I missed the start of Return of the Jedi playing Tempest in the theater lobby.
You think you know. You don’t know.”
If you’d like to read Aisha’s entire post, here’s a link. If you’re a proud gamer, it’s worth a read, and it goes on to show how deeply passionate she is about gaming and what it is to be a true gamer. We need more gamers like Aisha in the world.
Though he’s sadly not with us any more, Robin Williams has to be one of the most famous and out gamers of all time. Not only did he name his daughter after Nintendo’s Zelda, but he was a strong advocate for playing video games as a way to keep your mind stimulated and elastic. Known to be a huge World of Warcraft fan, Williams is probably most noted for his love of military shooters such as COD, Battlefield and Counter Strike. The perennial funny man was once noted to jokingly refer to COD multiplayer as ‘cyber-cocaine’, with the pure rush and assault to the senses it delivers at lightning fast pace. Imagine being on the other end of the headset to Robin Williams in game?? It would be like trying to out trash talk the Jedi master of trash talk! Completely impossible.
And there’s a whole gamut of celebrity gamers in between Aisha and Robin to boot. Here’s a quick sample set: Mila Kunis, Daniel Craig, Rosario Dawson, Henry Cavill, Rhonda Rousey, Vin Diesel, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Michelle Rodriguez, Samuel L Jackson… The list just goes on and on, proving that everybody and anybody can and will be a gamer. Oh, and special mention goes out to Matthew Perry of Friends fame, who played so much Fallout 3 that he had to go see an Orthopaedic Surgeon due to carpal tunnel syndrome! I salute your dedication buddy.
Now, what type of games is your average gamer playing? It turns out action/adventure is the average game enjoyed by you, the average gamer. The most popular genre by a galaxy at 37%, followed by shooters at 20%, and coming in third around the post, sports games at 12%. And I’m sorry to say it, oh great and mighty PC Overlords, but the average gamer has been playing on a console of some description for the past 13 years, preferring the plug and play experience over the constant propeller spinning.
The average gamer is also playing two and a half hours each day, stays up until 11pm playing, has 5 friends they consistently play online with, has one child, works a full time job, and fights with their partner at least once a week about gaming. This sounds like 90% of the gamers I know!
So who is the average gamer then? We are all uniquely the average gamer, and that’s cool as fuck, because that means there really is no such thing as a stereotypical gamer. But we all knew that anyway, right? We are as diverse and as individual as life itself. We’re not the hyper-violent, blood thirsty Mountain Dew swilling mouth droolers the media would like to paint us out to be. We’re intelligent, hard working folk who enjoy the mental challenge and true escapism that video games deliver with incredible digital detail.
I’ll leave you with a gem: 81 year old UK Granny, Doreen Fox. Doreen has been playing video games since the 80’s, when digital entertainment exploded onto the market for the very first time. Doreen’s been a hardcore gamer ever since, God bless her little cotton socks. Here she is smashing out some COD BLOPS2 with her Grandson. You go Doreen! Get some girl!!
Fellow gamers, get your bits out like Doreen. Be proud of the fact you love gaming! And if you get asked at a party what you like to do in your spare time, don’t be scared to pledge your undying allegiance to the power of the pixel. And if the person you’re speaking to happens to not like Mario, well… There are some people you just don’t need in your life. 🙂