This little blurb was inspired by a conversation on Twitter about the standards people say you need to meet to be a “real” gamer. So given that someone asks, “What do you like to do for fun?”, I feel like these might be conversations if other hobbies were treated like gaming-
A: I like to read
B: Have you read War and Peace? Crime and Punishment? The Iliad?
A: Well no…
B: Oh then you aren’t a real reader… I see
A: I like to hike
B: Have you hiked Angels Landing? Ink Pots Trail? John Muir Trail? Have you traveled extensively to hike
A: Well, no. I mostly hike in my area
B: Oh I see… you aren’t a real hiker
A: I like to take pictures, just for fun
B: Oh so you have a Nikon D5000 or at least the D3000? Or perhaps a Canon EOS Rebel T1i?
A: No, as I said just for fun
B: Oh I thought you were a real photographer
A: I like to scrapbook
B: So you must have a whole craft room set up? Must scrapbook every little adventure
A: Not really
B: So you aren’t a real scrapbooker then?
A: I like making quilts and stuff
B: So you have a Singer sew machine and thousands of swatches?
B: Huh, I thought you were a real quilt maker
A: Oh I am teaching myself to play guitar in my free time
B: Oh, so you have something like a Les Paul?
A: No still just learning
B: I thought you were a real guitarist
I think at this point you get it. There is this ridiculous notion that gaming is somehow a hobby that you must earn, not one you can simply enjoy. Obviously not everyone is like this, but it amazes me how much this attitude still persists. If you play games that’s it. Hobbies don’t need other qualifiers because they are hobbies. They are meant to be something you enjoy doing in your spare time that is just for you.
The problem is this attitude is pervasive in all of nerd culture, and it needs to stop. No one needs to prove they are a nerd to anyone else. We all like what we like, and we like it to varying degrees. If you are someone that does this to others, just stop. Enjoy the things you enjoy. If what I am doing bothers you that much then maybe you need a new hobby. If people do this to you just tell them, “I am not taking a test to prove I enjoy my hobbies to someone else. They are my hobbies.” Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to prove anything.