The last time I wrote about stereotypes and how those outside of the gaming fan base see us gamers, the article was well received. In that article, I discussed several stereotypes I have seen in person and I gave my thoughts on how to mitigate or reduce the impact of some of the problems, as I saw them. This time, I am going to lay out several stereotypes that come from within our own beloved community.
Let’s face it, sometimes we are our own worst enemy! There is much bickering and genre bashing now, as there was 10 years ago. It hasn’t let up all that much and may be one of the reasons people outside the hobby don’t want to enter our beloved hobby.
Card Floppers Suck! – This is a perennial favorite that I am guilty of having from time to time. We see card flopper, mainly Magic the Gathering (MtG), but there are others, as a group that brings in lots of money to the stores, but they have a tendency to run off other gamers. I have blogged in the past that at my FLGS there used to lots of variety on Friday night’s at the store. One could always find something to play or new to try. These days, there is very little happen on Friday’s except MtG. They, collectively that is, have run off the other gamers. Another issue that comes regularly with card floppers is the odor! Many, because of thier age and others that just don’t give a shit about personal hygiene, smell horrible. I have directly heard and overheard more times than I can count that other gamers won’t game in stores or in the same areas at conventions where there are card floppers. Are people sometimes prejudice towards card floppers? Yep! they sure are; there is no denying that.
So, what can be done to mitigate this stereotype? I think first and foremost, I blogged about it in the last article, personal hygiene is paramount. Take a bath and use deodorant before heading to the game store. End of story! The other issue that drives this stereotype is more problematic. The stores need the card floppers to pay the bills and certain card events draw large numbers to conventions, but there has to be a balance here. Owners and organizer need to make sure they don’t exclude (purposefully or accidentally) other gamers whom are not card floppers from enjoying a game at their establishment on any given day. This really promotes a line being drawn in the sand, a “us versus them” mindset has set in. Personally, the bottom line here is there must a promotion of gaming diversity at all times. Until this happens there is little chance of this stereotype being overcome.
Holier Than Thou – This is one I hear regularly; which is kind of disturbing. Lots of gamers tend to develop and cultivate a Holy Than Thou attitude when it comes to their favorite game and if other games do not fit into this mold, they can, at times, become vocal about their likes and dislikes. This causes rifts within the hobby at large. Think for a minute, how many times have you, yourself, turned up your nose when asked if you wanted to play a particular game. Better yet, have you gone to a convention or other open event and commented that there was not enough selection of games that YOU wanted to play? These examples are all part of the Holier Than Thou self-stereotype. We’re all guilty of it and if you say you’re not, you’re lying! I, like all gamers, have my preferred games and I also have those that I dislike for one reason or another.
This issue can be overcome without too much internal strife. We, as gamers, need to be more open-minded when it comes to the games others enjoy more than us. This is not to say that we can’t have our dislikes for specific games or genres. It’s the way in which we respond to questions or situations that can have an impact. Take for example, someone asks if you want to play MtG, and you truly hate the game, and you respond in cordial tone with, “thanks for the offer, but MtG is not a game for me”. You’re likely to leave a better impression on the person than if you had responded with “Um… yeah, no thanks” all the while saying it with a snarky attitude. Politeness and a friendly attitude will go a long way in making things better community-wide.
You Really Play in Public? – While not so much a stereotype, it does have elements that place it in their category. Many people, namely roleplayers, are scared to play in public places. There is a variety of reasons for this, but other gamers who are not roleplayers can oftentimes make roleplayers feel awkward when they do play in public. I’m not sure why some gamers think it is their right to make others feel uncomfortable should they decide to play their games in public places. I don’t hear these comments at conventions, just public locations like library and coffee shops. This internal attitude is what keeps most roleplayers from gaming in public places, including conventions.
Fixing this issue should, in theory, be easy! Keep your damn mouth shut and let those who enjoy more creativity in their gaming experience have their fun too! I don’t think is much more that needs to be said.
As I previously stated, we all have to get along and do what we can to promote out hobby, both internally and externally. If we can’t get along, why would outsiders want to join our ranks?