Thursday, March 27, 2008

The State of Gaming (The Hardcore Gamer)

Hey guys it's Gene here, and today i am going to start my own little mini-series called, The State of Gaming. In this mini-series, I am going to focus on different sections of the gaming community which i believe need to be looked at, fixed, changed, or down right destroyed. Today I am going to answer the age old question "Who and what, is the Hardcore Gamer?" To get to the answer, we are going to have to go back to the roots of gaming, the arcades.

In the early 70's and mid 80's arcade gaming erupted. Everyone from young children to grown men had played games like Pac-Man and Pong. In the beginning these arcade machines were bringing people together. Kids would go to their favorite arcade and challenge others and a college student would take his girl out for a movie and afterwards, would get his arse beat in some Pong. Gaming went from some nerd coding hobby, to a social phenomenon. It was during this time the first seed of "hardcore gamer" was planted. Now like any seed it must have a name, and the name that gave birth to the "Hardcore Gamer" is called the "High Score".

The rise of the "Hardcore Gamer" began as competition. The "Hardcore Gamer" was the kid on the block that couldn't be beaten. He was the guy that had a score so high you thought it was impossible to obtain. Before the word "Hardcore Gamer" existed, these men and women were local legends. But the gaming world did not stay so social after all, gaming hit a brick wall hard. After Pac-Man fever ran its course it took gaming along with it. Gaming was considered a fad, and like all fads people distaste them once they are past their prime. Arcades started to close down all over the country games became rehashes of games that were already out, and the American public that embraced it so much had turned a deaf ear to the gaming cries. So what happened to the high score seed? Was the local legend just a "weed"?

Those local legends did not die, they continued to support their new hobby. Unfortunately for them, the world flipped its view of the gaming world and that changed the local legend to the local loser. People who still thought video games were cool became nerds yet again. Even when The Nintendo Entertainment System came out in the US and saved the gaming as we know it today, the gaming image was tarnished. As time progressed fewer people went to arcades, the NES was the answer to Pac-Man fever ten years earlier. The Super Mario Bros game broke open the gaming world yet again. People of all ages started to fall in love with video games again but this time it was more at a distance. Gaming was not cool anymore. Super Mario Brothers was a cool game but video games were for children, and nerds. Why was Nintendo, Sega, and Sony so influential? What was the role of video games in the early 90's? Where did the term hardcore gamer come from? All will be answered in the next State of Gaming.