Dear Gatekeepers: You Are Not Special

Today I want to do something a little different. For the most part, GameHammer is about celebrating gaming; from its distant history to the modern day (but mainly the history, because retro is cool). However, this Tweet from Krysti.Online has made we want to address a major problem in the gaming community: gatekeepers.

These boys has a lot of unwarranted smugness and aggression about them. They don’t like women intruding in what they see as “their” hobby (even though it isn’t – women were here literally from the start) and they don’t like “casuals”. So let’s take this latest rant in a sea of idiotic rants as just one example of the problem gatekeepers are causing (mostly for themselves because let’s face it: the people they hate aren’t going anywhere).

Let’s start from the top and work our way down into the gutter, where the majority of this rant lies. 300+ hours of time in a game? That’s 12 1/2 days. Games cost a lot of money – around the £50 mark these days – so 300 hours of gameplay comes out at about 16p per hour. That’s great, from a financial sense. I’m very happy that you’re getting value for money.

But 12 days for a game? When many modern games have a campaign length of about 8 hours? What are you doing, spending all your time in multiplayer? If that’s the case, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve been playing online since 1998; and I have one single character in one single online game which has 58 days of logged-in time. That’s 1392 hours, sunshine. You’re a casual in comparison.

Or are you just telling me it took you 12 days to complete a game with an average campaign length of 8 hours? That doesn’t look good on you; in fact, it makes your gaming skills seem… lacking.

So, what else you got boy? Ragging on the Switch in comparison to the PS4? You know the controllers both contain motion controls, which was the sign of the Casual when I last checked; and both of them contain a mixture of gaming excellence and shovelware? Machines are nothing, it’s the game that counts. You might as well try to claim your ZX Spectrum is better than my Amstrad CPC464. I won’t care and nor should you, because we are both playing Jet Set Willy.

You have played Jet Set Willy, haven’t you?

Oh and I’ve held a PS4 controller. I still don’t want to be your friend.

I’m going to ignore the “Dear all women” part of this guy’s next paragraph because five words kill his “argument” stone dead: Ada Lovelace invented computer programming. Women won before this moron was even born.

Apparently Pokémon, Stardew Valley, Animal Crossing and The Sims aren’t “real” games. Well they sell more than Call of Duty, boy. These games are keeping publishers afloat. Without them, your annual franchise wouldn’t be anywhere near so big. Also, it’s easy to drop 300+ hours into any of those games because there will still be something to do in them.

Who wants to play the same maps over and over for hundreds of hours? A very small portion of the gaming community, that’s who. You’re a minority, suck it up.

Mobile games aren’t real games, according to Chad the Gatekeeper here. Two words: Planescape: Torment. It’s on mobile; it’s an RPG; it’s a classic. It’s a game. You can also spend 300+ hours in it and not see everything.

If you read the original rant, you’ll know I missed one game out from the list of games this guy thinks aren’t real games. That’s because it’s special. This guy claims Mario is not a real game; but he ends his rant with a demand that “casuals” try a game of skill.

Mario doesn’t meet his criteria of “games requiring skills”. Mario. The game that regenerated American gaming after the 1983 crash. Mario, the game that defined a genre. Mario, the game that requires skill and finesse in order to complete it.

He thinks Mario isn’t a real game. He thinks Mario doesn’t require skill.

This guy just self-owned. No wonder he expects to be able to brag about taking 12 1/2 days over a modern game that has less than a day’s worth of content. The guy doesn’t even recognise what Mario is all about.

Mario is, and always has been, a test of skill. It defines the platformer genre; which demands skills, reflexes and patience in order to complete it. You cannot fluke your way through a Mario game; not like you can get lucky at a modern game if you persist long enough (12 1/2 days should be enough to fluke your way through, for example). To beat Mario takes skill.

Gatekeepers, I’ll leave you with this one point to remember: you aren’t special. You’re one person amongst millions. Your community is tiny, it is dwarfed by the rest of us gamers who are just enjoying gaming. Why do you need to feel like the ultimate authority on who is and is not a “gamer”? Can’t you just enjoy the hobby like the rest of us can?

If you honestly can’t, you have a problem. I’m serious, you have a problem and you need help. Talk to someone before you end up hurting yourself (or someone else) over it.

But hey, what would I know? I’ve just been gaming since 1985. I grew up with games on cassette; games on disk; games on CD; games on cartridge; games on download and games online. I’ve played them, written them, reviewed them for decades. My games collection is close to 3000 titles in size and I’m putting together a museum. But according to the Gatekeeper here, I’m “not a real gamer” because I like Mario and The Sims.

I’ll let you decide who’s the “real” gamer. Right now I have games to play and idiot gatekeepers to ignore while I do it.

Zoe Kirk-Robinson

Writer, artist, vlogger and entrepreneur. Creator of Britain's first web comic.

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