Gamers don’t need to be “world record holders” to be special

This is one that is sure to spark some controversy among many who have followed me for a long time, but the headline rings clear as a bell to me right now.

For years I’ve covered a great many people who have set “world record” scores on a variety of video games.  Odds are pretty solid that if you’ve read a news story anywhere about a new video game high score over the past few years that I was the guy who broke the story and force fed it to the mainstream media.

I’m proud of having been able to do that.  Covering gaming culture and shoving it out to the mainstream has been my primary focus for a lot longer than many know I’ve been doing it.  It’s only just recently that I have been reminded that a gamer doesn’t need a “world record” score to be worth covering.

My habit and ability to provide 15 minutes of fame to record-setting gamers has seen a number of instances where I was literally EXPECTED to provide coverage to people.  I’ve caught heat for it, in fact, when I chose not to cover something or simply was unable to at the time.  Some of the worst offenders have seemingly forgotten that I hold a number of record scores myself and have been gaming for over 31 years, instead having expectations of me being their free press secretary yet never giving me the same consideration for my own gaming projects and accomplishments.

Mind you, this isn’t ALL of the “world record” gamers that do this… not even most of them… but some very loud ones that make sure I hear about it.  Daily.

Since I’ve been filming my new series Culture x History x Attitude, I have come across gamers from all walks of life.  While filming this second episode, I’ve run into gamers who set up a tailgate party for the Halo 4 launch, gamers who stayed out in the cold to get their hands on a game they have been anticipating and even a veteran gamer who essentially has a museum of gaming history stashed in boxes in his garage (which he let me dig through).

These gamers were friendly and excited to learn of my series and that I was including such things within it.  There were no expectations pushed on me to cover more of this and less of that… there were no ego tripping people demanding that I put them center stage in the scenes.  They were just happy that someone was out there capturing this stuff and offered to help get the word out about it, regardless of it they were included or not.  Sure enough, many of them have already done exactly that, even before the episode they are part of has run.

It’s been refreshing for me to experience this.  These people might not hold world record scores or have plans to compete on the MLG circuits or whatever, but they are just as special to gaming culture and history than those who do.   They are so kind and supportive, treating the guy with the video camera as one of them instead of a whore to use when they see fit to expect or demand the spotlight.  They understand that I do the things I do to help show off video gaming culture to a pop culture audience… that I’m not a guy who just “writes articles” to placate people’s egos.

As I said, not every “world record” gamer treats me that way, but some certainly have.  Maybe it’s something that comes from the competitive aspect of it or maybe that sector just appeals to people with more fragile egos.  I’m thrilled to learn that the folks outside of it don’t act this way.  They remember that this is supposed to be FUN and simply love anything that celebrates any of it.

I wish I’d learned/remembered this far before filming the series.  Gamers don’t need to be “world record holders” to be special.  We’re all part of the same culture.