What Defines a “Hardcore” Gamer?

I’ve wrestled with the description and terminology affixed to various types of gamers in the past. Casual, hardcore, indie…there are a few labels attached to the word “gamer.” I’ve long disliked the terms and labels, wanting to simply be known as a gamer. The descriptions of gamers is fine, but why can’t we just be gamers? Now, I’m sure that will never change, so I decided to ask the question: what defines a “hardcore” gamer?

Many have complained that Nintendo’s systems, especially the Wii and Wii U, are “kiddie” systems that only appeal to children; they don’t quench the thirst of the hardcore gamer, but rather, are only applicable to the casual gamer. Now, the Wii did appeal to those who don’t play games much, or maybe had never played games at all, but the Wii U is a different story. Some of the hardest, most satisfying games I’ve played in the last five years have been on my Wii U. I consider myself an advanced gamer, simply because I’ve been playing games since I was five years old, and I love various types of game genres: Racing, RPG, Action/Adventure, Platformer, Puzzle…basically everything except for sports games (although there are still some sports games I enjoy). So, what defines a hardcore gamer? Here’s what I came up with:

  • Plays games to beat top scores, times, and collect everything possible/obtain every achievement
  • Plays games that are challenging, regardless of system
  • Plays games that appeal to them, regardless of reviews/opinions
  • Plays many types of games, between various genres (this does NOT mean every game made is played)
  • Loves gaming in general, and not loyal to a specific brand or type of gaming

Hardcore gamers truly love gaming. They aren’t into console wars, sales figures, or popular opinions. This doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions, but what it does mean is that they play games and form their own opinions. Key phrase I want to focus on is “they play games.”

The Wii U is meant to appeal to the family crowd, which I am a part of. However, I find my gaming thirst legitimately quenched by the console as well. Some of my favorite, most memorable gaming experiences have been with my Wii U, in the short 6 months I’ve owned it. So, can I not have my “hardcore gaming” and my family gaming? Does “family gaming” instantly mean “casual gaming?” No, it does not. To name a few titles I’ve played that were very challenging, and I found myself wanting to collect/do everything I could in the game are as follows: DKC Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World (the last few worlds specifically), The Wonderful 101 (once past normal difficulty), and Rayman Legends. There are more that I’ve enjoyed greatly, but I’ll spare you the list.

Now that I’ve defined the hardcore gamer, I have to ask another question: why the blatant hate and immediate disregard for the Wii U? I understand the Wii U sucked for 9 months after launch, and that – until recently – Nintendo had completely been disconnected from the gaming world. But the system is being turned around, and Nintendo is making good decisions finally; backing their Wii U and pushing it for both regular and casual gamers. Why the hate? It’s simple: it’s a fad. Hating Nintendo right now is a fad, and articles online continue to spin that attitude.

So how do we combat this attitude? Play a Wii U. If you call yourself a hardcore gamer, go play some Wii U games. If the games on Wii U don’t appeal to you, that’s fine; but don’t go and talk trash on the system or the games if you’ve never played them. Don’t join a fad; be a true gamer. The same goes with the other consoles as well (I don’t find the Xbox One appealing personally, but I’m not opposed to playing some games on it, like Titanfall, and I will never talk bad about the system when I haven’t played it yet). The only reason I focus on the Wii U is due to the biased, unfortunate “journalism” being promoted all over social media.

Those who want to complain and tear Nintendo down: go ahead an continue to do what you’re doing. For the true gamers out there, go and experience all types of gaming, whether it be on PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, or PC.

How do you define hardcore gamers? Do you consider yourself a hardcore gamer – how do you feel about the Wii U?

~Mike

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