This is the game screen on my iPhone.
And I spend the majority of my free time lately gaming here.
For many people, that would make me not a gamer. Social and mobile gaming is considered by many not to be “true” gaming, or not “hardcore” or “core,” or somehow lacking in significance.
Many people who play mobile games shy away from calling themselves a gamer, often because they do not want to identify with those hardcore stereotypes.
Now I know many people who play PC or console games also play mobile games. Games for waiting in line at the bank. Games for the bus or train or other mode of passive transportation.
That’s not what I’m talking about here.
I easily spend several hours a day between the games on my phone and a couple on my iPad. It fits lately with the other demands on my time in a way that PC gaming just doesn’t. (In fact, I’m canceling my WoW subscription again because I just don’t have the time to devote to an MMO.)
I was reading through my dissertation recently and came across a section where I was talking about going back to WoW while I was writing because I needed the “gamer cred” to effectively write about gaming.
Now, I think “gamer cred” is a useless concept. I like my mobile games. I like that I can pick them up and start playing in an instant. I like that my time in those games is often limited by how much I can play at any given time.
And I don’t think that makes me any less of a gamer, core or casual.
I suppose why I’m really writing this is because this is a shift in my own identity. I’ve always been a PC gamer and I suspect I will be a PC gamer again.
How has your gaming identity changed in your gaming history? Have you moved in and out of different types of games? Platforms? Genres? Let me know in the comments if this kind of change is a common occurrence.
Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.