Video games have surged in popularity in recent years. Long gone are the days when they were seen as products exclusively for children, and they have even managed to gain some mainstream attention. However, some gamers are more dedicated than individuals simply seeking to be entertained for a few hours. Said gamers have been collectively labeled as hardcore gamers, and it is reasonable to insinuate that gaming is more than just a mere hobby for them. Here are ten signs you might belong to this elite class of gamer.
10. Video Game Media is Part of Your Daily Life
Let’s begin by stating the obvious: if you are reading this article, or any other relating to our wonderful medium, you are already more dedicated than someone who plays games on occasion to kill time. You are invested in the culture and politics of the gaming industry.
Anytime you comment on an article, post on a forum or just peruse the latest gaming news; you are showing more dedication than the average consumer. It goes without saying that those of us who write these articles, myself included, are in the same boat. In fact, we have deluxe cabins on this boat. However, even just reading what we write is a sign that you have signed up for the amazing cruise that is the life of a hardcore gamer, and there is plenty of room for everyone.
9. You Swear Brand Loyalty
Ok, I confess, I have fanboy tendencies. I like to think I’m more in control of them now than in the past, mind you. I once took it personally when gamers would insult the PlayStation brand as if they were insulting a close and personal friend. It was as if all the memories of great games from the PS1 onwards meant nothing to them. Of course, I eventually grew up and even managed to get out of that crippling nostalgic phase I went through in my early 20s. However, my fondness for PlayStation remains.
That said, I now know that a corporation is not my friend, but it sure is loving every comment fans make in defense of it. It’s like free promotion, and we as fans of any of the big three are doing all the work. But, if nothing else, giving the brand of our favourite consoles more than a passing thought is indicative that we’re at least a little bit dedicated to our hobby, and I’d wager many of you are guilty as charged.
8. You Frequently Run Multiple Devices at Once
I will be the first to admit; I might have a problem. On an average day off, I have at least two devices turned on: the system I’m currently using which is usually my PS4, and my iPad so I can look up FAQs immediately if need be. I also sometimes pause and check gaming news before resuming my play session. I might even be downloading something on my PS4 while I’m playing something else, but even that is pretty tame compared to days when I’m also downloading something on another system.
As the owner of a PS3, PS4 and Vita I get the privileges that owning all three offers. I also own a PSP 3000, a 3DS and a laptop with Steam. On occasion, I’ve had one or even two additional devices plugged into a wall socket and downloading a game, update or DLC while my attention was focused on something on my PS4 as well as the FAQ I just brought up on my iPad. I don’t even plan this; it just happens sometimes. If you’ve ever done the same thing, you might be a hardcore gamer.
7. You Often Splurge on Collector’s Editions
There’s buying a game, and then there’s going all out. This month I overspent on a Limited Edition copy of Mary Skelter Nightmares for the Vita. To be fair, it’s supposed to include a collection of short stories I can’t get through any other means. I may just be a sucker though. I mean, I also own a Take Your Heart Edition of Persona 5, so that’s not even the first time this year I’ve been enticed to spend extra on the same game everyone else is playing.
Companies like to feed our compulsion to go above and beyond just owning a game because oftentimes, it works. Sometimes all it takes is a cardboard box and some dollar store quality trinkets to get our attention. Other times it’s DLC that’s either exclusive or made available early to those who spent the extra cash for the edition that includes it. Often that DLC is something insignificant like a skin or some additional items. One thing’s for sure though: if you’ve ever plunked down some extra change for a collector’s edition of a game, you’re in the same club as I am.
6. Have Invested in Additional Products Related to Your Favourite Games
Buying a collector’s edition is part of a larger practice that goes beyond just having a game. Physical collector’s editions and pre-order bonuses will get you well on your way to acquiring additional swag. Heck, the digital equivalent is cut from the same cloth. Any promotion that offers an additional theme, avatar or something more significant like a soundtrack with the purchase of a digital copy of a game still involves dangling extra stuff in front of us as a means to encourage sales.
However, collector’s editions aren’t the only means to acquire additional products and content. There are plenty of instances where figures, artbooks, soundtracks and spinoff media relating to a game is sold. Aforementioned themes, avatars, and digital soundtracks are available on online stores. Lootcrates are gaining popularity. If you’ve ever taken the extra step to own more products than just the game they’re based on, you might be a hardcore gamer.
5. You Own More Than One Version of the Same Game
There’s owning a game, and then there’s buying it again in some form. I even wrote an article on the subject. Sometimes there are ways to justify this practice. I no longer own my old favourites on the PS1, and my PS2 doesn’t read discs currently. I don’t own the Minerva’s Den and Burial At Sea packs for Bioshock 2 and Infinite, and downloading them would have cost 4 cents more than Amazon’s price for the Bioshock Collection on PS4. There was a PSN Flash Sale, and it was so cheap I couldn’t resist buying it again.
No matter the reason though, you’re way beyond just getting your fill from a game and trading it in, never to think about it again. Maybe there’s some extra content not in previous versions of the game. Maybe it just looks slightly nicer on the latest systems if you squint hard enough. Regardless, you’ve just bought a game for the second time, assuming it is only your second time buying it. Yeah, it may not be correct to call you a casual gamer.
4. You Own More Games Than You Can Count
You can have some games, but only an elite group can claim to have a collection. Elite might not be the right term. Bad with money might be a more accurate description. One thing no casual can claim though is having more games than can be counted. I probably have hundreds of physical games alone, and my digital collection is increasing at an alarming rate too.
Bonus points go out to any gamer who has more games than time to play them, or is running out of physical or HDD space, or who has invested in various products to increase the prestige of their collection, which don’t have to be games. But, the main thing is those of us who seek to have a collection don’t trade in our games when we finish them, and our collections just keep growing. To what end, I don’t know, but I laugh when I hear that the average attachment rate for consoles is somewhere between three and seven games. I have more than that in just one stack. If you’re the same way, maybe you have earned the right to be thought of as more than a mere gamer.
3. You Take Vacation Time When E3 Comes Around
Sometimes it is evident when someone is a fan of something, especially when that something has an annual event, and even more so when that person takes time off to observe that event. Sports are perhaps most commonly known for this habit, but we as gamers have our own event: E3. It’s like our Super Bowl when Sony and Microsoft go at it to determine who has the best stage show, and it’s like our Christmas when all of the big three, and various third-party studios, show off new games to be released in the near or sometimes distant future.
If you have ever taken time off for E3, or so much as allowed E3 to fill your thoughts as you go about your daily life, you easily qualify as the gamer equivalent of a sports fan. We won’t even bat an eye if you kneel as the head of your favourite console manufacturer steps forward for their presentation. It doesn’t even have to be E3 either. There’s Gamescom, TGS, Paris Games Week, PSX and any of the PAXes, among others. If you’ve observed any of these events in any meaningful way, you’re a gamer through and through.
2. The Game You’re Playing Occupies Your Every Thought
It’s one thing to be entertained by a game. It’s another thing entirely to keep thinking about it, even when you’re not playing it. Maybe you’ve downloaded a corresponding wallpaper for your cell phone. Maybe you wish your day could tick by faster so you can get home and be with the game you love. Never mind that your job is the reason why you can afford your gaming habits, to begin with. Perhaps you spend all day contemplating what to do next in a game. You could be anticipating the next part of the story or running through your multiplayer strategy. Maybe you are allocating stats for your characters in your mind before you head home and do it in the game, or maybe you’re strategizing over the stage or boss fight you’re currently stuck on.
One thing is for certain though, if you’ve ever suffered from game compulsion, you’re not alone. It’s that much worse when work, school or any other aspect of life start to feel like distractions that get between you and your game. Maybe you never take it that far, but while you engage in your everyday work duties, your prefrontal cortex is still focused on the game you’ve left behind. Either way, that’s a hardcore habit.
1. When You Neglect Your Needs or Complain That They Get in the Way of Gaming
The human body is an incredible machine and is one that anchors us to this world and allows us to interact with it, including playing our games. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like it’s become a bother though. This high-maintenance machine requires food, water, sleep, and the occasional bathroom break. If you neglect any of it, you might get sick or worse. But, never mind that. There is gaming to be done. Screw our bodies.
If you’ve ever stayed up super late playing something, knowing full well you’ll feel terrible the next day, neglected to eat or drink, or held it in longer than you should, you might have reached the point where you put your games first, even before your personal needs. A sister symptom is neglecting personal relationships including friends and family. Regardless, you show true dedication, and are definitely hardcore, although you may also be at the point where you should admit you have a problem.
What are your thoughts on this list? Have you engaged in any of these practices? Are there more you can think of that haven’t been covered here? As always, feel free to leave your comments below.