Staying ahead of the xxJonesesxx?

The casual/hardcore gamer ponder I had sparked a few responses that sparked some more thoughts. Not so much an attempt to make a definitive, er, definition as an attempt to understand both sides, since I view myself as utterly and irredeemably casual and, clearly, proud of it.

Is hardcore partly about competition and measurement? Remember, we’re talking hardcore gamers here (though the sports fan sidetrack was really interesting, I suspect it’s covered in plenty of detail elsewhere). Does everyone’s definition of hardcore include some form of tracking one’s progress against [insert criteria]? Every gamer tracks progress (eg levelling) to some extent, but to some it’s a defining factor while to others it’s just a number tacked on to their name. Any currently or previously hardcore types care to comment? I promise I’ll still respect you in the morning.

The debate often devolves into name-slinging, and I believe it’s largely because neither side really understands what motivates the other AND because both sides use the same words to convey different meanings, further complicating attempts at understanding. (Synchronicity had me come across this yesterday in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, with respect to science and scientific paradigms.)

I am fascinated by what makes people tick and behave the way they do, especially people whose behaviour I either don’t share or don’t understand — or both, in the case of hardcore gaming.

If hardcore at least partly = competition and casual doesn’t, can the twain ever meet for any length of time? Will the hardcore player be made uncomfortable by the casual player’s lack of focus and direction, as the casual player is made uncomfortable by the hardcore player’s apparent obsession with stuff that might be totally irrelevant to the casual player? Will Dr Stan manage to remove Eva’s tumour before it grows to gagantuan proportions and mars her classical beauty???

Is it a faux-pas to make a post carrying on from my previous entry?

(Edit – bah, I think someone used me as a springboard for a post of their own without doing me even the courtesy of a reacharound link. I feel creatively used. Does this mean I’m progressing as a blogger? ;-))

5 responses to “Staying ahead of the xxJonesesxx?

  1. Regarding the difference between hardcore and casual, first, I think it’s a bit of a spectrum, rather than a binary distinction.

    Second, regarding the competitive edge, I do think that’s an important factor. Some Achievers want to achieve simply because it’s possible to do so, or for personal satisfaction, while others seek achievement in order to compare themselves to others. There’s a bit of a spectrum there as well, but there are definitely different attitudes.

    I’m not so sure that the axis of competition can align perfectly with the “hardcore-casual” axis, but the slopes are probably pretty close.


  2. You’re right — it *is* a spectrum. I should have said that somewhere, but I think it was one of those things I didn’t even consider mentioning as being too obvious, which it isn’t or you wouldn’t have pointed it out.

    I’m sure I have hardcore moments amid my casualmania 😉


  3. You might have mentioned it’s a spectrum… I made that comment amidst doing half a dozen other things, and may have missed it in my quick reading. Also, pointing out the obvious is something I do so that I make sense, if only to myself. Here, so that I could compare the two axes of measurement.

    I must be in a pedantic mood today; pointing out the obvious and talking about algebraic slopes in regards to games. *shrug*

    So yeah, I definitely have hardcore moments, too. It’s funny, I don’t play all that much, so I’m casual from a time standpoint, and even from a play standpoint, but from a data ingestion standpoint, I’m probably hardcore, as I try to understand everything “under the hood”. A walking dichotomy, that’s me. 🙂


  4. I’d weigh it more on the “measurement” side of things. Hardcores often value their success in the game they play (more than they should) since it becomes pretty important to them. They often believe it somehow sets them above other players.

    In some cases it does – they’ve conquered content others likely won’t but that is about all. Most of that involves teamwork, time and someone to figure the encounter out and orchestrate a victory – these are the folks that deserve a lot of credit, not the guy sitting in his basement waiting for his name to come up on chat so he fires his heal macro.

    I’ve been around long enough to know that not all hardcores are actually skilled players. Some are, some aren’t. Doing what you’re told when you’re told to do it doesn’t leave a lot of room for skill.

    I’m off on a tangent now though… hehe


  5. Official pronouncement #1: I freaking LOVE tangents! I’m all about the tangent. I sometimes even get back to the point, after a sufficiently meandering route.

    Feel free to digress.

    One thing that’s coming out of these comments is that “time to play” is no longer — if it ever was — the primary defining criterion of hardcore vs casual. (I also like to state the obvious.) If nothing else, I’m growing a little more tolerant of “hardcore” and have a little more understanding of it as a playstyle. Now if only those hardcore bastards would stop calling me a useless waste of game time and accord me the same! 😉


Comments are closed.