The Ideological Gamer

Ideology is an interesting subject that is sometimes hard to wrap your mind around when you are first trying to deal with the topic, but once you have started to delve into it and research it, it begins to make more sense. It is kind of like a video game in that sense; when you first start playing a game, everything is new and difficult and you have to wade through tutorials and trial and error until you get to the point where you are capable of beating the challenges they throw at you. Chapter 4 of Ancient Rhetorics defines ideology as “the common sense that is shared among members of a community.” I checked out a few different game magazines, ranging from the November 2015 issue of PC Gamer to the issues of Game Informer from the past few months, in order to look into the kinds of ideologies that surround a culture that I am heavily influenced by – gamer culture.

Newer/”Better” Technology = Better Gaming Experience

An ad in PC Gamer for purchasing desktop hardware.
An ad in PC Gamer for purchasing desktop hardware.

When I first opened the issue of PC Gamer and skimmed through its contents, I was bombarded by advertisements that wanted me to upgrade my computer. Whether it was a new graphics card or a new body for the CPU that silenced the noise it would make from running, most of the ads was selling a product that was fresh on the market. The ideology here assumes that in order for a person to have a great experience with gaming on their PC, they have to purchase all the new parts and add-ons so that they can have the best experience possible. Of course, this is not entirely true, because some hardware that was released in the past is still better than some of the new hardware and is normally preferred to be used in order to have the optimum gaming rig. Another thing of note is that while these ads are pushing for better computer tech, I only noticed one or two ads that were pushing for a new, customizable laptop. So, not only are the ads trying to push for new hardware being the best hardware, they also advocate that the best hardware is best suited for desktops if you are wanting to have the best gaming experience possible.

Higher Levels of Comfort = Better Gaming Experience

The next assumption that I saw in the PC Gamer was that you had to

An ad in PC Gamer selling high-end gaming chairs.
An ad in PC Gamer selling high-end gaming chairs.

have the most state-of-the-line, comfiest chair possible in order to have a good gaming experience. This ideology I cannot argue against too much, because it is true to an extent. I have had cases where due to uncomfortable sitting positions or a lack of proper spatial positioning of the gaming apparatus caused me not be able to perform as well as I potentially could have. I ended up having to readjust myself or the system I was using until I felt satisfied with the comfort levels I had; however, this does not mean I am advocating for the ideology behind this advert. People can find comfort in a variety of situations and locations, so to say that having one of these chairs will help you perform harder or longer is a fallacy. In fact, getting one of the pictured items could garner the opposite effect, where the support structures of the chair may not be what is best for certain people who purchase it.

Newer/“Better” Technology = Better Player

The last ideology I would like to look at is the concept that getting these aforementioned newer or “better” technologies and comfort

An ad from PC Gamer selling a fully loaded CPU.
An ad from PC Gamer selling a fully loaded CPU.

systems means that you will be able to perform on the same level as professional gamers. This is a huge fallacy that has a probability of maybe 0.1% of a chance of being true or logically backed by evidence. The gear that you use to play a game does not make you a better player at the game; it is the time and effort you put into practicing, learning new skills and honing those skills that makes the difference between professional players and the normal gamer. While being able to play on the same hardware that a pro player might use is a nice thing to have, that will not guarantee that you will become as good as them ever. Using phrases like that is just a marketing ploy to sell more units of an object to people who would believe that earning professional skills are just that easy.

All in all, gamer culture has a lot ideologies involving having to have the best stuff to be the best, when that is not always the case. Sure, it is nice to have new things, but in the end the only one who can create the best gaming experience or generate better skills for you is you. Don’t fall for the propaganda that is found around every corner of this culture.

If you want to check out more of the ideologies I discovered when reading through these magazines, check out this link here.

One comment on “The Ideological Gamer

  1. I am not very familiar with gamer culture at all, but I feel like you did a good job at describing some of its shared beliefs. It definitely makes sense that magazines representing the culture depict new products as helping your gaming success. I like how you pointed out that there is definitely propaganda and warned people not to fall for it. It seems appropriate that you are encouraged to buy the newest merchandise since the gaming community revolves around technology, but that is certainly not the only thing that counts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *