Saturday, 12 February 2011

Who are we?

I've been thinking about who we are.

The response to a recent article made me realise that by using the terms 'wargamer' and 'roleplayer' we could be holding open a divide that might well not exist, and that's not even mentioning all the other kinds of gamer, and the modellers and painters too.

In light of this, the Triffles, fundamental laws of fiction and scope of fiction idea, and the fact that many of the people reading this blog are also writers - all of us interested in storytelling and other worlds - I'm thinking a new term might be needed.

I've pondered a while, but I'm not finding it easy. Here are some very early suggestions.

  • fictionts - following 'sophont', for our feeling for fiction
  • fictonts
  • ficts

  • Dmers - as 'gamer', but taking into account the ideas in the D1 discussion
  • D-ers - two syllables people
  • Ds

To say some of these might not catch on is understatement.

Can anyone take this thinking in a new direction or offer any other suggestions? Could be you don't even think there's a need for a single term. I'd be glad of all thoughts.


The Angry Lurker said...

I believe we're all gamers, I see no divide really other than there is more scope for imagination in roleplaying games than historical but that doesn't mean it's not used in both, I see sometimes the issue is access to both. I have had little or no access to roleplaying in my time but if asked to role-play I wouldn't hesitate to accept.

C'nor (Outermost_Toe) said...

I do both, so I'd agree that we really need to have new nomenclature.

Desert Scribe said...

I consider myself a gamer. My wife considers me her nerd. :)

Sean Robson said...

Are we not gamers? We are Devo!

Paul´s Bods said...

As I have are all a figment of MY imagination ...and I allow you all the luxury of believing yourselves to be "real" and "independant"
To run would be futile and hiding equally so. Only I exist. ;-D
Existants..there´s another term...the ones who control and allow the game to run, to be.

Bartender said...



Porky said...

@ The Angry Lurker - I'm with you as far as the gaming goes - your approach is probably the approach of most. The trouble is the aspect of imagination overlaps with many other related areas. I'm wondering mostly about that.

And I realise now I didn't even consider the three plus cooks, the possible fine artists and musicians and even the ghost hunter(s).

@ C'nor (Outermost_Toe) - You write too of course, in the sense that story and setting elements can be independent of gaming, and very well - NetherWerks wants more, and that's acclaim in my book. And that's three things at least.

@ Desert Scribe - 'Gamer' is definitely a good term for the approach to games that you, C'nor, Angry and Sean exemplify, along with most of the gamesplayers reading this blog I'd guess. I thought about 'nerd' too, but it's very much wider in scope and not everyone might even want to use it, or think of themselves as covered by it. We're certainly not asocial for example, or at least not as a rule.

@ Sean Robson - Oh, No! It's Devo! You played a big part in the thinking of course, especially with the follow-up post. 'Devos' might work, if we think of the title in the same way the band did, highlighting a perceived 'de-evolution' in society. That could be shaky ground though. On the plus side it's close enough to 'Davros' to excite.

@ Paul's Bods - There's no holding you back recently..! That suggestion could work and also leads the thinking on to things like 'makers', referencing Dune, and 'small gods' as an homage to Pratchett, both terms covering everyone as authors or creators. You really are on fire!

@ Bartender - I'm taking this seriously, even if that's not the only way you meant it. It makes me wonder whether we can get rid of terms altogether, but if something is needed, whether it's better to have fewer large classifications or many smaller.

Papa JJ said...


Unknown said...

I usually call myself the GeekGothic Librarian and I'm totally happy with being called a gamer and a geek (which contains gamer, for me), but Imaginaut is a nice broad concept. That works for gamers, artists, musicians, ghost hunters and even cooks, I'd say - anyone who really uses their imagination to accomplish things. I like it.

Paul´s Bods said...

OOH! Dune! "by the power of will, I set my mind in motion". Great stuff, the idea of bending thoughts which then bend space and time.
There is however a danger...the one of personal conceptionality being a danger to all around them...if anyone has seen the film shutter island they will know what I mean.

Porky said...

@ Papa JJ - Excellent suggestion. It's actually quite a popular term already so would be building on a stronger foundation too.

@ Jedediah - 'Geek' works for me, but like 'nerd' it might not be everybody's favourite..! I'm definitely with you on 'imaginaut'.

@ Paul's Bods - So maybe 'navigators' or 'folders' - possibly even 'benders'?. If setting worlds in motion, there's also 'enablers' or 'enactors'. Haven't seen that one, but you make me think of Forbidden Planet.

Dave Garbe said...

I recently talked with a buddy of mine on this topic actually. He brought up that the term "Gamer" is becoming useless because it's too broad. It's happening as things that used to be obscure are getting more mainstream and accepted - good thing? yes, but it means that a single word to encapsulate everyone doesn't work as well.

"gamers" as in video games, roleplaying, etc, for the longest time and still in a lot of situations aren't an accepted demographic by "the masses".

However, thanks to console gaming, that's changing. From Mario Bros. to Madden or NFL.. sports video gamers were "ok" because they were about sports.. but "video gamers" were still strange people. Now, thanks to games like Halo, the "college kid" or "jock" crowd will just as easily pick up a video game as they'd pick on the "gamer" kid.

So, does 1 word still work - "gamer" - I don't think so. Really, it breaks down into your genre. Roleplaying gamer, video gamer, etc..

But even then, doing these things doesn't make you part of that crowd. The jock that plays Halo before hitting up the bars isn't a "video gamer", just someone who like video games. I think to say you're an ______er means it defines or eats up a good chunk of your life.

@Porky: I always saw a distinction between "geek" and "nerd". Geek being the socially well(/ish) adjusted and nerd often being the stereotype.

Loquacious said...

I refuse the "Devo" label... it's wrong on so many levels! (Note that TheDude has an unhealthy affliction of adoration for the Spuds...)

Porky said...

@ Dave G _ Nplusplus - Good points as always. I see what you mean about a single term becoming less suitable over time with increasing fragmentation, although I'm tempted to argue this means we need a single term more than ever, to remember we're more alike than different. I also think you're right on the button when you say there can be a distinction between 'gamer' and 'someone who plays games'. Again though, there's a shared experience there I think helps us all if it's remembered, whether in learning from different approaches or reduced potential conflict. 'Geek' and 'nerd' is a funny one. While I'd agree they do have different senses, I realise I'm not sure exactly what those senses are. It could even be there are local differences in use.

@ Loquacious - Refusal noted. One less in the list does make things easier. There's nothing unhealthy about spuds lower-case, but upper-case I'm less sure - I'll keep an open mind and trust his judgement..!

Dave Garbe said...

"Gamer" still works overall, to a degree.

To use examples we're already accustomed to, how about this:
If I happen to cut my hair from time to time, does that make me a "barber"?

Yes, there's a shared experience, but I don't think the action is strong enough to define someone with a larger title.

I always pictured "geek" as that person who doesn't have a problem interacting with people, has a normal job, doesn't fear sunlight, etc. The "nerd" stereotype to me is the scrawny kid who's bad in groups, prefers to stay to themselves, etc.