Inside Pulse 12

A Thumb To The Eye Number 6

“Is
the
“Hardcore” gamer gone? No, but now the “Hardcore” gamer seems to be looking to the
past,
not the future…”
-Jeff Watson
It’s like a fucked up haiku, isn’t it? If I wasn’t so upset that someone decided to take it upon themselves to make such a widely inaccurate blanket statement about a group of people I invariably belong to, no matter what criteria you choose, I would point out the inanity of even trying to define the term “hardcore gamer,” much less trying to speak for such a vast group. How can it be that the “hardcore gamer” is looking to the past, not the future when game sales are impressively high and games that would have never even been released in English a few years ago are now being released here and are selling? This mythical “hardcore gamer” who haunts E- Bay buying up Intellivision games and shunning all future games until they are out of print doesn’t even exist, and if he did, his gaming life would be shallow and uninteresting. I present you with the three reasons I personally think the idea of what a “hardcore gamer” is have been distorted to the point of not reflecting anyone’s reality, a few comments by other staffers on what “hardcore” is, and I’ll let you decide.
My number one scapegoats for the demise of the “hardcore gamer” are the game hoarding E-Bay junkies. They have turned gaming into a kind of rat race where whomever ends up with the most games at the end wins. This philosophy is at work in Watson’s opinion piece and is a horror beyond horrors. This commodification of gaming to the point that finding a game is the equivalent to beating it and owning the game is tantamount to mastering it makes hunting a rare game on E- Bay or in the shops a game onto itself. This game of acquisition has replaced practice, precision and skill with money, time, and accumulation. These “Hoardcore” gamers fill up closets and rooms with games they have no intention of ever beating or even, in some cases playing. Hell, Tips and Tricks magazine even has a “ËœCollector’s Closet’ section each month telling you what is going to be valuable, a self fulfilling prophesy since most people who read it will get into bidding wars on an auction site for said items because “Ëœthe magazine said so.’ Is there anything wrong with buying and collecting a large amount of games? No, just as there is nothing wrong with buying a few hundred comic books as long as you buy them for enjoyment. But as long as a magazine article is out there encouraging people to buy two or more copies of a game perceived as rare or someone on a bulletin board bragging about the immense collection of boxed Genesis games they have just purchased off of the Internet because they were told they were “Ëœcollector’s items,’ I have a problem with hoardcore gamers jacking up the prices of games they have no intention of playing.
On the opposite end of the rare and expensive spectrum, but still blowing huge wads of cash,are the “whorecore” gamers who are buying so many games at such a rapid pace they could stop buying games tomorrow and still have something to play the rest of their lives. The primary reason that whorecore gamers are thriving at the moment is a severe change in the price of games from the $50 to $70 range of the NES days to the $20 to $50 range for a new, off the shelf game today. That doesn’t even include the blowout prices that Blockbuster and other video rental stores and the used game market sell games. A Playstation 2 owner could quite easily live entirely with bargain and Greatest Hits games and be happy as a pig in shit, and STILL only buy quality games. What separates the whorecore gamer, though, is the way they accumulate games at an incredibly high rate and when it turns out that the pile of games in their living room aren’t going to fulfill the hole in their souls and they end up either selling everything off cheap or throwing it into a closet. This sort of buying is what killed Atari and the other early Eighties game companies, along with Scarface like cocaine usage, and can severely damage the current industry if it goes on unchecked. Seriously, if you see someone pick up a cheap but shitty game, pull it out of their hands and put a good one there. If they resist, tackle them to the ground and wrest the offending piece of tripe from their grasp. If that doesn’t work, follow them home and totally use your Ninja powers to break into their living room and replace the bad game with a copy of GunGrave. If they wake up, feel free to flip out and bust them up bad. (If you have no idea about ninja’s flipping out, check out WWW.realultimatepower.com, just make sure you don’t have a soda in your hand, otherwise you will so totally shoot it out of your nose.) Okay, don’t really break any laws, but politely explain that the game they are buying is a pile of shit and the need this copy of Headhunter like a million times more. Or club them like baby seals. No, wait, don’t club them like baby seals…
The third and final group of gamers that consider themselves “hardcore” and give all gamers a bad name are… those spastic morons that take it WAY too far and make all of us look like idiots. Like Cosplay to anime and people in crotchless Disney character costumes to furries, we have fools who insist on getting themselves attention through their gaming in completely inane and harmful ways. You have people who play so much God damned Everquest that they lose their real life in exchange for a bag of holding and a magic sword. Or the envelope art sections of magazines filled with some pastiche of a game character and a pop culture reference that will be dated and lame long before it sees print. I am talking about the people that choose to, instead of playing the games, write page after page of fan fiction or sit in forums and make up news just to pass the time and then tenaciously stand by your lie until you’ve convinced yourself it’s true. Fatal1ty and every other mother humping idjit who plays in for pay Quake tournaments and thinks it’s a sport. If gaming is a sport, so is beating off, and I really don’t want that in the Olympics. End of rant….

Now, I’m going to let you read how some of the other 411Games crew guys feel about the whole thing. (Some text edited and spell checked.)

I am thoroughly addicted to DDR, and not ashamed of it. So much so that I must have spent more than $1,000 on the actual games, import set-ups, and quality dance pads. This makes me a hardcore gamer.
Alex Williams

Besides, anyone who admits to dancing alone to a video game MUST be hardcore.

I’ve run my SEGA College Basketball 2K3 career nearly into the 22nd century. My friends and I can carry on a conversation using only “Cyberball” play names. I can tell you every person who has been on a Boston Celtics NBA Jam/Hangtime team from Kevin McHale and the late, great Reggie Lewis on. I bought an SNES just so I could get NCAA Basketball. I can run through the entire old WWF Superstars arcade game (beating Andre the Giant twice in the process) on one quarter. I hate the PS2 version of Crazy Taxi because B.D. Joe’s voice talent is different from the arcade version. I have beaten Mike Tyson twice in my life, once by decision, once by knockout. My bachelor party consisted of going to Hooters and then having the entire party back to my apartment to drink alcohol and play Mario Kart 64 and GoldenEye.
Cory Laflin
Cory Laflin, lord of sports games. Seriously, though, he is a perfect example of someone who doesn’t import or retrogame but has way too much fun playing new games to not be hardcore.

As for me, I may not be considered hardcore by your standards, but I have owned most Nintendo Consoles, starting with the NES (the ROB version, sadly enough), SNES, N64, GC, GB, GBP, and GBASP. No original GBA or GBC. I’ve also managed to stay away from consoles that completely failed (3DO and Jaguar), but sadly was not a fan of SEGA until the dying days of the Dreamcast. So I’m probably not as hardcore as the rest of these guys, but I REALLY spend too much time and money on games, but hey, they’re a lot of fun.
Lee Baxley

Don’t let Lee fool you, he’s an RPG player and an avid anime fan, thus making him hardcore. Oh, and he loves the underrated Xenogears/ Saga series, a personal favorite, making him good people as well. Too bad about his love of the booze, though…

I don’t consider myself a hardcore gamer though
See, I consider Hardcore an insult. Like those damn elite gamers.I own old systems because I loved them and loved the games and entertainment they provided me with. In exchange for the memories I have kept them in excellent condition and still am able to appreciate just what they have given me.

I don’t retrogame to be different. I don’t retrogame to be alternative. I retrogame because I don’t find many of the games on the current systems to be at the level of quality games used to have.

Games didn’t used to be so buggy they required patches or recalls. Game’s weren’t made with the next three sequels already planned. Sports games weren’t updated ever year just for the sake of profit. Games had plots, and Quality control, and were made with skill and precision. Now like every other thing that has been Americanized, games are put out with speed first, and attention to detail second.

I’m don’t import because I’m hardcore. I import because I know Japanese and because there are some games that I love that will never make it to American shores for a variety of reasons. I don’t import to say ‘HA! I have a game months earlier than you even though I can’t read Kanji.’ I don’t import a game for it to be a geek status symbol. I import only when I have to and because I really will love that game.

When I hear the word hardcore, I think of people who buy games to buy games. To have a large collection. Who did it to impress other geeks. Who buy Radiant Silvergun for 200 bones off Ebay but can’t beat the damn thing. People who buy the Sakura Taisen games because they’ve heard how great they are but don’t know any Kanji. People who bought a certain 200$ tank game not to play it, but to say they have it.

And those people need an ass kicking. They don’t love games, they’re just desperately trying to be cool or popular with some crowd, even if it is geeky losers.

So No, I’m not hardcore. I’m a guy that appreciate the labor and skill that went into the old systems and can look past the flashy graphics of today into the heart of games and see that the new games are just pretty fluff filled with bugs and other assorted lack of precision while the old games are still built to last.

Exactly Fred. it’s like I said in my Neo Geo article last week. I can AFFORD to plop down 325$ on a cart for that system. Because I appreciate and love it. it’s not a hardcore geeky status symbol. I want to support one of my favorite companies. Doesn’t make me hardcore. I can afford the game! But if like Lee said, I saved for months to get it, then yeah. That would be ‘hardcore.’ But only if I played it and loved it instead of wrapping it in bubble wrap and only letting friends look at the cart and not allow them to play it. Those gamers are creepy.

And at the same time, as we’ve talked on IM, I have no problem LENDING the game to Fred for a month or so after I get it. Because I know you’ll mail it back, you won’t break it, and you’ll take good care of it.

It’s all about passion.

Here’s an example of today. I went into the local Electronic Boutiques and they were having a CRAAAZY Labor day sale. And I nearly bought MKA for 25$, and Metroid prime for 25$ (NEW! BOTH NEW!)

Then I stopped and saw they had one copy each of two other GC games for 19.99 Evolution Worlds and Summoner: A Goddess Reborn.

Actually RPG games for the GC! And guess which two games I bought.

Now? I already have both Evolutions for the Dreamcast. But here’s why I bought these two. There’s a drought of RPG’s on the GC. And everything purchased at one of these stores is tallied. I got two games for a little cheaper. Both are decent to better than average RPG’s and more importantly it sends a message to Nintendo and the developers: MORE RPG’S on the GC!

Now yes, I know. One person’s purchase doesn’t make a difference. But it’s a start. I want a third Evolution. I want more Ubi Soft games on the GC! I want more RPG’s on the GC. One more guy buying Mortal Kombat and Metroid Prime won’t make a shit of a difference. But one more guy buying an RPG for the GC WILL. Because it shows another consumer wants that genre on their cube.

Does that make me hardcore? No. If I was ‘hardcore’ I’d have bought them all. And Timesplitters 2 as it was only 20$ to boot. Does it make me Hoardcore? No. I’m going to play and enjoy both of these games. I’ve been tempted to get s2 for a while, but have never seen it in stores or on www.ebworld.com. And I can’t wait to see how they’ve changed the Evolution games, if at all with this combined port.
It makes me a guy willing to support certain genres if they are lacking on a system. And also a guy who will support a company he loves, like Ubi Soft. 20$ to me isn’t a big deal. And it netted me TWO games on one disc that I know are good and gives Ubi Soft the knowledge the series is still liked and that the GC isn’t a bad system to develop for.

What is that called? I dunno. A Naive optimist who believe in doing the right thing for his ideals I guess.

See, if the time calls for it, I don’t mind listing what I have. Like when someone asked me what Saturn games should he buy in a mailbag and I just whipped out the list of the 60 or so games I own for that system and said ‘Get any of these within your budget.’ That wasn’t a small dick showing, that was helping.

And it’s scary. I own 22 GC games and people find THAT hard to believe. Owning 100 Xbox games? Nutty
Lucard

That was Alex Lucard being Alex Lucard, writing a solid third of my column AND helping me define hardcore. We’ll get to the new definition in a second.

Appreciation is at the heart of the matter. Lucard pinned the nail right on the head regarding it. Think of the matter with respect to resources one can put into gaming; specifically time, and money.

Initially, the one aspect of the ‘hardcore gamer’ argument that got me thinking was the time investment that some cats put into their hobby. If they put too much time into it, does that make them any more hardcore than a character that has taken over two years (and counting, damnit) to beat Xenogears? I mean, I’ve had school to contend with for quite some time now. But just because I don’t have every given minute to set aside to put to it, does that mean I can’t appreciate the work and ingenuity (sp.?) behind it? Am I that less hardcore?And with regards to cash… I’m almost Marxist in my sheer hatred for hourly-wage labor. So that means I’m more broke than that GBA on your little brother’s shelf ruined by a poor mod job. On certain message boards, I see these cats here and there boasting about the number of systems and the grandiose (sp.?) library of games in their coffers, proclaiming to their limited audience that the quantity of their games directly equates to the quality of their gaming ‘hardcore-ness.’Bullshit. Complete absurdity. Show me the kid whose saved his allowance to pick up Super Mario Advance 4 for his GBA on a 5 dollar a week allowance, just because he loves Mario that damn much. Show me the guy who works 48 hour weeks to barely get by in a one room shack (in Southern CA, this is a reality) but can work me at Soul Calibur- just because he loves it so much.

Passion is the real measuring unit of being ‘hardcore,’ if there really is a true state of ‘hardcore-ness.’

While I can’t expound on the subject any further at the risk of sounding too much like a quick study, that’s my abbreviated take on the whole situation. Do what you will with it.
Fred Badlissi

If Fred were ANY more right, I’d worship him. Appreciation, enjoyment, awe, and understanding the art of gaming are all things that make you hardcore, not buying a cocktail Pac-Man table for the corner of your living room.

Amen, guys. I’ve never considered hardcore to be a bad thing, but then again, I don’t consider otaku to be the insult that the Japanese do. If I did, I would have changed my column name a long time ago.

That’s one thing that Watson said recently that pissed me off. He started listing all his systems off like that made him some sort of special person, like he deserves praise for owning all of them. The funny thing is that his crowning achievement was 100 games for the XBox. I still cannot fathom owning 100 games for the XBox. I don’t own that many for the PS1! Then it all makes sense. The man does not enjoy games. He has no emotions. He is a robot. How else could you explain him reviewing some of those shitty games??
Lee

Speaks for itself, right?

I’m not hardcore in the traditional sense, don’t do imports, exotic systems or games, RPGs, fantasy, and of that stuff. I just like the new major release games… and spend all my spare $$ on new games, isn’t that hardcore Hehe
Chris

Chris has the love, though, and the love of the games is all that really matters.

As far as the hardcore thing goes….

I never said I was hardcore. lol.
Bebito

The reason Bebito never SAID he was hardcore is because we all know it. Seriously, between keeping Bella satisfied and all the work he does on this site, I’m amazed he has time to play any games. Salute!

So, what’s the point of all this, you ask? Well, the point is that real true honest hardcore gaming can’t be defined by anyone but yourself. In my heart I know it’s the feeling I get when I put a game into a new system for the first time and turn it on or when I see screen shots of a new game I have to play. It’s the trembling in my fingers when I realize the work and love that went into making this game I’m playing right now fun. Hardcore is the butterflies in your stomach when you land that perfect deep dragon punch and get all of your hits and it’s also when that perfectly laid out offense falls apart and you get that perfect, sweet sack on the quarterback and all your homies go silent. Being hardcore is feeling, sharing, and returning the love a good game can provide. So, next time you boot up your system of choice, make sure you are playing a game that makes you feel good, makes you happy to be a gamer and focus on enjoying that feeling instead of the $100 dollar imports on E- Bay. This is more than about a hobby, it’s about your way of life. Appreciate everything you can and forgive the rest. Especially if Treasure made it.