Reaching Video Gamers
Probably the biggest group of gamers are those that play video games. Come on youth workers, you know you like to play too! I do! Although in recent years I’ve cut down my game playing considerably, marriage does that.
Understanding the Language
Part of the key of understanding video gamers is to decode their language. Often called gamespeak, or gamerspeak or even leetspeak. Missionaries learn to speak the language of those they are living with, and the same is true here. You could write a book on the words and jargon that gamers use when speaking to each other or about their particular games. New words and abbreviations are being invented everyday. It’s like trying to keep up with text messaging!
“I was FPS’ing today and I got 25 frags! Then some newb gibbed me.”
Does that make sense to you? If it does you probably have a good handle on the language. If not, let me suggest the following site to you. Writer Greg Costikyan offers a great article on the different words, phrases and abbreviations that gamers use. It certainly isn’t an exhaustive list but it’s a great start for more research.
Understanding Casual vs. Hardcore Gamers
If you play video games and either 1) are married 2) have children or 3) have a full time job…chances are that you are a casual gamer. You play when you have free time. That is what a casual gamer is: someone who plays video games just for life. Contrast that to the hardcore gamer who devotes at least 40 hours a week to video games.
Let me give you an example of an extreme hardcore gamer. Bradster controls 11 computers and owns 36 different accounts of World of Warcraft. He spends $5711 a year just in subscription costs for the game. That’s not including the electric bill! I can’t even fathom something like that! Now, this is an extreme example. This is not typical. But there are some that will devote 60 to 70 hours a week to a game. During my World of Warcraft days I remember playing with some players that could be found online pretty much at all times. They did more with their online life than their real life.
Casual gamers tend to play a wide variety of different games. Hardcore gamers tend to favor 1 or 2 types of games.
Websites to Help
Kotaku is a great site that brings the latest in video game news right to you.
What They Play is a site I’ve mentioned before but it bears repeating. It breaks down video games in terms that helps anyone who doesn’t play games understand. Let’s say a student tells you about this great game he’s been playing. You’ve never heard of it. So you can go home, look it up on this site and learn pretty much all you need to know to hold a conversation about it. Instant connection.
ABC News offers this handy dandy guide featuring more lingo definitions and even an explanation for ESRB ratings. It’s worth the read!