Op-Ed: Time Magazine’s Gamer Stereotyping Fiasco Needs to Spark a Discussion

The media still paints us as outcasts and we shouldn’t accept that.

By Anthony Vigna. Posted 08/07/2015 15:00 15 Comments     ShareThis

Time, you screwed up big time.

Gaming used to be a niche hobby when it was introduced over three decades ago. But now, the industry is a behemoth that over 1.2 billion people support worldwide. Yet, no matter how popular gaming is and the progress we make as a society in accepting gaming culture, we still have media outlets like Time perpetuating gamer stereotypes that are not relevant and ridiculously outdated.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me provide some context for what I’m talking about by taking a look at Time’s front page story on virtual reality:

Upon seeing this cover, my initial reaction was to burst out laughing. I know it’s hard to make virtual reality look cool, but is making Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey jump awkwardly around a beach really the solution to that problem? But don’t worry, it gets worse! The text itself makes the whole gaming community seem like a complete joke:

Palmer Luckey, the creator of the Oculus Rift, is not your typical nerd…He’s cheery and talks in normal sentences that are easy to understand. He was home schooled, and though he did drop out of college, it was California State University, Long Beach, where he was majoring not in computer science but in journalism. He prefers shorts, and his feet are black because he doesn’t like wearing shoes, even outdoors. He doesn’t look like a guy who played Dungeons & Dragons so much as a character in Dungeons & Dragons. He’s a nerd from a different century, working on the problems of a different century.

Yup, you heard that right! Consider yourself a gamer? Enjoy playing Nintendo games like everyone else here on Nintendojo? Well, don’t even bother writing a comment to this post because Time doubts that you’d be able to write in normal sentences that are easy to understand!

Unfortunately, these kinds of comments are nothing new to me. A year ago, I wrote a post on this site explaining that I hate the negative connotations associated with the word gamer because I don’t want the community to be stereotyped. I was proud to see our users commenting on how they love to use the word and try to own it, but as long as the media and the general population continue to spew out this kind of garbage, the stereotype will always exist. The fact that someone published this Time article in the present is a perfect example of how these negative connotations have persisted over time. It’s a weird paradox: video games have become a bigger industry than film and music combined, but we still have ignorant people putting labels on the gaming community.

However, in this particular case, it’s not just gamers that are under fire. Time also made blanket statements about nerds as a whole, putting Luckey on a pedestal for being a so-called normal person within the label it has given him. The irony is that Luckey isn’t an exception to this label and is instead a representation of how “nerds” really are. I know this may be hard for Time to understand, but we don’t all live in our parent’s basement and have no lives. We’re regular, ordinary human beings.

Time’s cover is absolutely hilarious and I love that people are sharing it on the Internet, but I hope that the text of the article gets some spotlight as well. I don’t want this to be something that we just shrug off and forget until the next time the media stereotypes us again. Instead, I hope that this generates a discussion and gets people talking. The more people that talk about this, the closer we can get to having our interests accepted by the general population.

15 Responses to “Op-Ed: Time Magazine’s Gamer Stereotyping Fiasco Needs to Spark a Discussion”

  • 459 points
    Drew Ciccotelli says...

    TIME magazine don’t mean shit.

    Thumb up 1
    • 1358 points
      xeacons says...

      TIME in and of itself doesn’t. But when every media outlet seems to have some obligation to bash the gaming industry, yeah, it means a lot. News shows from Fox to NBC (who’d have thought they’d agree). The only one’s playing games one TV are little kids. And remember when every sitcom had to have that one episode that bashed TV? Now guess who’s getting targeted?

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    • 0 points
      says...

      I just thought: Who the hell even reads Time except for a bunch of metro snobs? Then I thought: Who the hell even reads Time?

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  • 0 points
    says...

    I just ignore stuff like this. If I cared what others perceived gamers to be, I would waste valuable gaming time. Who wants to do that? I will say I’m offended by the cover though-kind of ghey.

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  • 0 points
    says...

    Who cares if we’re outcasts? Why do we need the validation from a bunch of elitist pricks anyway? I can live and die not caring what the mainstream thinks of me or my hobby.

    Thumb up 1
    • 180 points
      Anthony Vigna says...

      That’s the thing though: we’re not outcasts. The same people that make these kinds of comments probably play tons of games on their smartphones. Lots of people play video games, yet comments like this are made all the time.

      I get what you’re saying about ignoring this. I tend to not associate myself with people that say stuff like this as well. But when a major publication has the power to influence a large group of people, it’s a big deal to me. There’s no reason to perpetuate a stereotype that is not relevant.

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      • 0 points
        says...

        Good point about “smartphones”, which make people look stupid as they walk around with their faces buried in them, swiping away. It’s called hypocrisy, those that would bash “regular gaming”, whatever that is considered to be these days, vs the “cool factor” of being seen with a silly little phone playing angry birds or whatever. The masses are asses. You have to remember though, in many cases the stereotype sometimes is the truth. Not always obviously, but these people do exist. I’m not one of them, so whatever the illustrious Time magazine thinks, really shouldn’t bother us too much. They can influence the ignorant all they want, I’ll keep playing games in my Mom’s basement, lol. There are always people like this in life, perpetuating stereotypes. Imagine if someone was to bash or stereotype people that like sports though. Then, the gloves would be off and all hell would break loose. It’s the same kind of nonsense, I’ve heard sports types bash gamers; meanwhile this kind of criticism comes from a bunch of grown men that dress in tights, chase a ball around, and like to jump on each other and pat each others tushes. If they think WE are ridiculous, then they have to apply that same logic to themselves. Don’t see that much though, and I agree it is PC to bash gamers,but not much you can really do but voice your opinion, then go enjoy a game.

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  • 1358 points
    xeacons says...

    Um, you remember when we were complaining this week about how Nintendo and other Japanese developers tend to think of NA as an afterthought? All the bundles Jap and Euro are getting, Xenoblade and Mario Maker, and we don’t, not to mention the games we miss entirely.

    It’s because of this. Media outlets and powerful Americans talk about us in 3 separate (minority) groups:
    1. Children (who will grown out of gaming)
    2. Parents’ Basement Nerds
    3. Smart Device-Obsessed Middle-Aged Women

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    • 0 points
      says...

      Maybe these things have some truth, but I would rather play a “child’s game” than Call of Dookie any day of the week, and I’m proud of that. It’s typically teenagers with no life experience, and no military experience who think these games are the best, and look down on Nintendo type “kid” games. As one with certain experiences, there is no restart button if you die in military service, and glorifying it is dangerous. But, teens are dumb as rocks even though they think they know it all. “Smart Device-Obsessed Middle-Aged Women”? I haven’t heard of that particular gaming segment. I wonder if they are the same ones who took their teenage daughters to see twilight and drooled over teenage boys? Now if it was a middle aged guy taking his son to see teenage girls, they would be called a pedophile. It’s PC gone mad.
      I’m not really sure this has anything to do with why we don’t get certain games, but who knows. Perhaps. “Smart” devices are perhaps the biggest threat to true gaming-which is why Nintendo may be ahead of the curve on this one. They may see the beginning of the end. Still, that doesn’t explain the PS4, a system with really only a couple of titles that are worth playing, yet it’s sold like 25 million systems??? Meanwhile the Wii U has the best games out, followed by the xbone and they are selling badly. WEIRD.

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  • 0 points
    says...

    No kidding, good points there. All games much better than COD. Ha.

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    • 1358 points
      xeacons says...

      Yet, I can’t stop thinking about how we’ve lost so many good developers. Capcom ditched us with RE: Revelations 2, and Ubisoft quit making M-rated games. That wouldn’t be a problem except that aside from one or two hits (Rayman Legends, Child of Light), all other Wii U Ubi games are either M, or complete shovelware.

      Thumb up 0
      • 459 points
        Drew Ciccotelli says...

        I would love if Shinji Mikami would develop a survival horror for Wii U. It would be the most immersive lesson in fear ever created.

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        • 0 points
          says...

          At this point I wish that would happen too, but if anything a game that Mikami would be making would likely be for the NX. That could be good or bad, depends on your viewpoint. I would love to see stuff coming out for the Wii U, but the writing seems to be on the wall for the Wii U. Which makes me a bit angry, since I think the system is highly underrated.

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      • 0 points
        says...

        No kidding. Nintendo needs to release that NX system, and get developers on board that stay there. It’s up to Nintendo, hope they learned their lesson with being always behind the curve, but long experience has shown that they do their own thing no matter what. It will be interesting to see what happens NeXt.

        Thumb up 0

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