I recently stumbled onto a long-running internet joke: DarksydePhil. I would link to his Youtube page, but I really don’t want to give him any more traffic than he’s already got. Instead, check out the “How to NOT play ________” videos where the blank is whatever Phil’s latest Let’s-Play-style video was about. This guy is basically everything that’s ever been wrong with video game nerds, but learning about him has really made me reflect on my experiences with the different types of gamers I’ve encountered.
- The Selfish Gamer: This is the guy that invites you over to his house because he’s got the new Tony Hawk that just came out for PS2. You’re excited; you’ve been waiting to bust some nollies as Spiderman for what feels like your whole life. As soon as you sit down, he starts showing off the gear and characters he’s unlocked. Okay, that’s cool, that’s cool…that’s cool too, I guess. Then he jumps into single player. Okay, probably just showing me what’s new with the game. But then he keeps playing single player. He keeps playing until you make some excuse to bike home cause you’re just way too frustrated.
- The Angry Gamer: Ever seen some Dualshock-sized holes in your friend’s wall? Ever wondered why the pads on her Rock Band drumset are covered in duct tape? Ever heard a dad stop the family dog from going into his daughter’s room because he doesn’t want it to get any more “ragequit” bruises? This kind of gamer is sick of all the shit they’ve put up with their whole life, holding in all that rage for the moment when they can take it out on some inanimate object that doesn’t bend to their will: in most cases, a tricky puzzle game or a too-fast DDR-sim song. Steer clear when these guys are playing single player. Oddly enough, they seem to mellow out a bit when they’re playing multiplayer, or at least that’s been my experience.
- The Blameless Gamer: DarksydePhil is a Blameless Gamer. What I mean is that no matter what he’s done wrong, no matter how little he’s paid attention to the tutorials (which he makes a point to mock every time), it’s never his fault when he screws up. This type of gamer has an eye for literally every possible flaw a game might have, real or fictional. Be prepared to hate this person when you meet them. It’s the equivalent of the DUI convict who claims “the kid shouldn’t have been in the middle of the street” because cars own streets, not people. Get your shakers ready: these people are salty as hell.
- The Troll: You know that guy that makes you regret turning on team-kill or even inviting him in the first place? I don’t even have to explain this one. It’s basically the slightly more involved version of your sibling coming into the room and uplugging your controller halfway through a jump so Mario gets crushed by some mindless goomba.
- The Overly-Excited Casual: These people act like they’ve never even seen a video game before. You invite them to a party and someone busts out the Goldeneye or Halo and all of a sudden you can hear blood-curdling screams and hysterical laughter coming from your living room: the Overly-Excited Casual has entered the game. Of course they’re terrible at the game, yet every move they make, if we’re to trust they’re reactions, has shifted the tectonic plates of the Earth.
- The Neutral Gamer: These guys will play whatever with whoever; they just don’t care. Often confused with the “casual” gamer, neutral gamers only play when others ask them to and even then, they can’t bring themselves to care. If you’ve ever felt like you’re forcing someone to play with you, you’ve probably encountered the Neutral Gamer. They’re also often characterized by saying “whatever, it’s just a game” and refusing to learn new strategies to win, regardless of how simple they might be.
- The Helper: Not all types of gamers are terrible. If you’ve ever had a friend who was a Helper, you’ll know what I mean. These people will show you a quick snippet of the game then immediately put a controller in your hand and watch you play until you hand it back, offering tips the whole time without giving anything away. This type of gamer became more and more present in my life as I got older; some people even turned from one type to a Helper as they matured, something I’ll always be grateful for. Just make sure to return the favour!
- The Best Friend: You’re lucky to find one or two of these types of gamers in your lifetime. What makes them hard to pin down as a group is that they’re all different. Basically, the Best Friend gamer is someone who’s play style matches yours exactly, whether that’s hotseating the new Mass Effect game, slamming homies at a Pokemon Stadium minigame party, or just watching each other play. There’s always support to be had in a Best Friend, so don’t let them slip through your fingers when you find yours.
I’m sure there are a lot more categories that gamers fall into, and there is of course tons of crossover. Let me know of any more if you can think of any. Keep in mind, these are only the types I’ve encountered and I’ve only had a minor interaction with gaming communities throughout my life.