Urban Dictionary defines a hardcore gamer as “someone who plays video games as a primary hobby. They tend to spend large amounts of time playing games, often in excess of two or three hours a day.” As many hardcore gamers as there are out there I’m willing to bet there are even more softcore gamers. Young kids who love Mario Cart, weekend warriors with an Xbox 360 in the man cave, or university students like me who are just trying to improve their Starcraft II ranking. The first thing I was told when I got to college was that between a social life, good grades, and sleep, you can only pick two. What if I want it all and to play games?
One of the major frustrations of the casual and mid-level gamer is that there never seems to be enough time to get what you want out of your favorite games. Whether it be completing the Mass Effect 3 story arc or competing on the same playing field as your friends at Counter Strike. The lack of time contributes to exasperation that detracts from the fun escape your looking for. There is a reason you are not a hardcore gamer in the first place. You are not willing to give up the grades, work, time with the kids, girlfriend/boyfriend, sports, etc. One key is time management. Being effective with your time can allow you to play more games. Another option is to try to find friends who are into gaming. I do not really enjoy playing games alone so finding friends with similar interests has been a great way to have a social life and play my favorite titles. The last time maximizing tool is to invest in cooperative games such as Borderlands 2 and Minecraft. Titles that promote multiplayer are a great way to spend time with friends and family while gaming.
The second frustration of the softcore gamer is the amount of scorn in society for gaming. Hardcore gamers have zoomed past this concern but most softcore gamers are a bit more hesitant. Games such as World of Warcraft have developed such a negative taboo that people are afraid to play them. Girls who enjoy video games also seems to be a taboo. This to me is really sad. Especially since so many people enjoy so many games of all types. Games like Fifa and Madden have achieved massively mainstream appeal unlike more intense fair. I suppose thats just segregation of opinion in society which happens with everything but it strikes hard when it might apply to you. It reminds you to pursue a less judgmental stance on everything and anything. I, like many others, have a diverse group of friends. Some view gaming favorably, some do not. Are you supposed to conceal your passions depending on your environment? Many would argue that people do that all the time. Maybe it does make life easier. Maybe it makes it harder. I guess its just up to the individual’s priorities. My advice would be to embrace everything about yourself. A true friend will understand and not belittle you as long as they know you also have their back.
Another challenge that many gamers experience is the amount of funds that gaming can require. A premium gaming computer can cost upwards past one thousand dollars. Many struggle to afford the titles they want to play. Fortunately there are many affordable gaming options. One option that I am particularly exited about is the upcoming Ouya gaming console. The Ouya is a 99$ console with every game following a free-to-play model. The Ouya is a stark contrast from the other consoles that feature much higher starting prices plus 60$ games. Look for the Ouya to hopefully hit the scene next spring. Another great affordable gaming option is Steam. Steam is a digital distribution and community platform that distributes games for PC and Mac that range from small independent developers to larger publishers. Many of the indie titles on Steam are only a few dollars and can be extremely rewarding. Steam is a great alternative for people looking for more substance than smartphone games. However the Android and Apple marketplaces do feature many free or affordable games. These games tend to be geared strongly toward the casual gaming arena but nonetheless many believe mobile gaming is the future. The Android development kit is free so if you think you might be interested in developing games on the side Android is a fantastic place to start. There are many software options such as the MIT App Inventor that can guide you through the sometimes overwhelming process of app developing.
My final dilemma for softcore gamers is the ability to compete with your hardcore friends/adversaries while still pursuing your other life commitments. I happen to be an extremely competitive person who has always had an appetite for sizing up against other gamers online. These are a few tricks that can elevate your game without deflating your lifestyle.
“TwitchTV is the world’s largest video game broadcasting and chat community. We’re dedicated to connecting people around the games they love.” – TwitchTV
TwitchTV allows you to watch pro-gamers play your favorite games. Many of the pro-gamer’s streams feature commentary that is stocked full of helpful tips to improve your ability. TwitchTV has been an invaluable resource in improving my Starcraft II knowledge. Not to mention it is a ton of fun.
2. Just Ask
When someone online seizes your will and buries in a graveyard. Be like “Hey man, you got mad skillz yo, how did you did that?” More often than not they will be happy to lend you a few pointers.
3. Be positive
It sounds cheeky. But it is really important. Gaming can bring out the worst in people when things get rough. Just remember to have fun and relax and your play will thank you for it.
Gaming is a fantastic hobby that promotes creativity, strategic thinking, and friendship. Enjoy the art. Master your craft. Commit the time you think is acceptable and have fun. I hope to catch you out there.