How do you deal with your gaming elitism in public?

I'll get this out of the way. I'm a pretentious son of a gun. I love all media. Film, television, novels. But, of course, I enjoy it on a much higher level than you plebians. And most of it is usually less mainstream fair.

As I'm no longer the sarcastic, condescending college student that I once was, I understand that not everyone is interested in being as obsessed and involved in these hobbies as I am. When someone tries to talk about how the latest Dane Cook film is so hilarious, or how awesome Nickelback is, or how wonderful American Idol was last night, rather than roll my eyes in disgust and mention that the only good film in theatres right now is the $40,000 existential drama made in Poland, I just smile, nod and say I'm not really into that if I'm pressed for my opinion. I realize that you can like and associate with people even if you think their taste is horrific. Hell, they might have the same negative opinion of my complete lack of fashion.

But when it comes to games, I just can't handle it. I avoid even acknowledging to many people in public that I share their hobby because I find it so hard to talk about games with them. Once the entertainment factor is active, not passive, I just don't understand how someone can waste time on awfulness.

Again, I don't expect the average gamer I meet at work or other social functions to be as interested in having lenghty online discussions on whether gaming consitutes as art. But when someone at work tells me that their favourite console is the Wii because the only game they've played this generation that is any good and not "boring and dumb" is Red Steel, how do I not cringe and come off as an ass when I counter their opinion? When someone claims that they get all their games off bittorrent, something I abhore anyways, then argues that the exception is anything made by EA because it's the only publisher they can trust, how do I not lose my cool?

So how do you guys handle discussing your pasttime amongst the common people, especially since you tend to have, shall we say, higher standards? Do you stand your ground when people tell you not to trust what the critics are saying because Bioshock is "the game where nothing happens" but 50 Cent: Bulletproof is being unfairly maligned? Or do you just smile and nod?

Also, since I clearly like feeling superior to others, feel free to share your experiences of meeting gamers who don't seem to know any better.


If you can smile and nod at people who love Dane Cook, I guess I don't see why you can't swallow the bile when it comes to games as well. Active or passive, one man's meat is another man's poison. I ask myself these exact same "how can you possibly like THAT?" questions about other people all the time, but I suppose it's just healthier in the long run to humor those you disagree with while trying to find others you DO.

I think I start by practicing online. That is, I do my best not to get too worked up about conversations in web forums.

Still practicing.

When you reach the highest level of gaming enlightenment, you ARE one with the game. There is nothing to explain to others. There is nothing the unenlightened can understand.

Powering up the contoller signals the beginning of your transition from the real world, the loading screen is but a journey through a liminal state of non-game to game, ending with your transformation and reconnection to the game. Hands flicker across the controls like tendrils of ether, there is no thought, each action a reaction, each reaction an action. You are one.

You should rejoice in those who have learned to enjoy 'the game.' It is not your place to question their tastes or belittle their likes. You might guide them to other similar gaming experiences you think they may enjoy, like a teacher to student, and help them along the path to gaming enlightenment. Yours is not to judge but to nurture, for we all hope there is a little bit of gamer in everyone.

And so it is written, and so it shall be.

kuddles' sig wrote:

Your favourite game is over-rated."

Easy...I simply don't argue to people who spell "favorite" with a "u".

kuddles wrote:


I try not to take myself seriously, and remember that i'm a geek, and not Oscar Wilde. That helps.

Most of the time if i have played the game and it sucked i just say that game sucks and explain in detail why its not good. I dont praise or take points if the grpahics are pretty or not. I'm more of a game mechanics person, over a look its pretty game.

I try to ignore it unless they specifically bring up games for some reason. For example I was hanging out with my girlfriend's sister and friends when they mentioned playing World of Warcraft , so i talked about my experiences just a little bit. Otherwise i keep my mouth shut.

Keep in mind that games are a tremendously young industry that is changing incredibly quickly, and lots of people don't even play a game a year. My Mom saw WoW running on my four-year-old machine and exclaimed that it had incredibly amazing graphics! And, since my Mom hasn't played a computer game seriously since the early 80s, she wasn't really wrong.

Also, the odds are pretty good that you haven't played the bad game they're liking. I had friends that were all gaga over Enter the Matrix on the XBox. My first inclination was to scoff. Then I realized that I hadn't actually played it. And, furthermore, my friends probably hadn't played the better games, had no idea that Shiny was capable of making something better, etc. So it was awesome.

What do I do? Well, I usually just ask them what they like about the game we're talking about. Then I'll frequently suggest similar modern games that they might also enjoy.

It's harder to do the

Bassmasa wrote:
kuddles' sig wrote:

Your favourite game is over-rated."

Easy...I simply don't argue to people who spell "favorite" with a "u".

Or, put another way:

Your "favourite" spelling is wrong.

I wanted to not put the quotes in there, but I couldn't help myself. Puns are not as important as proper punctuation!

I hang out here so I can talk to you guys about these issues.
I generally don't have these discussions in person, aside from conversations with friends. If I do end up talking to an acquaintence about gaming, it tends to dissolve into awkward silence after a short while, usually after I mention that I travelled to Taiwan and Germany for videogame competitions.

"Wow, really!? What game?"
"Guild Wars."
(blank look followed by a pause)
"Well that must have been cool. Did you win any money?"

I tend not to press the issue. I find a good barometer question is whether they use or have used Teamspeak/Ventrilo. If yes, we might actually play a game together at some point. If not, they're probably casual gamers. At this point if I ask what they play I've sometimes heard of the game, sometimes not, and another silence is soon to ensue because chances are I haven't played it and I'm not likely to either.

I'm not alone! I have this problem when trying to discuss....anything with anybody I've met in the last 5 years. I find that even my closest of friends share zero in common with me which is heartbreaking but not the end of the world. When people I meet ask what I like to do and it accidentaly slips out (as it always does) that I really like music and videogames I become instantly bombarded with people trying to make connections to me via these means.

"Oh yeah? You like videogames? Yeah man, I just played NBA Live 07 blah blah blah"

"You like metal music? Yeah man, I love Linkin Park!"

I simply cringe on the inside, smile, nod and tell them that while I do like metal or whatever genre of videogame they think they're talking about, I don't like whatever they are referring to. I have found that the best way to diffuse any music discussion is to simply tell people that I really like Japanese indie rock which leads to the hilarious:

"So like...they sing in Japanese or what?" And then silence about any and all music discussion for the rest of the time being.

I avoid all association with gamers IRL. I've been married a while, but it's a predatory reflex that seems to have stuck with me from the old college days. Besides, I'm fit, stunningly handsome, and cocky in an endearing, non-Comic Book Guy sort of way. No one would ever guess...

If I'm tempted to allow myself to get drug into an argument over games (or film or politics for that matter) over a few beers or whathaveyous, I simply recall an age old bit of wisdom that's never let me down:

Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level then beat you with experience.

Oh, also, idiots are people who don't agree with you.

locdog wrote:

Oh, also, idiots are people who don't agree with you.

So if someone agrees with you completely, are they as elite as you?

I guess I've gotten really adept at avoiding small talk over the years, because these situations just don't come up for me. I have a few close friends that are also gamers that have known me for years and are familiar with my tastes .. but outside of that the topic just never comes up. I pretty much avoid talking to random people whenever possible.

Kuddles, you're alive! I typically keep my mouth shut in public, if only to make sure my work life and my gaming life never meet.

I try not to tell people what I'm really thinking because they'd most likely run away crying and would never talk to me again.

Luna has a filthy, filthy mouth -- both when she's drunk and after receiving a good tea-bagging.

Prederick wrote:

I try not to take myself seriously, and remember that i'm a geek, and not Oscar Wilde. That helps.

Good advice.

wordsmythe wrote:

Luna has a filthy, filthy mouth -- both when she's drunk and after receiving a good tea-bagging.


Anyway, I've encountered enough elitism from others to recognize what an ass I'd sound like. I don't want to be the elitist prick you don't talk about games to for fear of being insulted.

I deal with my gaming elitism much the same way I deal with my general elitism.
I turn my brain off.
(notice, when drunk I have been known to become extremely elitist and combative)

I think I found your theme song!

The same way I deal with my parents' glowing reviews and recommendations for such fine films as "Underdog", "RV" and "Deck the Halls": Bite back your first ten responses, then weakly smile and nod. They mean well.

Certis wrote:

I typically keep my mouth shut in public, if only to make sure my work life and my gaming life never meet.

Prederick wrote:

I try not to take myself seriously, and remember that i'm a geek, and not Oscar Wilde. That helps.

I utilize a combination of both strategies. The latter is more challenging, because deep down I'm a elitist snob.

I usually just stay quiet while they talk on about the horrible games they like. Just yesterday as I was walking through the local Gamestop aisles, this teenage kid was raving on about how awesome Lair was. "It's so awesome! Everybody else thinks it's a bad game but who the f*ck cares? You're riding a dragon!" The first thought that came to my mind was that this kid couldn't tell a good game if it punched him in the face (/Dane_Cook), but immediately I realized that if I spoke up against his opinion, I would have absolutely no logical argument to back myself up. Since I care so little about Lair that I never even touched the game's box, I have no clue whatsoever how it plays out. If I spoke up under the influence of my elitism, I'd be a hypocrite.

One other time, I almost sighed out loud when a guy, a really nice guy, told me that he plays Madden '08 a lot in an attempt to associate with my hobby. His intention was clear and I really appreciated it, but my elitism almost got in the way. I can only assume that similar situations are going to arise in the near future. In the meantime, I just need to keep the elitism down, and hope to purge it eventually.

Bassmasa wrote:

Easy...I simply don't argue to people who spell "favorite" with a "u".

Oh, you uncultured Americans.

Certis wrote:

Kuddles, you're alive! I typically keep my mouth shut in public, if only to make sure my work life and my gaming life never meet.

Sorry to dissapoint you. Been a long summer.

And to all the responses suggesting not to bring it up, I suppose I agree with that sentiment. It's just that I feel like I'm too anti-social with work or other social acquaintances as it is. Not interested in talking about golf or cars, so when the opportunity arises where we might have common ground I feel like I need to capture it.

If you want a suggestion, kuddles, I think it might help to actually try and understand the activities that don't immediately hold your attention. Pull out the elements that are common between those and gaming. Responsibility in a given conversation goes to all parties after all, and if you're not interested in other people's topics, how do you expect them to be interested in yours? I'm not big on cars or golf either, but on some level I think I can appreciate the factors that make them fun.

When my friends kept on telling me about the racing techniques or the latest performance parts, I thought about the similarity between those and, say, Mech Warrior, a game which fuses skill with strategic tuning. Whenever I go and visit the folks, my father would enthusiastically teach me how to swing the golf club (He's a doctor, you see.), and I thought about the meticulous details required to handle a game of Counter-Strike. In conversations like these, if I felt that the people I was talking to had no particular hatred towards gaming, I'd relate the topics on hand to my personal gaming experience. This way, I'm able to introduce specific concepts and values of my hobby to other people in a way that can interest them and hold their attention. It's all about give and take.

I'm a total snob too.

I primary watch PBS & only go to independent theaters (I despise network television & "megaplex" theaters outside of a couple exceptions like The Office & Borat). I read classic lit & modern poetry pretty much exclusively. And I have a friend that is like a music encyclopedia, so I'm golden when it comes to hearing new, quality music (i.e. non-radio stuff). Hell, I even make a serious effort to go to theater a couple/few times a year...mostly the ballet.

Oh yeah, and I'm an avid gamer who generally only buys/plays double & triple A software.

The upshot?

I just keep my damn mouth shut when I'm around others. "That's nice." is a mantra that keeps me from coming off as an elitist prick when people share their tastes. I gave up long ago trying to convert people to what I feel is the best in culture. When I was younger, I think I tried to evangelize people over to my tastes in an effort to get some kind of attention & validation. I really did feel like some kind of fanatical mission to convert the ignorant masses, with me being the hero of sorts in the end.

My wife and I go to nice restaurants & art house movies with our best friend almost every week, so I have an outlet to share and discuss that stuff. At home, the two of us watch our snobby television (when she's not watching reality tv!) and can share our experience with that. I have zero gamer friends in real life so my outlet for sharing ideas is restricted to the internet, which actually works out because I'm able to connect with people just as passionate as I am with gaming.

Beyond that little circle, I just keep to myself concerning my activities. When people at work ask me if I saw the latest blockbuster movie over the weekend, I just tell them that I saw a little documentary or something and that was quite nice and leave it at that.

It's too much work trying to convert the masses. There will always be an audience for mainstream pap (hell, I'm sure some of it is just fine), so I just let them do their own thing while I do mine. No harm, no foul. I try not to think I'm better than anyone because my tastes are different, though to be honest it can be tough not to be an elitist, if only mentally & quietly.

All my conversion efforts are geared towards educating the unwashed about Linux. I really don't have time to convert people to gaming as well.

Personally, I have no issue with any type of gamer, be they Wii lovin' females (nod to the current podcast) or pro bunny hoppers like Fata1ity (or whatever he calls himself). We're all brothers in a pastime that most "normal" (repressed?) people put down.

I switch the conversation to my large gun collection. They tend to go pale and flee.

Filthy doubler.