The other morning, BBC Breakfast ran a piece about gamers that apparently got some complaints. I didn't see it, but I can imagine I'd have been shouting a the TV if I had. This is not unusual when I'm watching BBC Breakfast generally, so it's not a stretch to imagine.
Today, they ran a piece about elderly gamers, which you can still see on the BBC News website.
I missed the start of the article (I came in about 20 seconds into the video linked above). I saw an 85-year-old lady talking about videogames and rolled my eyes, chuckling inwardly about how much Wii she must play, or other casual games.
Then the camera panned over a stack of PS3 games, before showing her playing Disgaea 4, which is fairly high on my list of "hardcore games I can't get into". On a 65" high-def TV.
This octogenerian is a better gamer than I am1.
There's been a lot of coverage lately about gaming as a cliquey, hostile "boy's club", and there's plenty of evidence, both anecdotal and probably scientific, to support the assertion. The self-identifying hardcore nucleus of "gamers" is predominantly male, unreasonably aggressive, and visciously territorial. Every conversation about a game with a suspected Outsider is a chance to boost your own ego by belittling or downplaying the Other's achievements.
I had thought of myself as being better than that. I see myself as open-minded and fair, as someone who'll make a rational judgement rather than a knee-jerk reaction based on preconception. Maybe most people do.
But when I think about my automatic dismissal of Hilda just because she didn't meet my expectation of what a "real" gamer is, it's kind of an asshole thing to do.
1 Turns out she's been playing games for 40 years, which is longer than I've been alive.