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This was originally posted on Patreon on October 1, 2017 and is possible through the generosity of my Patrons.

So I’m not really on the woooo Cuphead is amazing and the way, truth and light of gaming train. It looks amazing but it also looks like the racist ass cartoons I remember seeing in re-runs as a kid. Its ridiculously difficult, and for me that’s just not fun. I have been good (mostly) about not wading into the discourse around it, because it’s not worth the hassle and the arguments about being a true gamer*.

I can’t escape the game, everyone is streaming it on Twitch and it’s all over social media. One friend finished the game after nearly two hours on the devilish final boss fight. So that came up on today’s episode of Gamertag radio (said friend is Danny Pena, one of the hosts). I brought up that if – HUGE – if here, I ever played it, it would be on simple mode. Someone in chat said it would be one of my greatest accomplishments this year!

Uh no, it wouldn’t. There’s not joy in playing a game so frustrating and difficult that people who whip through Dark Souls without a second thought are doing the same levels on repeat all in the name of Git Gud culture. It’s been on my mind all day since that off the cuff comment. I’m sure they didn’t mean anything buy it but it made me wonder about people who are so tied up in their identity as gamers that beating Cuphead *would* be a major achievement in lie of other things going on in their life. 

It made me wonder about the way so many people identify as gamers as if it were the same as race or gender, or orientation. The ways the their whole being is wrapped up in what they play, how good they are at X game, or if they have the best PC to game on and if they can’t do 4K Ultra HD, 1080P and 60 FPS then they aren’t a *real gamer*. Why do people do that? 

Why do people wrap up their value and worth in something like a digital landscape, a fairytale that at the end of the day is wholly fabricated world that they get to play in for the cost of anywhere from $20 – $800 and the prestige of owning a collectors edition or limited edition of whatever game they have tied themselves to in a frightening way.

I see it in how people act about fandoms and games and how they nerd/cred check people if they haven’t spent whatever proscribed amount they have decided makes one a true fan, to gate keep and tell others they can’t play in the same sandbox we’ve all paid to play in. 

I may expand on this more later or depending on what comes in the comments, make this a short video for October. What are you thoughts on gaming and identity, along the lines of not liking, or loving games a bit too much?