Power Gamers

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The idea that an individual can be “too focused, too intent and too goal-orientated” is somewhat surprising to me. When T.L. Taylor introduced power players, I was initially confused. The portrait she painted of power players was a negative one. From what I am hearing from Taylor is that power gamers are the individuals that can dedicate the most time to the game. They are the ones that are able to make time in their day to read about the games outside the games itself. To be able to find the edges of the game and to play the game is a manner that was not the original intent, I would imagine would take a lot of time and dedication. In a way I admire people that are able to play in this manner. Though I believe that there are limits to what degree is socially acceptable but the vast knowledge of any subject matter is impressive. I don’t believe that because the subject matter is on a game like EverQuest or World of Warcaft that it is less valuable. Generally I think people consider such information less valuable because of the notion of work vs. play. This brings me back to the beginning of the term when we discussed Huizinga and what exactly is play. In class today people commented on how each of us has a different concept of play.

Confused-Gamer-Girl(I could not help but add this picture because it was the only one that I found when I searched confused gamer. Of course it would be of a female….)

It may be because of my lack of knowledge about the world of MMOs and gaming in general that I find something to admire about power players. When Taylor describes her experience in visiting her friend Josh, I can’t help to also feel lonely as if I was there and could not enter the conversation. But I also cannot shake the feeling of amazement. To be able to play a game to this degree is impressive. An individual has the choice in how they play a game. It is the same if a player chooses to play a game casually. If a player decides to play in the style of a power gamer, there is no way for me to stop them.

Another reason I think power gamers are looked down upon is that they sometimes do not follow the unwritten rules of the particular game. Some individuals find the rules of the game are just as important as the game itself. Rules help shape the game just as much as the storyline. However, I also find it interesting is that power gamers maintain some of the same dynamics as other gamers. Particularly the aspect in how guilds and friendships are maintained. Taylor spoke about the amount of trust that is required to be a part of guild consisting of power players. To be able to rely on others so that they are able to “call on help as needed” is something that is difficult to have in real life. So to be able to have that kind of relationship in a virtual world is amazing.

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2 Responses to Power Gamers

  1. cstabile says:

    Yay! A defense of power gamers. I totally agree with your awe. I’ve been befriended by power gamers (as I mention in my response to K. below) who just loved the game so much that they became experts in ways that I couldn’t hope to emulate. There’s a tendency to blur together power gamers and trolls, I think, or aggressive, competitive players. I wonder if there’s a better category for what we’re describing. Nakamura talks about “alpha fans” — wonder if that might more accurately describe some of the more negative elements of super-competitive forms of play.

    • vhsieh11 says:

      I left class slightly confused after our discussion about power gamers. So I ended up talking with a friend who turned out to have a similar view. But I do think it is because we tend to blur together different types of gamers as well as the fact that only the vocal players get heard. Often times only the negatives comments get heard and the positive aspects of power gamer (or anybody for that matter) is just part of the game.

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