Many of us also grew up with games and games grew up with us. When growing your interests tend to shift and change, but video game industry was right there ready with new products that might appeal to our new interests. For some people games got left into childhood and other activities took their place instead. People who kept playing however started to identify themselves as the gamers*. And as a gamer, who I also identified myself as, I often had to defend and justify my hobby. Games often got associated with something only children do.
I always thought a fellow gamer was easy to recognize, white male who's same age or younger than me and later in life (he) might even have tribal identifiers such as gaming garments. There wasn't that many of us when I grew up, so it was a happy occasion when I met such people. We often became friends thanks to shared interests, with some the friendship was "for life". Playing video games felt like the secret club for selected few and the non-gamers* rarely contributed anything but negative things to my passionate hobby. Others had similar experiences and that helped to bring us gamers* closer to each other, now we defended our passion together against "them".
Years passed, my hobby persisted and at some point when I wasn't looking something had happened. The very distinguish line between us gamers* and "them" was harder and harder to find. Some might say everything happened fast as Facebook and mobile platforms suddenly opened gaming for all sort of new people. To distinguish ourselves again, just as it had always been, we decided to talk about hardcore and casual gamers*. Casuals weren't the true gamers* who had suffered for their hobby as we had they didn't even play same games we did. They had their Wii and Facebook and everything we didn't find appealing. We as the true gamers* had our true games. So once again we defended our hobby, this time against casuals those non-true gamers* who suddenly wanted to do what we had done for ages. Are they impostors? Agents of the enemy?
Wait, stop, hold it. These people are new to games, they enjoy them, devote part of their daily lives to them and we are in fact giving these people hard time for it? Just as we had to explain our hobby we are now demanding them to justify their hobby with games they enjoy? Are less games being developed because market for games is larger? Or is it just hard to admit that half of people who play games are female and largest age group is 36+ years old? (1)
Games are widely accepted medium and art form of it's own that belongs to everyone. We don't get less games we enjoy, we just have more games in total. This doesn't lessen our hardships in the past, but on the contrary thanks to our passionate devotion to the medium and our constant struggle to push down fences and opening gates that surround and limit what gaming is allowed to be, we are now seeing the fruits of our struggle. Passion is contagious and gamers* are passionate people. Now everyone is allowed to play games.
Game development scene constantly gets new members and among them are people who are combination of any imaginable variable whether it be gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, favorite food or the color of the original Pokemon cartridge they initially picked. Yes the coder who made parts of code for your favorite shoot em up might be pottery collector and yes that girl who you see at local coffee shop might have made the animations for the fighting game you love with passion.
Lets show our appreciation and make these people feel like that there is nothing to be ashamed about working for the constantly growing amount of awesome video games.
Lets give these people a reason not to leave and therefore abandon projects that might had become our favorite video games of tomorrow. We should not tolerate actions that aim to pressure people from different background than ours to leave the industry because they got death threats, personal information revealed or sexual harassment. No one, regardless where they are from or who they are shouldn't have to deal with this stuff. Nothing good comes out of it, it makes us all look bad.
* term that my auto correct software doesn't recognize