Nerds vs. Jocks: I’m tired of it

I’m happy to say that I think this cultural dynamic is beginning to die out, especially among younger generations. The line has got more blurry than ever, nerds play sports and jocks play video games. It is still perpetuated by some media outlets and some jerks out there that nerds live in their mom’s basement and jocks are the supreme beings of our society. But the bottom line is people are starting to see video games as a more acceptable past time. They are starting to get the idea that nerds are responsible for many of the good things in life. eSports may also be a contributing factor to this development. People are starting to make money from playing video games, just as people started making money from playing sports a century or so ago.

Another cool thing is that a cool nerd culture is rising. I think this development goes hand in hand with the rise of other sub cultures within the United States. It seems as if more people are celebrating what they do and instead of turning their back on the activities of others they look to enjoy the best of what that sub culture has to offer. There doesn’t have to be one form of entertainment via cable television. With the internet, people can choose to consume the type of media that fits their fancy best.

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Types of games that resonate in this day and age

The Shooter: otherwise known as the first person shooter or 3rd person shooter, the action game genre still seems to be living large. In multi-player format, I think the basic formula of killing before you get killed appeals well to the lizard brain. It’s just enough reward to want to keep going round after round. When you go on a killing spree, or are the top kill death ratio on your team that is like the big bonus. But these games also require skill. Reacting quickly, using the right weapons for the right situations, placement of grenades, using the right combination in the character set up, and knowing the maps are all things that can be learned and improved upon. Rage may consume the gamer at times, but staying cool is part of the game. In single player format, it is fun to feel like a God and go around destroying your enemies against the odds. But the story is also very important here. The fact that there is a clear starting and ending point makes all the difference. Winning the game becomes a point in the future defined by the game maker, whereas the multi-player can seem like a bit of a treadmill at times.

The Sandbox and the Openworld: of course Minecraft is the first game that comes to most people’s minds, but this type of game is spreading like wildfire. On the PC, many times this openworld formula is seen in the embodiment of the massively multiplayer online game genre. But other games such as Skyrim, Witcher 3, Garry’s Mod, Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Farcry, Terraria, and the upcoming Everquest Next are just a handful of additional prominent examples. Being able to create things and see how they effect the environment is an engaging experience. Here the developer hands you the tools, sets a broad scope of parameters, and let’s you play with the world as you see fit. Cooperating with others is a big part of some of these types of games. It reminds us that much more can be accomplished than working by oneself.

The Competitive or eSports Category: this type of game has seen a significant rise over the last few years thanks mostly in part to the multi-player online battle arena genre (MOBA). The big names like Defense of the Ancients, League of Legends, and the upcoming Heroes of the Storm from Blizzard are titles most of us gamers have heard of. But we also see shooter titles in this category as well such as Counter-Strike and the Call of Duty series. I think the attractive part of this category is that if a person can get good enough at a specific title, there is the possibility of making money from that skill via streaming on Twitch, winning tournaments and competitions, or even sponsorships and a salary. But also I think it goes further than that. I think the thrill of winning is more exciting for some individuals. It feels good and some of us are plain more competitive than others.

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