Gamesnobbery: A Study in High-Falutin’ Geekery

Anyone who plays games has at least one obnoxious, know-it-all friend who thinks he’s the authority on gaming. (Note: if you don’t have a friend like this, then the obnoxious know-it-all is you.) That friend thinks he’s the best at every game—all the games that count anyway—he’s sure to have a strong opinion about which games are worth playing and which ones you’d have to be an idiot to enjoy. He’s up on all the latest and most obscure import titles and when you discover something new and exciting to you, he rolls his eyes as if to say “that game is SO last year.”

Within my circle of game enthusiast friends there are more than a few game snobs. For those of you unacquainted with game-geekus uberificus, I’ll share my observances of the species in its natural habitat. Understand that game snobs come in many equally tedious varieties, described as follows.

The Techie Snob
The Techie Snob won’t speak to anyone who owns a console. He proudly declares his Mensa membership, wears a “Fuck Ipod” t-shirt and built his own PC from black market parts ordered through a contact in Dubai. He openly exhibits his contempt for anyone who can’t rattle his system specs off on demand and believes aside from Doom, there are no real games.

The Old School Snob
To get an idea of what the O.S.S. is like, imagine that old Dana Carvey Saturday Night Live skit, the Grumpy Old Man.

The O.S.S. is pissed about everything about the current state of gaming, insisting that everything was better in the old days. This attitude generally signifies a serious misapprehension– one that mistakes frustration for fun. “Back in the day, we didn’t have any of these wussy, hand-holding World of Warcraft MMOs with their signs and their quest markers and their maps. In Ultima you had to figure things out for yourself. You wandered aimlessly for hours gathering materials so you could spend even more hours painfully grinding crafting xp until you finally had the money and gear to leave your starting town–then, the second you set foot out of the city limits you were ganked by high level players who killed you and robbed your corpse of everything you’d worked so hard for and you had to start all over again. Now THAT’S an MMO.”

The Wannabe Game Designer Snob
This brand of snob knows zippo about technology, programming, business or art, but is convinced with his encyclopedic knowledge of game titles, he could be better at game design than all the development teams put together. He’s extremely talkative, holding forth at any opportunity about the “right” way to balance weapons or place spawn points. Will bore you to tears outlining how his Counterstrike maps are better than any of the official ones at the drop of an empty Mountain Dew can.

The PvP Snob
If a game doesn’t entail kicking another player’s ass, this guy isn’t interested in it. He can argue for days re: the optimum spec for every class in [insert MMO title here] and has every Battlefield 2142 map memorized. He goes by names like “N00bHunt3r” and can often be found in Gamespy lobbies making pronouncements about other gamers’ questionable skills and sexual orientation.

As you might imagine, aside from these few examples, there are many other sub-classes within these major snobbish orders, such as: the Genre Snob, the Nintendo/Microsoft/Sony snob, the Fashion Victim snob, etc. The list is extensive and various of these will perhaps be examined at a later date if they irritate me enough.

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