Community Spotlight #1- The Curious Case of the Hardcore Gamer

Community Spotlight #1- The Curious Case of the Hardcore Gamer


I don’t think there is one absolute definition that necessarily works. Hardcore? Gamer? Those might be easier to define when looked at as separate entities. However, in combination, it’s a lot trickier to put them into a neat, one-size-fits-all box. My Father, for instance, spends hours a night playing whatever game he is into, though he only plays a few games a year. He’s not up on the insider lingo, or the secret cheats, he doesn’t get competitive over any of it, but, he is putting in serious hours! Is he hardcore? Yes, in his own way, or for an older person, but generally – no! For me hardcore is not time invested, but energy invested.

When I play World of Warcraft, or other RPGS/MMOs, I like to get a bit more hardcore than some of the other people I have played with (ahem, John). I like doing research on my character and class, their stats, or the best builds, and I wouldn’t consider someone hardcore who didn’t do those things. I think you really have to take it on a game by game, person by person basis. Someone might be a hardcore Peggle 2 player, but I probably wouldn’t refer to them, generally, as a hardcore gamer.



How do you guys define a hardcore gamer? Are you one? Do you know one? Will be reading some comments on air tomorrow!

aka CoastalMichelle. Host. Queen of the Ball (and buster of them).


  • I think “hardcore gamer” refers to someone who stays up to date on current games, has more than a basic knowledge of the history of video games, and plays at least the big titles that release that interest them when they are new. They probably have been playing long enough to have developed specific tastes and favorites as well.

    I wouldn’t call someone who focuses on one game alone a “hardcore gamer”. For instance, if someone has been playing WoW for ten years and that alone, they’re a “hardcore WoW player”, not a hardcore gamer.

    AbsoluteDeicide Reply
  • Personally I think a hardcore gamer falls under the “I know it when I see it” category.

    Two of my friends and share gaming as our main hobby but we each approach it from a different angle and I would count us all in the “hardcore” camp although I think that term makes gamers seem like we are trying way to hard to be cool.

    1.) I play quiet a few games in a year mostly AAA titles and I always play the game through to the end of the story and usually knock off ~50% of the side quests on the way.

    2) One of my other friends plays every game he can get his hands on but usually only for a short period of time and rarely beats a game.

    3) My last friend plays very few games but completes them 100%

    Saltek Reply
  • To me (and it was my tweet, BTW… ), I’ve never liked the term “hardcore” in terms of gaming. I have a buddy who had 1000’s of hours on WoW. Does that mean he’s “hardcore”, or just really enjoys the game ? Same friend, when I told him I was getting an Oculus Rift, he asked if I was concerned about motion sickness. So I said “ehh, I’ll just pop a couple of Dramamine…” he replied “dude, that’s SO hardcore…”

    It’s funny, Henry, below, mentioning his friend plowing hours and hours into Zen 2 pinball, on the Pinball Arcade, I OBSESSED about getting to, and completing the Grand Finale on the Theater Of Magic table. I literally spent a week of getting home from work, firing up the game, and playing and playing… food became a secondary priority, I HAD to get that Wizard Goal. So, I guess that would make me a hardcore video pinball player.

    A game I absolutely love (don’t judge, it’s an awesome game, lol) is The Long Dark on PC. I guess you could call it a “hardcore” survival game. On the highest levels, it’s brutal and unforgiving. I have over 300 hours on that game and can easily lose a whole weekend to playing it. It involves strategy and planning, and it’s a slow burn, I guess, but easy to get totally enthralled in the game. So I’m a hardcore survival gamer, I guess.

    Also from Henry’s post “…a hardcore gamer is someone who digs deep into a single game”. So I’m a hardcore truck sim player too. I play both Euro Truck and American Truck simulator with a G29 wheel, Thrustmaster shifter, a separate control deck for all my controls like wipers, jake brake, lights etc, etc… I only use manual shift, and didn’t take the “easy” route of picking a 6 speed gearbox. I manually shift a 13 speed Eaton Fuller gearbox, which took a good few in-game miles to get used to. I even watched a few youtube videos on how to shift a real 13 speed, then mapped buttons on my wheel for the splitter and range selector. I have 400+ hours on Euro and almost 200 hours on American.

    For the record, I’ve never considered myself “hardcore” at all. I just love playing games. Even going back to when the original NES came out with Super Mario Bros, staying up till the early hours trying to find all the beanstalks and other secrets.

    Julian Reply
  • The game or number of games I don’t think matters. We still play “Spot ta Witch” here in New England.

    John Jacobsen Reply
    • Yeah, but once she became Senator that kind of took all of the fun out of it…

      AbsoluteDeicide Reply
  • I agree with you, Michelle, a hardcore gamer is someone who digs deep into a single game. Quality, not quantity, makes a hardcore gamer. I don’t think someone who has a massive collection of video games to show as the background of their youtube video is a hardcore gamer – that makes them a hardcore collector of video games. I knew someone who played the “wizard level”, which is the only free level you get when you download Zen2 Pinball for the Xbox One, and she dug hours and hours and hours into it. For that game, she’s a hardcore gamer. Your Dad i would say is a hardcore gamer given how you described him. To me, a hardcore gamer is someone how takes a single game, and digs deep into it, learns all of the ins and outs, spends time away from the game thinking about how to be better at it. Appreciating the game for what it was designed to do – entertain and take you into its world for an adventure.

    Henry (from VGO Chat) Reply
  • Playing peggle for a 100 hours wouldn’t make you a hardcore gamer. It would make you a hardcore peggle player. My definition of a hardcore gamer would be someone that is enthusiastic about gaming as a whole.

    James Almeida Reply
  • “Hardcore”, to me, is a pejorative. If I were to say to you that that girl is a ‘hardcore’ catholic, you’d be advised to date someone else. Or that guy is a hardcore drug addict, make another friend. Somehow, somewhere, “hardcore” became some kind of badge of honor by the gaming community – but it’s really just a reason to be an asshole.


    Bmullz Reply
    • With great power, comes great responsibility…(don’t be an asshole.
      Way too many already) That’s my motto, I think it works in this case.

      Trakked Reply
      • I’m gonna liken the term ‘Hardcore’ to the title of ‘Doctor’. Most have encountered those people who’ve earned a PhD and insist on being called ‘Doctor’. You know, those asshats who correct you when you call them Mr. Smith – then they say “That’s Doctor Smith”. Just because you’ve gone to school and gotten a piece of paper that says you’re a certified bullshit artist doesn’t mean I’m obligated to refer you with a title. When you refer to yourself as ‘hardcore’ and use it like a title, you’re basically saying, “I’m the expert and I have proof, so fuck you”. That’s why I have a problem with the term.

        Bmullz Reply
    • Speaking of badges of honor, I’ve always disliked the terms “beating a game”. That somehow implies that you went up against a sentient being, and by the use of guile and being a superior tactician, you came out on top. Such as one might say about winning a game of chess. You can clearly say that you beat your opponent. But to say that you beat a game is, in my very humble opinion, too emotive. I’ve never beaten a game. I’ve finished hundreds. Not once have I thought at the end “yeah, I BEAT you !” Honestly, one of the reasons I stayed with VGO and even subscribed is, one the first episode I listened too, Michelle referred to “passing a game”. Which was such a breath of fresh air. Too many game podcasts I’ve tried to get into, have this inane “duuuude, yeah I totally beat that game…” nonsense. I know it’s common usage, but for some reason it really irritates me..

      Julian Reply
  • So I can play a game and call myself hardcore if I am really, really good at it. Good Kill/death ratio, tough achievements unlocked, high leaderboards, High character stats, etc. Last game I remember being hardcore in was sky Gamblers Air Supremacy because I could evade missiles without using any flares and gun down the highest ranking player’s jet fighter in multiplayer, which was an alien star fighter. I played this game using the basic jet in the whole game to handicap myself from other players. But now I’ve lost my skills from not playing it anymore, I’m terrible.
    If chess counts? Same story, loved it, read about tactics, learned a great deal of skill, won a lot of matches, even going against AI seemed way too dumb. I don’t play it at all now and it shows.

    Trakked Reply
  • When I think of “Hardcore Gamer” I envision those type of gamers who seem to master the algorithms of the games they sit down to play and can handle any game with an almost autistic mastery. For example, the live streamer types who seem to continually dominate are Hardcore, and along those lines, the Billy Mitchell type of arcade gamer should definitely go into the Hardcore Gamer category too.

    Ghost Tea Reply
    • To me, that’s called an “Expert”. Much different connotation than “Hardcore”, imo.

      Hardcore is an ABNORMAL adherence and commitment to a videogame – especially a particular, or specific genre.

      Bmullz Reply
  • I play a lot but I’m not hardcore. Time playing isn’t a good measure, I agree. I have a casual mindset.

    Pogus Reply
    • It’s funny how both ‘casual’ and ‘hardcore’ gamer can carry negative connotations depending on how they are used.

      Michelle Madison Reply
  • I should note, it’s interesting that the dictionary definition defines hardcore gamer, simply as someone who plays games which require skill and time/practice to master – even if they have not mastered them, have no skill, and don’t play for very long. It seems simply the act of playing such games makes you a hardcore gamer in some senses per that definition. However, I disagree with that, for the most part!

    Michelle Madison Reply
    • Excellent point ! I’ve played Dark Souls 3… very very briefly and I suck ASS. I’m SO bad, I actually have to laugh at myself at how atrocious I am. I tell myself that I just don’t have the reflexes anymore, I’m too old. My old crumbling fingers don’t have the dexterity they used to. The synapses in my befuddled brain fire slower and the message “DODGE !” takes way too long to reach my fingers, which immediately send back back a “so, wait, which button is “dodge” again ?!?” message. Too late. I’m dead. Again.

      But I can say I’m a Dark Souls player. So I’m totally hardcore, hahaha

      Julian Reply
  • just like that the word gamer was defined in 1618, what were they playing. spot a witch?

    JM Reply
    • This comment section needs a “like” button just for answers like this.

      Bmullz Reply

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