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Are gamers really all foul-mouthed 14-year-olds?

“Lol, stfu fag. ur ghey.”

Welcome to the common perception of gamers. But where does it come from? After all, I doubt many people reading this site are under 18 – some, sure, but the majority? I doubt it. We’re fairly obviously mostly highly literate, reasonably cultured, unlikely to break out the homophobic or racist insults…

Level Capped is wondering exactly the same thing today, after realising that whilst his beer enthusiast brother is happy to talk ale to all and sundry, he doesn’t feel the same way about gaming:

I think it would be easy to blame gamers themselves. Many of them are foul mouthed, trash talking, entitled brats who are well known to spout racist, sexist or homophobic slurs at their opponents, and these vocal few are tarnishing the image of the greater crowd, right? Well, I suppose so, but they’re cardboard standees; they’re blanket stereotypes which are used as examples when some non-gamer is looking to make a point that they have already decided needs to be made. This minority is extrapolated freely to represent gamers as a whole, and I think we can all agree that this is absolutely wrong…and insulting. The point is that there shouldn’t be an opportunity for these crusaders to make this decision that gaming needs to be “dealt with” in the first place, and for that impetus, I think we need to look higher up the chain.

It’s an interesting question, and Chris goes through the various arguments and counter-arguments well. I’m particularly on board with his questions about why the gaming industry isn’t doing more to show the hobby as being something grown-ups do.

Of course, one of the major problems is that there really are a LOT of the trash-talking foul-mouthed assholes, and in the era of YouTube, they’re pretty damn visible. True too that a lot of gaming writing of the less “lol nub” kind still tends to be pretty inaccessible to non-gamers – but the same is true of golf, poker, and Eastern Medievalist Architecture, and none of those fields have the same reputation. Arguably even other “disreputable” hobbies like hip-hop or Mixed Martial Arts have a better reputation than gaming. Why?

What do you think? Are gamers actually mostly trash-talking 14-year-olds, and we’re the exception? Or is there something else going on?
Quote taken directly from Chris Smith’s post on Level Capped.
Find Level Capped’s homepage at

arrow3 Responses

  1. 26 mos ago

    I’m not sure civilized folk are the exception. I think that there has been a huge influx of younger players again that live to bully others with words because it’s all they got left. I do notice there has been a polarization between older players who won’t put up with the garbage vs trash talkers. Because there is no real responsibility to own up to on the LFG tool, people who would have failed in the game on a single server now feel they can get away with anything, especially uber kidz. The game itself has gotten too easy that people really don’t have to work together to accomplish their jobs and so the blame games and the open world trade crap goes on and on. They get an out by simply saying turn on your language filter, but it amounts to nothing when they use leet speak. The majority of solid guilds I’ve known won’t put up with it, which leaves the gutter guilds that want to Glv fast. They have no qualms with garbage mouths. Thing is, we like to call them 14 year olds because that is the maturity lv we see. But there are plenty of older folk who are just as nasty. I see it in the BG’s, the instances, everywhere. In fact, both my wife and I have on occasion outright dropped groups just because of that attitude.

    Where does it all lead? I can’t say because I’m not completely sure. The fact is, socially, WoW has allowed stinted emotional capabilities to exist. No one is held accountable save for their own moral code. In my own mind, the anonymity allows a person’s real morals and real personality to come to the surface. This is due to the fact that there are no enforceable laws in the internet community. The real question is, has our WoW community become a mirrored reflection of our society’s moral codes and values? In my mind, I think so. This is sad because there are so few people who are willing to live their ethical values whether online or in the real world. At the same time, many of those garbage mouths don’t stay long on the game. They do get bored and go on to something different. I do have a serious issue with the racist and sexist attitudes lately noticed in trade chat. I’m glad my own kids are no longer interested in this game, they moved on to other things. The sense of community is dieing a little everyday though. This is one area I wish the Dev team would address. Eh well, ramblings I suppose, back to my battlegrounds and such.

  2. 26 mos ago

    This post is so important, I am glad you wrote about it. There is so much more going on then foul-mouthed kids here. I’ve known several 25 and up players who have said just that. Why do they treat people that way?

    1. Cause they can.
    2. It’s trendy, everyone doing it.
    3. Cause I hate myself and when I make you feel as bad about yourself as I do. I feel a little bit better.
    4. I get tunnel vision when I game. I feel things should happen in a certain order in a certain time, that way everything is right. If everything goes right I get that levelgasm and I can’t wait to do it all over again for that high. If the smallest thing happeneds wrong. I’m mad.

    This team sucks. You should all go and die, losers.

    Sometimes a BG, raid, achievement goes perfect. Ah, there it is, that feeling. Most of the time they go array, it’s a struggle and that feeling isn’t there. Now I’m mad.

    You guys suck. Fail is fail.

    I admit I am part of the problem. I don’t take about gaming with my “non-gamer” friends and family. I talk about my real life accomplishments as a result of gaming like my blog, my interviews and got my first podcast invite this week and I’m stoked. They get that but playing a game is for kids, right? It’s a stigma like Anime was 20 years ago. I was in college & I bring home a friends copy of Wicked City to watch. My dad walks into the room…..what kind of cartoon is this? It’s not a cartoon it’s an anime. Thank goodness for South Park to break us out of that way of thinking.

  3. 25 mos, 3 wks ago

    I start with the ESRB. Their Orwellian use of the label “mature” makes clear that the industry wouldn’t know real maturity if it told them to grow up. Gamers have grown older, but games (and many gamers) haven’t really grown up.

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