Everyone is a gamer.

At least casually.
A portrait photograph of Gareth Latty.

I imagine plenty of people will come to this post expecting me to talk about casual games (a term that must be said in the same dismissive way one might say KFC while sitting in a five-star restaurant). This isn’t what I’m talking about when I say that everyone is a gamer - sure, Casual games have definitely expanded the number of people that play games, and that’s interesting for a lot of reasons, but plenty of people have pointed that out.

What I am talking about is gamification - the act of taking anything and giving it game-like aspects. This is something that has really taken off in the background, but it’s likely that you have seen an example of this. For coders, the instant and obvious one to point out is StackOverflow, which has excelled at this. The content is kept incredibly useful by the user base being extremely motivated - something achieved by gamification. Users gain reputation whenever they do something right, and loose it for doing anything really negative. It’s scary how much this actually motivates people.

Other examples are gamerscore on Xbox Live - which amounts to a giant meta game around existing games, and the very famous (and successful) Monopoly promotion that McDonalds have run a number of times. The reason these things motivate people so well is gamification - the fact that people feel that there is an overarching game to what they do, which they can win.

Now, if you have been watching Extra Credits (which you should be doing, as it’s insanely insightful and interesting) - none of this will be new to you, it’s ground they have covered very well.

The point I want to make is that this is having an affect on how people perceive all games. In the past, there were people who didn’t get gaming at a very basic level - those who just didn’t comprehend it or why people would play a game. That is something that simply doesn’t exist any more. Subconsciously, people have been taught the basics of games and understand them better - which is great for the medium as a whole (and has, I have not doubt, influenced the number of people getting into casual games) as people are not afraid of what they know.

There was a time where if you handed a controller to a ‘non-gamer’, they would back off, unwilling to even try to play - they were afraid of the unknown. Now, they understand gaming.

Gaming is a medium I love, as art, as entertainment, it’s excellent. It’s only natural to want others to enjoy something you enjoy, and gaming is at a really exciting point in that regard. Everyone is a gamer now - it only gets better from here.