Dr. Noh’s Dictionary

I’m a stickler for words, so it should come as no surprise that I have an issue with the modern usage of the words hardcore gamer and casual gamer.

What defines a hardcore gamer and what defines a casual gamer? Is it the amount of time spent playing video games? Perhaps it is skill level or amount of video games one owns. Is it possible for someone born during the 6th generation of video game consoles to be a hardcore gamer? Do hardcore gamers only play specific video game genres, that casual players do not?


The term hardcore gamer doesn’t actually tell you what kind of gamer a person is, because it’s current usage is too broad. The term also comes with air of elitism that to the uninitiated must undoubtedly seem uninviting. The term casual gamer is frequently used in a derogatory manner, often by those who identify themselves as hardcore gamers. I see this divide as detrimental, especially for the growth of the medium as an artistic form.

Considering the continually evolving form of gaming, I believe it’s much more difficult to define video games. Video gaming is beyond the point of appealing to a small niche audience. Modern titles such as World of Warcraft and Call of Duty are difficult to categorize due to the fact that they appeal to all types of gamers.

Whether you play Angry Birds, Shin Megami Tensei games, Farmville, Gears of War, Just Dance or Star Wars: The Old Republic, you are a gamer. Anyone that plays video games is a gamer. There is no hardcore and there is no casual. What you play and how you play is not defined by a word, you are free to play anything you want to play. If you need a term to signifies video games as a defining part of your life, I suggest using the term game fan. Fan is a much more positive word in its connotations than hardcore. The word hardcore just reminds me of porn.

Image Source: 1

  • Mark Ross

    What does Worf in a cowboy hat have to do with this?!

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.noh Joe Noh

      Worf is a gamer too! That’s him in a holodeck simulation!

  • Anonymous

    If you’ve ever skipped school or work to play, attended a midnight release, lashed out in anger at development changes, or have forgone bills or food to buy a new release, you’re certainly more of a “gaming fan” I would say.

    Here’s my definition of “hardcore gaming” http://pbfcomics.com/134/

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.noh Joe Noh

       My definition of definition of hardcore gaming would be an AO rated title that shows P in V. Going along with that softcore gaming would T, but never any penetration.

  • Anonymous

    Dr. Noh, I actually really liked this article.  I know you and I discuss this a lot and I like the term gaming fan.  Hardcore gamer is probably a term that is outdated.