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Why I can’t call myself a gamer anymore

Journalist Simon Parkin recently published a brilliant editorial for New Statesman  titled “If You Love Games, You Should Refuse to Be Called a Gamer.” Parkin feels that the idea of the “gaming community,” and its endemic misogyny, transphobia and rape culture, all need to die, and by extension, anyone who has adopted an identity as a "gamer" needs to give it up.

“Gamer” is an identity I’ve been wearing since I attended my first Penny Arcade Expo. PAX is to gamer culture what Woodstock was to hippie culture, only PAX takes place annually in Boston, Seattle and Melbourne, Australia. The Penny Arcade Web comic that spawned PAX could be seen as a birthplace of gamer culture -- it provided a spiritual center for gaming fans of all stripes to enjoy their community’s inside jokes, and by doing so, recognize that they were a community.

In April 2010, at the inaugural PAX East in Boston, I listened to actor and geek personality Wil Wheaton’s keynote speech about how tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and video games had been centerpieces of his friendships, keeping those relationships together despite geographical distance and the passage of time.

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