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A Social Sampling of RPGamers

Michael Cunningham

When it comes to RPGamers, we are a niche population already, but even we can be divided into further types. After much research and years of study, I've found that those years of research were pointless. We never really change. Just look at the typical message boards and then look beyond the trolls, then you can see that we typically can be placed in one of the following six types. Interestingly enough, RPGamers are known to shift around to one or more of these different types at will.

First up is the most obvious, "The Fanboy" (or "Fangirl" for the sake of equality). Fanboys will not listen to any reason other than their own, as they are always right. Though their rationale might vary, they are all the same. They will love a game based on some factor other than how good the game actually is, and they will form this opinion way before they game is actually playable. Some reasons might include the fact that a certain developer is involved, a specific artist or composer, or a preferred publisher. Fanboys will never waver, especially in the face of factual information. These "facts" are not even rock blocks. These people are easy to stir up and can be fun to watch in small doses. An easy way to identify a Fanboy is by certain quotes such as "I don't care what this review says, I'm still buying this game" and "Day One!" upon the announcement of a random game.

Next is even more interesting than Fanboys, as they are less predictable. "The Sheep" is our second gamer type and is really easy to identify. Sheep do not have opinions of their own and will reference countless reviews and friends when talking about how good or bad a game is. Many times they've not actually played the game and are just parroting what they've been told and have accepted as gospel. The games that they do own are likely to only be a selection of AAA, top tier titles that received grand praise from reviewers. A niche or less appreciated game will likely go unnoticed by a Sheep, as that game was "not good enough" to play. The Sheep is unpredictable, because you never know what they've been told is good or bad, so their randomness can easily catch you off guard.

Another curious gamer is "The Enthusiast." This is someone who knows a lot about the gaming industry or at least one small niche of it. Enthusiasts will often be a collector of games and have a variety of rarer titles, but many times they will have never played any of them. They enjoy reading and learning about games, and even collecting them, more than they do actually playing them. These people can general rattle off a laundry list of information about certain games and will often go out of their way to correct you about a series they know all about, but have never actually touched.

Close to the Enthusiast is "The Importer." These gamers are either very dedicated or very bored, as most of the time they are either playing a game with no understanding of what's going on or are using a special means of translation. Some Importers actually know Japanese or are attempting to learn it, but it's not always clear as to their reasoning for importing a game. They are fairly avid about their games and will usually be able to spew out a list of differences between different regional versions. Often, they will recommend or discuss Japanese-only RPGs as if everyone has the ability and desire to play and understand them.

The final two are the more moderate types of RPGamers. The first one is "The Casual." These folks are fans of RPGs, but can easily branch out and talk about the latest FPS or sports title. They follow the latest big titles and know that the next big Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest is coming out, but that's about where it ends. Casuals have seen screenshots and maybe a trailer, but they don't hunt the internet in search of the slightest bit of information. That honor goes to our final type.

"The Hardcore" is the RPGamer that follows every little detail about the games they are interested in. These gamers are not blind Fanboys, nor are they Sheep. They love the genre and have their favorites, but are fairly open-minded when it comes to new releases. Hardcores can generally tell you little about the most niche game that is coming out. Most even have a strong following into the upcoming Japanese release schedule. These gamers are most of us here on this site, though some of us branch into other areas at times.

It's good to take note of whom you are. The Casual and the Hardcore are fairly harmless, and the Enthusiast and the Importer are more intriguing than troubling. The Fanboy and the Sheep are the ones that you need to take care around. These gamers can be dangerous, especially if they've not been fed lately. I'm doing what I can to inform you of their presence so that you don't become their next meal.

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