The Change Portrayal Of Gamer In Popular Culture


The media portrayal of a gamer has been changing over the years.The Image of a gamer on in popular culture often being young teens or children who are unattractive, fat, antisocial, and lazy. So being a gamer myself, I decide to do my research on this topic and my findings are relatively opposite of the portrayal. The artifacts that I analyzed was the show South Park, an article from ESPN called “The Unkillable Demon King” and a YouTube video called “LOL and NBA”. With the analysis, I came out with conclusion of that the gamer image of popular culture is rapidly changing.


(Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCornmick)


The first artifact I analyzed is an episode of South Park that came out in 2006 called “Make Love, Not Warcraft” which is very much the portrayal of the stereotype of a gamer. In this episode, everybody started playing War Of Warcraft because it’s a new game that allows you communicate with others online and able to do quests together. Jack Tenorman, who is just a normal dad that was introduced to the game and he was immediately hooked into it and value his in game status than real life status. In this one scene where they portrayed Eric, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle being obese camping under Eric’s basement with 4 computers. The room is messy, filled with garbage along with empty cans of energy drinks. They looked like they haven’t shower in months or left the basement. They didn’t care about anything besides level up. This is shows the image of gamer in media.


(Lee Sang-Hyeok AKA Faker)

Another artifact that I found was this article from ESPN called “The Unkillable Demon King”. This article is about gaming, but yet ESPN is willing to outreach from their normal sporting news to publish this. Behind the reason that is the E-Sport gaming community has been growing and evolving to the point where they consider E-Sport, competitive gaming, a sport. In the article, they talked about what the game League of Legend is and introduce who Lee Sang Hyeok is also known as Faker. He is a professional gamer that plays in the competitive League of Legend team called SKT-Telecom. The most well known gamer in the world and arguably best League of Legend player in the world. Due to the up-rise of League of Legend, the current most popular PC game in the world, according to Riot games, the company that owns League of Legend said there are 27 million daily players and 67 millions monthly players. This was the major reason that leads to Lee’s success in the gaming community. He is the first player ever to win two worlds championships in the history of league of legend competitive gaming. Also the championship comes along with the prize pool of 1 million dollars. Within all his success, he is being recognized as public figure, idol, and icon for many teens that shares the same dream as his, which is to make a career of playing games.  

I would have to say that Lee is the Michael Jordan of competitive gaming. He had changed revolutionized the game by his game plays and popularity. The typical gamer image are being changed because of his success by just playing games. This article is a great example of how he influence the change. Having a gaming article published about you by ESPN is a sign that popular culture acknowledging the existence of gamer. After all, from being a target to make fun in South Park to now being recognized by the popular culture and being idolized.

Last artifact I used to analyze is a video created by Riot Games called “Lol and NBA”. It’s about the meeting of two people from different worlds, yet they share one similar interest, which is to play the game of League of Legend. The two people in this video are Gordon Hayward and Joedat Esfahani. Starting with Gordon, who is a professional NBA player that plays the small forward position for the Utah Jazz. He isn’t just a regular NBA player, but he is an excellent one, being the best player in the team and played for the 2014 USA team. For Joedat, he is a professional League Of Legend gamer plays who at the time play for Curse Gaming but he’s now retired. The two popular culture identity are opposite of each other. As Gordon’s identity is a NBA superstar, supposedly he is muscular, tall, and rich, while Joedat, the gamer, is fat, anti social, and nerdy. Those are the popular culture traits of their identity, however,  these two were able to come together and meet each other and have fun playing the game League of Legend. The interesting part is the fact the NBA star is a gamer himself which oppose all the stereotypical popular culture portrayal. This could hint that the gamer identity has been changed.

The views towards gamer has been different from the past. Back in 2006, in South Park they were using gamer stereotype to create humor for the audience and now in 2015, gamer are being treated as a celebrity, role model, and a career. Example of that would be Faker, who is extremely successful in the career of gaming and created enough attention for ESPN to write an article about him. Add to the changes, Gordon Hayward an NBA player who consider gamer is part of his identity is the new portrayal of the a gamer. With all the research I had done, I came up with the conclusion of that the portrayal of gamer in popular culture has been changing.

From my secondary source researches I had found an interesting article written by Jo Bryce and Jason Rutter called “Killing like a girl: Gendered Gaming And Girl Gamers’ Visibility”.

The article is about how female gamers are big part of the gaming community while the stereotypical of gamer is often males which is quite shocking to see. According to Interactive Digital Software Association suggest that 44% of U.S gamers are female (Bryce,2,2002). As this supports the portrayal of popular culture is not arcuate. Female gamer are being overlooked because of the heavy influence by the stereotyped portrayal in popular culture, where it had changed people’s view of a gamer.

During this course I have learned few valuable skills that will be carried for the future. One of them is critical thinking. Every week we had to do the blog comments which allowed me to practice my critical thinking by answering the questions in my perspective. Also those suggestion questions helped me a lot, it gave me a new way of looking at the situation. I am glad that this course gave me the chance to practice my critical thinking skills.

Another valuable skill I learn during this course is to how to write feedback and accept suggestions. The weekly comment on other people’s post and comments gave me a good practice of how to give feedback that could help my peers. Also accepting suggestions and feedback from them are important as well. This allows me to insert new ideas to my essays or post and I believe this will be a good skill to have outside the class.

Work Cited

Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 27 Jan. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“Killing like a Girl: Gendered Gaming and Girl Gamers’ Visibility.” Killing like a Girl: Gendered Gaming and Girl Gamers’ Visibility. 13 May 2002. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Kimes, Mina. “The Unkillable Demon King.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 10 June 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“LoL and NBA.” YouTube. YouTube, 14 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

“Riot’s ‘League of Legends’ Reveals Astonishing 27 Million Daily Players, 67 Million Monthly.” South Park. Dir. Trey Parker. Paramount Pictures :, 2006. Film.



9 thoughts on “The Change Portrayal Of Gamer In Popular Culture

  1. I love your essay, especially because I love gaming too. Your artifacts were very great at communicating your thesis, especially the fact that ESPN is now recognizing E-Sports as sports. I noticed that gaming has become especially cool ever since online gaming became popular. I know that growing up in the PS2 era, most people who played video games my age were considered antisocial dorks because they would be playing by themselves for hours. Today, my younger brothers that are in middle school may go to basketball practice, and then come home and spend a few hours on their PS4 with their teammates, connecting with them over the internet. I find it interesting that they have a friend whose parents do not allow to have a console, but he apparently does not having very many friends because of this. He is unable to connect with the other friends in their social group because he can’t play Call of Duty or Destiny with them.

  2. Hi tingfengwu,
    Your blog post remind me of my childhood. I used to go to a small gaming shop by my grandma’s house where you have to pay hourly to play PS2 games. I spent so many hours and a lot of my grandma’s money there play Capcom games, Ninja Turtles, and Sailor Moon. I stopped playing games when my study schedule got crazy and my parents didn’t allow me to play games anyway.
    I think the gaming culture in America is a little different than the Asian one, in my opinion. A lot of Asian gamers don’t have or can’t afford a good gaming system and would spend a lot of time in a gaming room where you have to pay by hour to play games on the computer there. I’m not sure if there are many gaming rooms in the US, I don’t think there is one in Oregon though.
    Speaking of my personal experience, I can relate to the gamers’ nerdy stereotype. My husband is quite nerdy, meaning he gets obsessed about a certain subjects and there is no way I can’t argue with him about them because he did extensive research on what he talks about. I aslo find that people that are obsessed with playing games are introvert and had difficult life experience growing, not all, but everyone that I know that play video games all day are like that, my cousin is one of them.
    I agree on how stereotypes on gamers have changed over the time as the gamers I know are not fat or dirty and most of them have a good career. I also find the Youtube video “Lol and NBA” very interesting. It is awesome how two people living in two different worlds got connected over games.

  3. Hi Tingfengwu,

    I really like how you chose to do your blog post about gaming because it is a demographic that is rapidly changing and portrayed poorly in the media. Going off an example of my friends and I, we have played sports our whole life and people could view us as “jocks”, but we loved to play video games just as much as everyone else which isn’t the social norm. During my senior year of high school we would all sit in class and play Pokemon or talk about new games that were coming out that we wanted to get. I loved how we were all like this because the so called “nerdy” kids that were into things like this also would be talking about it at school and we would jump in on the conversation with them and they seemed surprised. This gave us common ground and led to the decrease of social stereotypes in my school or even just my class at the very least. I am also friends with a handful of baseball players down at Western Oregon University and on their free time they all play League of Legends. So I agree with you that the the demographic is rapidly changing and hopefully the stereotype will go away in turn.

  4. I love that you chose the topic of gaming because yeah, it has become so popular. The identity of a gamer has evolved to the level of a professional career. I personally have been to Blizzcon and watched first hand Star Craft competitions between the World’s most professional gamers. It’s just like watching any other sport; as long as you understand the gameplay: you know what to look for, what to cheer for, and how the “athletes” can improve. It’s the same feeling you would get compared to going to an actual sporting event. Everyone around you is absorbed into the game and rooting their teams on. It’s fun! I feel another artifact you could use in your essay is Barcraft. Barcraft is literally a physical bar that instead of playing sports on big flatscreens, they play competitive video games. (Barcraft plays specifically Starcraft, but there are many other video game bars out there.) Great paper, great read. But on the topic of World of Warcraft, that game is an essay in itself. That game is a whole new can of worms.

  5. As a gamer myself I loved your post. I used to be almost embarrassed to admit how much I loved to PC game. It wasn’t until the last few years that I realized I really didn’t care. It’s what I love to do, and is my ideal way to unwind after a full day of work and school. I Would say I put a few hours into playing games each day and yet I typically don’t fall into most of the stereotypes that gamers are considered to be. However; strangers or someone who I have just recently met often don’t understand that right away. I’ve actually made many friends gaming throughout the years, some of which I’ve met in person multiple times and have now known for over a decade. Gaming is a great thing, especially now that the e-sports world is growing in America. If only I was good enough to compete in such leagues…

  6. Hi Tingfengwu,
    I have to leave a comment on your post because I have had so much experiences with gamers. My current boyfriend and my ex are gamers. They love games so much and they admit it that when they play games, they are in another world. The media always try to show the negative or false portrayal of gamers like they are lazy, fat, not care about their future or others, abusive and violent especially for those who play shooting or killing games. But speaking from my own experiences of dating 2 gamers, I think that these portrayals are very wrong. Both of the guys are very slim. They are very clean because they always clean up their room. They also know the limits between games and other things. They do go to school and work and they care a lot about their future. They are very caring as well. One of them told me the reason why he plays games is not because he is addicted to it but because gaming is a way for him to relax or release his anger. In this case, I actually think gaming is good because releasing anger into games is better than going out and doing something stupid that people might regret after. I think the media needs to show a more dimensional and realistic way of gamer.

  7. Great essay. I consider myself a casual gamer, especially being around people who follow DOTA tournaments. Personally I love indie games and some sci fi shooters everyone here can probably name. Played WoW too for a short time as well, though vanilla and as I am told I therefore have never played WoW. Very informative such as how league of legends is the most played game currently or that sports celebrities don’t play video games.

  8. I really enjoyed reading your essay. As a fellow gamer I do agree that there isn’t one true fit for what a gamer is now, of course the stereotype still exists, but because games are very popular everyone and their mother plays some sort of game. Even if it’s just a simple Facebook game, they are indulging in the culture and being an active participant.

  9. Hey!

    I really love your post. I, myself, play quite a few games and it was interesting to read about the portrayals, and I think that it makes it more easier to understand when I am familiar with the games you are talking about. I also never thought about the stereotypes of a gamer, subconsciously I believe I knew about them but by reading your post it made me think about it more. Great post!!


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