Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Three Tier Model

I work at a major metropolitan library. There's a staff member I see occasionally who seems like the gamer type, but, as always in situations like this, I'm at a bit at a loss on how I might strike up a conversation with him, especially since I tend to only see him in passing a couple times a month. Feels like being a Christian in ancient Rome; perhaps I should draw the shape of a d20 in the sand with my walking stick?

This seems like as good a time as any to lay down my time-tested field guide to gamer geeks. I developed this theory based on my thoughts about recognizing fellow gamers, and how the ones easiest to recognize are often the kind you'd find over on RPG.net's Creepiest Person You've Gamed With thread.

This is the person I would place at the bottom of the third tier. The tiers are organized based on your reaction when you find out the person is a gamer. Third tier types elicit the sort of response along the lines of, "Of course you're into gaming!" They fit the stereotype: either grossly over- or underweight, pallid of skin, greasy of hair, awkward of social skills. I would submit that that third tier is not the most numerous, just the most visible. A topic analyzed ad-naseum in the above thread.

Among celebrity gamers, Patton Oswalt qualifies as third tier.

The second tier is where the majority of gamers, I believe, can be found. These are the folks who, upon first inspection, might not ping the "gamer-dar" but, once you get to know them, can easily be imagined as gamers. Fairly "normal" looking, but maybe with a slight cooky edge to them. I'd place myself in this tier, along with most of the gamers I've known.

Among celebrity gamers, Stephen Colbert is second tier.

The first tier are those gamers who are completely incognito, the ones who totally defy the stereotype. The body-builders, the athletes, etc. By their very nature, it's impossible to tell how many first-tiers there are out there, but it's always a pleasant surprise when you meet one.

Among celebrity gamers, San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan is first tier.

Of course, not everyone falls so neatly into the three categories, but rather seems to sit on the fence. To continue the celebrity comparisons, I'd put Vin Diesel on the border between first and second tier, or Brian Posehn on the boundary between second and third.
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