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  What Is A ‘Game Fan?’  
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
Today wasn't the first time I've heard someone say they're a "fan of games," but given that I overheard it during a commute, I had a couple dozen minutes to think about what the phrase actually means. The context in which the phrase is usually uttered leads me to believe that "game fans" are casual gamers--perhaps once they owned a game console, but it's now collecting dust or is locked in some musty closet. This person likes the idea of games, but probably hasn't played them enough to become game-literate in any substantial sense.

A "fan of games" is like a fan of books, a fan of music, a fan of sports, or a fan of good cooking. A well intentioned but witless consumer, essentially. I suppose by contrast, I'd consider a "gamer" to be comparable to an avid reader, a record-collector or someone who goes to see live music at least once a week, an amateur athlete, or a person enrolled in night-class cooking school. A producer, not consumer; a practitioner or at least active participant.

I get the sense that historically there have been far too many "game fans" involved in making games and related interactive experiences, and not nearly enough gamers, but this is sure to change over time. It's becoming easier each year for fans to evolve into participants, if not producers, so I hope in the next few years we'll see a lot fewer folks watching from the sidelines and a lot more gamers bringing their unique sensibilities to projects of all sizes and types.
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