Poll: Reader or Gamer?

I noticed that most people here in the CoG community think of themselves as either gamers or readers, and therefore approach interactive fiction differently (i.e., I say “reading” interactive fiction while my brother, a gamer, says “playing.”) So, I started wondering about what the majority here identifies as.

So, do you think of yourself as a…

  • Reader
  • Gamer
  • Both
  • Neither

I set this thing up as a poll, but of course discussion is encouraged. :slight_smile:


I always call CoGs “interactive novels” or “gamebooks” and I always refer to it as “reading” them. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I play Choice of Games and other forms of interactive fiction. However I generally don’t game them as such, I’m looking first and foremost for the most interesting stories. Or maybe I do game them, while I don’t try to unlock all the achievements, I do go poking around in the code once I’ve played through a few times.

I identify as both a reader and a gamer, even though I’ve only read two proper books in the last year. (And made a start before losing interest in a handful of others.) Not being able to read properly is frustrating.

Gamer’s got a whole lot of baggage attached to it. I love gaming, I love how it’s such an interactive medium and in that way it can do things that more passive forms of entertainment, such as reading books and watching movies/television can’t. It’s a powerful medium and there’s still so much to be explored about it.

But there’s certain people who give the hobby such a bad name. Gamergate’s just the tip of the iceberg there.

I enjoy things such as visual novels and interactive fiction immensely, but I hesitate to call them games (which I also love). It feels less like playing, and more like experiencing a story.

What defines a game?

I’m firmly of the belief that interactive fiction and visual novels are games. You can both play and experience a story at the same time after all.

Take it right back down to its basics though. The simple act of picking option a or option b is a game. It may be a simple game mechanic but it is one.

I don’t know. You make a good point. However allow me to present a shitty hypothetical.

Say there’s a contraption with a screen and two buttons. One turns the screen red and the other turns the screen blue. Would you still think that qualified as a game, albeit an extremely simple one?

I sometimes take my time to read CYOAs (particularly if the pages aren’t too long), but I tend to just skim through them and breeze through.

Yes that’s still a game.

In fact say there’s a screen with just one button, pressing that button is still a game as many of those idle clicker games have proven

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I don’t get the distinction between viewing yourself as a reader or gamer. It feels like by calling myself a reader I would be choosing to identify more with the story, and by selecting gamer I identify more with the interaction. Do games not tell story’s too.

I can’t think of a AAA game that does not have a story. Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Dragon Age and the Fallout series are all games that tell stories and even have a decent amount of player interaction with the story. Games like Call of Duty, Battlefield, and MMOs have a campaign mode despite it not being their focus. Even playing Super Mario Smash Bros at a friend’s house tells a story. Its the story of you and your friends competing with characters across Nintendo for supremacy.

I think it is a sliding scale between a reader and a gamer, just as there is a sliding scale between a interactive novel and a choose your own adventure game. They both contain the same things, just in different proportions.

This is pretty much how i see it.

Excellent contributions, everyone! :smiley:

@malinryden I agree, the sliding-scale is a good way of describing it. I enjoy both reading and playing video games, but I think of myself as a reader because that’s what I do more of. Some people on the forum complain about CoGs with big walls of texts between choices, but I don’t mind them. I do get frustrated with gamebooks that place a lot of emphasis on stats, though. I’m more interested in the story than calculating what choices I need to make to get this or that number high enough. That’s where the “gamey” part comes in to play (pun intended).

@WinterHawk It’s like what malinryden said, it’s not so much as an “either-or” as a spectrum. Where you stand on the spectrum determines what you prefer more of or place more emphasis on within games/gamebooks. Like you said, all those games have very well-written and involved stories, but they each contain different amounts of different things. Mass Effect (which I love) places a lot of emphasis on the overarching Reaper story and character development/relationships, with some shooting in between the cutscenes. Fallout (which I have a love/hate relationship with) has a fantastic story but also emphasizes numerical stats. For me, the number-crunching and figuring out the formula for a “good” ending is what makes a game seem more like a game.

(I’ll come back to this I have to go get dinner before the restaurant closes.)

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