Yo Momma Is So Hardcore… [ COMIC ]

So I was thinking about the original idea for today’s Dueling Analogs comic last night, when I decided to take a break and play a little Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. This got me thinking about hardcore gamers and how what was clearly a hardcore gamer of yesteryear was not so clearly defined anymore.

In the 80s it was easy to spot those who would be considered hardcore gamers. They were the ones that spent their entire days in the dimly lit arcades. The impassioned, yet smelly, gamer continued to play the same games over and over again. Hoping that his next leap would be the leap home that he could get just a few extra points than his highest score from his countless games before. Nowadays it’s not so cut and dry.

Remember, hardcore gaming has less to do with the difficultly level of the game and more with the continued determination and passion of the player. And someone who makes sure to set their alarm so they can harvest their crops in Farmville is definitely someone I would consider hardcore. Obsessive is also a word I would use to describe them, as well. But there’s no denying their passion for the game.

And as always, your opinions on the matter are definitely welcomed.


  • MindTricked

    I think you’re dead-on, although I daresay that the hardcore-ness of the Farmville community et.al. is far more obsessive than that of the quarter-on-the-box-I-got-next crowd from my (our) youth, simply because (1) you can play it from the comfort of your home, (2) it’s portable if you’re got the requisite tech, and (3) it’s FREE. It allows for a much-more immersive experience and, thusly, is far-easier to become attached to, especially if it’s a continuing experience, as opposed to the play-through-win-move-on experience.

    • MonocleMan

      Kinda cheated here, replied on this comment cause almost nobody goes waaaay down there and reads the last comments. I believe that hardcore and casual terms are being misunderstood.

      For me a hardcore gamer is the one that doesn’t see the videogames as a hobbie, it is the one that even though people critice him because he has a wii and not a 360 or a 360 and not a PS3, keeps playing the good games that are in the market and the ones he likes. He always finds time to keep playing his games even if they are not console games. It is the one who doesn’t give back the game once he finished it, it’s the one who keeps it to play it again an again and again. Because he finds it FUN!!!

      Casual gamers are the ones who play because it is a way to interact socialy or just because it’s what’s “in” at this moment like farmville. They don’t find the glitches in games, they get a bug in one game and don’t even try to fix it. I mean, once I was playing the Lego Harry Potter game and got stucked because the moving stares got stucked in the middle and to fix it I ofund an invisible platform in the edge of the stairway and jumped from there it took me 1 hour to get to the stair not even nowing if I could fix that and luckily for me I could.

      At the end hardcore gamers are the one that TRULY play videogames.

      Hardcore and casual are just terms bad used and even worst understanded. If you play once in a while a movie game or a party game, it doesn’t make you less hardcore than those that play L4D or SC or HALO or SSBB or any other game. As long as you don’t lose that wish you have to play game that is to come or to finish again a game you had 10 years ago just to fill how you felt that time ago, you are truly a harcore gamer.

  • David Herbert

    So all those people who spend hours on World of Warcraft aren’t losers, they’re hard core gamers. You should make a shirt for that.

  • Richard Kirsch

    What about that lady who killed her kid because she interrupted her while playing Farmville? Now THAT’S hardcore!

    • Leo

      Uh… too soon?

  • Chaos

    Huh…actually, that makes a rather bizarre amount of sense. These days, everyone seems to be throwing around the term ‘hardcore’. People who play PS3 or 360 instead of Wii? Hardcore. People who spend tonnes of time on MMOs? Hardcore. The definition is so blurred by console fanaticism and elitism that it’s basically just one of those buzz words used by gaming companies to explain their ‘target audience’…

    • Ido

      I get you, now it’s only a business gimmick to be hardcore, casual, etc. The only real title that, I believe everyone can agree with me, still has it’s real meaning is the old school gamers. Because you can’t buy the time of our youth..

      • Walter44

        uh…you know that there are old school gamers who play old school games even though they weren’T around when they first came out? you know, people like…me?

        • Ido

          Yeah neo-old school gamers… It’s all good because they’re not influenced by trends or by what the company selling the games tell them what to get. They go with the pure intent of playing games, so yes I forgot about this, but I rest my point that old good games can’t just be remade either.

  • Metal Explosion

    I think difficulty usually goes hand in hand with the determined passion of the player. Well I dunno, I may be speaking for myself, but I like to be challenged every time I play the game at least.

    I mean lets make a hypothetical scenario:

    I play though Bayonetta on Expert mode, and beat the game in say 7 hours, got a challenge and took some time and dedication. Killed a sunday, wew!

    Now my roommate on the other hand, plays 90 mins a night, every night, for 2 straight weeks on easy mode, using a turbo controller and holding down the “do” button. Now it’s still a challenge for him because he’s on the reefer, and sometimes those pretty colors are just a little too much. But he’s putting in a lot more time.

    So who would you say is the better example of a hardcore gamer?

    Personally I believe the hardcore gamer is the guy with the most games beat/higher gamerscore whatever (they go hand in hand pretty much). They can put in the same amount of time as my roommate, but get a lot more done.
    Unless it’s those jackasses that hack their systems.

    • mr_ewe

      But thats the problem. You are spending 7 hours to beat Bayonetta on Expert mode, and then you are done with it. when i was a wee lad of about 8 it took me almost a year to be able to beat sonic 2 on the genesis for the first time. and then i played it over and over to be able to beat it consistently. also, my dad wouldnt buy me new games EVER so it was all i had to play. literally.

      gamer scores and epeens are what are ruining the “hardcore gamer” title. saying “i am so hardcore because my gamer score is the highest ever!” doesnt mean much when you have played 70 million games to 60-70% completion. maybe if those hard to get achievements were worth more points than the entire rest of the game it would be worth it to you gamer score grinders to spend an additional 60 hours on Bayonetta to get 100% achievement completion and quadruple your gamer score from the game. but when you get the same point value for logging 10,000 hours of game time as you get for beating the first level where is the incentive to log the game time? am i right?

      • Isn’t that why PS3 trophies are a better gauge of a persons skill? where some people have 500 bronze trophies, but not 1 platnium, and a very limited amount of gold ones, would translate into a 15000 gamer score…

        • Skiggs

          You can’t use gamerscore or trophies as a measure of skill, they are more related to how much time is sunk into a game or working to attain those achievements. I could spend a month playing a game and be really good at it and not get the gamerscore (achievement) or trophy simply because I didn’t want to or didn’t care it existed, and may not be directly related to the skill of the gamer, so you can’t use them to mark skill, only time sunk into the game.

          And you also can’t directly compare trophies and gamerscore, because each game has a base of 1000 gamerscore (not counting if DLC is released) and each achievement can vary in gamerscore for reasons such as difficulty or overall amount of achievments or other purposes, so you can’t even make a general assumption comparison like the one you made. They are separate value systems and thus can not be compared so easily.

          That, and like I said it’s about time sunk into getting the gamerscore/trophies, and not skill, so it’s pointless to argue that anyway.

    • Lizardman

      refer and games go together like corn and potatoes
      who the F plays easy mode or with turbo controllers anymore? Hey zeuss de christo lame as can be

  • I would call people who play casual games in a hardcore way softcore gamers. It’s almost like the real thing, and can even last as long, but it’s just not as satisfying in the end.

  • The Anarchyz

    I don’t call myself a hardcore gamer now, but when i was in my Arcade/Atari/NES/SNES years, ufff, i still remember the day my thumbs bleed, but that was because i finished Battletoads after almost a year playing, replaying and learning everything about the game, same with Metroid…

  • Sir VG

    Hardcore by definition: “unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated: a hard-core segregationist. ” Thus this comic is, by definition, correct. And it’s kind of a scary thought, really…especially for those of us that do lots of gaming, but just between multiple games (for instance, speed runners).

    • will

      you’d still be a hardcore GAMER, just not a hardcore player on any specific game.

  • The comic makes a good point in that people who play “casual” games can be hardcore too, but I don’t know if it’s really a fair comparison. Games like Farmville (or Castle Age, which I may or may not be addicted to) have a lot more replay value. Something like Bayonetta or other story-intensive games (I haven’t actually played Bayonetta, I’m just assuming here) really only have one or maybe two plays, if you’re in it to play for the story.

    I just happened to watch my roommate play Bayonetta for a few minutes today, and it seems you’re rated on how efficiently you kill a group of monsters or a boss. If you strive to get platinums on all of them, then you’re certainly a hardcore gamer. But I don’t think that playing a game for the storyline makes you any less of a hardcore gamer.

    I personally usually apply “hardcore” to games that are multiplayer, like WoW or TF2 (another addiction) or Medal of Modern Duty or whatever military shooter it is that’s cool these days. I don’t think storyline-gamers should be separated out as being hardcore or not hardcore, just because they don’t play excessively. Some people are more interested in games with strong backgrounds and story, and I don’t think that makes them any less or more of a gamer than those of us who play on a daily basis.

  • bidoopoo

    I always thought of hardcore gamers as the kind of guy who’d angrily chuck a controller across the room with a hissed “F*CK YOU!” aimed at the screen, only to pick up the controller and go right back to the game.

    • Reina Sweet

      Replace the first instance of controller with “baby” and the second with “mouse”.

      You now have Farmville a hardcore gamer(s?).

  • lulz

    duuude hardcoregamers are those kind of guys/girls that change .cfg and .ini settings, overclock their hardware, hack hardware drivers for moar powa, never use any consoles @ all cuz they are gay!!!, use expensive and high quality mice and keyboards with macrokeys (fe. g15), hate facebook and twitter, play games that are optically not that amazing but they dont care because optics are nice but hardcoregamers like games with a good “feeling”, etc.

  • This is something we have addressed a few times on our show, and we came to the exact same conclusion. “Hardcore” is more a definition of passion and has less to do with the games themselves and much more to do with the player. You can play Farmville in a hardcore way, or play WoW casually. But at the same time, there is also a distinction between “Hardcore gamers” and “Hardcore Farmville” or “Hardcore COD” players. You can still be a more generally hardcore player by whipping through games or really following blogs or whatever. I like the phrase “Hardcore dilettante” but that sounds like a Roller Derby player.

    The really interesting thing about this Hardcore vs casual is how it affects games marketing. Since labeling is such an important aspect of how a game is marketed, choosing to define a game as hardcore or casual or whatever can really affect who gets interested in a game.

  • Natfödd

    Fucks sake Steve, stop making comics about hardcore gamers v casual gamers. That applies to the rest of the internet, too. Just stop talking about it in general. What is this, some new development that warrants immediate attention? Some high-profile issue within the gaming industry?

    No. The only fucking reason why it keeps coming up is because of a few peoples esoteric desire to rank some people as ‘tr00er’ than others. They do that in Norwegian Black Metal and they also burn churches and murder people. How much religious arsony have you committed this month, Steve? How many murders? Well don’t you think it’s about time you got some help with that and stopped trying to squeeze the last few drops of content milk from a dried up husk of an issue?


    • Dude, you seriously need to relax. It’s just a comic. People are being entertained and there’s a news post to go with it, as well. You’re really taking this way too seriously.

      • odderz

        I think he’s joking.

        I mean, I hope he’s joking. Otherwise he’s just a bit of a tard.

        In other news, VARG \m/

        (And I like the comic. I used to set my alarm for Farmville… But then it started to sicken me.)

      • Natfödd

        Well, yeah, my post was pretty solidly laden with hyperbole. Although I suggest you cut down on the murderous arsony if you have been engaging in that, by-the-by.

        But the fact that discussion of hardcore v casual has to stop remains. If there was ever one reason as for why I identified myself as ‘casual’ it’s just because of the ridiculousness associated with the ‘hardcore’ group and the even more annoying ridiculousness surrounding this debate of hardcore v casual.

        These words have become pure distilled discussion poison, fit only for the graves of necrophiliacs. One word of this topic and an otherwise respectful forum can be consumed in an absurd flame-war ripped straight from teste-popped xbox live headsets. I may be layering on heavy hyperbole, but these words have to be killed in reality too.

        It’s just another way that gamers try to mark themselves as different, in this case ‘better’ than regular society, only to complain when they’re suspected once something is amiss. Then they become regular citizens who just “happen” to play video games in their spare time, alright. They’re all casual gamers once the Jack Thompson arguments come out to play.

        Now, in no way do I sympathise with the sheer retardation of Jack Thompson or his ilk, but the gaming community feigns ignorance of why they might be targeted again and again and again. These people dedicate their lives to a form of escapism which is new and foreign to the older generation and consider themselves aloof and above the people who should by rights be their peers. Are they victimised in some cases? Absolutely. Probably in a ridiculously large amount of the cases. But we’re never going to resolve these flaws in gaming culture or the perception of gaming culture while we still embrace mindless elitism in arguments without reason.

        There is no hardcore. There is no casual. There are only gamers. Welcome aboard all the Madden spewing Wii-bowling outsiders and get off of your damn high horse.

        (Wow, that ended in an awfully large display of rhetoric …)

  • Ken

    great comic. its funny because of the juxtaposition. first, when you’re a kid and your parents dog on you for being so into games and not doing schoolwork. second, 30 years later when your parents are retired and spend all that time on these addictive web games and you’re out there trying to make a living.

  • Hotsauce

    Just here to say I love you for the Quantum Leap reference.

    • Glad somebody appreciated it.

      • Jess

        At least two of us did. I mentally heard an “Oh boy.”

  • Klas

    I don’t think playing a game for 10 minutes everyday is even close to spending a full day playing a game.

    A hardcore gamer is a person dedicating as much of his free time as practically possible (or more) playing games.
    You can also be a die-hard fan of a particular game and can play it in a hardcore way, but that is something different then being a hardcore gamer.

    But, yeah, having played games until I had blisters within my broken blisters (I literally went down 3 layers of skin (the others got kinda pissed at me when I turned over the Street fighter controller when I finally lost since it was damp from some internal fluid in my finger)) is something very, very different than someone putting in a few moments of relaxation here and there.

    It’s not even about dedication, the distinction between hardcore and casual is how you view the game, if you dedicate a lot of effort and expend energy while playing, you are hardcore, while if you play to replenish energy, you are casual.
    This is the difference between taking a stroll every day and training for the marathon, while the person taking that half-hour stroll does it’s training as frequently (or more so) then the athlete, the athlete is still miles beyond the walker.

    So, no, farmville is not hardcore and it won’t be until it requires you to expend mental and/or physical energy to perform it.

  • Dan

    I’ve always looked at it as a matter of focus, not time. A hardcore gamer is one who is willing to commit not only time but effort as well, while a casual gamer may occasionally challenge themselves but generally just plays to relax. A Farmville player may devote 7 days a week to harvesting and planting crops, but the game itself requires little effort and very little in terms of strategy or dexterity. There’s not much challenge to it, it’s mostly action > reward. On the other hand, a gamer pushing for 100% completion on, say, FF12, must not only spend hours leveling and farming materials for high-end weapons and armor, they must push themselves to fight powerful bosses who require careful resource management and strategy to defeat. The Farmville player may spend as much time as the RPG player, but the effort they put into it is going to be far less. Even if someone is playing Farmville in a ‘hardcore’ way, they’re still playing a simple game intentionally designed to not present much challenge.

    You can even compare within the same game. A WoW player who raids regularly, researches his class, keeps up with changes, PvPs competitively, and uses resources such as spreadsheets to maximize his potential might not necessarily be devoting any more time to the game than someone who only raids occasionally, skims through patch notes, BGs on and off, and mostly just runs 5 mans and tries for easy achievements. If both spend 20 hours a week on the game, are they both equally hardcore? The raider may actually spend less time overall, in some cases, if they’re only playing long enough at a time to achieve a specific goal and if the non-raider spends a lot of time idling in cities or chatting with friends.

    I wouldn’t say that either the hardcore or casual gamer label is inherently superior, it’s all about how the individual approaches their gaming. Some people prefer to push themselves to excel, some just want to relax.

  • Randomgamerdude

    Casual is more of playing in free time. Someone who beats it in one day has no life.
    Who’s hardcore now, Bitch?

  • Kyle

    I guess it’s easier to define actions as being “hardcore” or not, rather than trying to define “hardcore” as a set of actions. Personally, I’ve viewed my love of gaming as hardcore, spending hours, weeks, months perfecting my play of a game, instead of playing just because it’s addicting. After spending a few months on Farmville (or Farm Town or whatever it was called), I realised I spent an hour cleaning up a farm area and putting crops back in, and I didn’t enjoy it at all. That wasn’t very hardcore of me. But watching a tool-assisted speedrun video of a game, trying to get close to playing it that fast by hand.. that’s my style.

    Still, I lol’d at bidoopoo’s comment about throwing the controller and going right back into it. How durable those old SNES controllers proved to be, after I got Street Fighter 2.

  • Jimmy T

    I think hardcore is more defined by a few factors. What games you play, how often you play them, and how generally knowledgeable you are about the topic of gaming. If you only play one game, no matter what game it is, I’d hardly call you a hardcore gamer. Even Halo or Call of Duty. You can be a Hardcore [Game Title] Player, but that doesn’t qualify you to be a hardcore gamer. You need to get around at least half of the gaming spectrum to be even possibly considered one.

  • Tinq

    I don’t call myself a gamer at all. I call myself a games enthusiast. That way when I binge on Enslaved or Batman I don’t feel I have to relable myself if I’ve been off the sauce for a few months.

  • Sephirjon

    Oh definitely, without a doubt those Farmvillers are hardcore. But gamers? That requires one to label Farmville as a game, rather than an interactive online chore.

  • Wah

    My real question here is, why do you draw yourself like that gorilla here in DD, and draw yourself normal in the Outer Circle?

  • SomethingWitty

    I’m surprised nobody has seen this article before, or at least it seems that way since nobody has brought it up at all.

    “There is no casual gamer. There is no hardcore gamer. There is only the downmarket and the upmarket.”

    It’s an unbiased article that makes for a good read and makes some very good points, I highly recommend reading it all the way through. (Warning:It’s long)

  • Darren Sim

    I’d just like to say, i’ve just finished looking at your web comic. Yes all of it. I think i took about a week to get through it all, awesome stuff, i aspire to be as awesome an arist as yourself :D. Also I know i’m a complete idiot for being 2 days behind already on my own site already(must… catch… up…). I dabbled in farmville for a while but the game i was addicted to for a long time was mafia wars. FYI, you need friends who also play these games to be effective in them. Just throwing that out there ;).


  • vb

    Well, a hardcore gamer, in my opinion, is someone with knowledge about games – Your mon could be obsessed by farmville, but she certainly doesn’t know anything about gaming in general.
    I play rarely, but I played so many games that I can actually critizise (SP?) design designs. It’s more about theory than practice – Maybe someone has a 100:0 k:d ratio in Halo, but he’s not hardcore if he doesn’t know about Marathon and if he is unable to see flaws in Halo. (That doesn’t mean being overly negative. It’s about looking from an objective point of view. I’m playing Space Siege at the moment and enjoy it, even though it’s obviously heavily flawed.)

  • ZeroBudgetGamer

    In my opinion, there are three tiers for gaming, Casual, Hardcore, and Major League. When I put someone into one of these tiers, I don’t look at how knowledgeable they are, how much of their life they’ve played games, how many they’ve played, or anything like that. Instead, I focus on how they play each respective game.

    In the Casual set are typically people who play a little bit at a time, commonly either by themselves or with one or two friends at best. So, for a console game they’d log maybe 15-30 minutes at a time, maybe 1-2 hours tops. If it were a fighting or shooting game they’d invite a friend over to play with them, but would otherwise play alone. PC Games, most specifically MMO’s, they’d typically play by themselves, maybe run a dungeon here and there, but even if they’re in a guild or what have you they’d mainly play the game solo. Skill level and knowledge level have little to do with being Casual. In fact, some of the most knowledgeable people might be Casual, primarily because they spend more time reading and learning about games than they do actually playing them.

    The Hardcore set I feel are people who can play for hours on end, and refuse to play games alone. For a console game, if it can be played by more than one person, then that’s the only way to play said game; furthermore, instead of inviting just one friend over, they’d invite five, six, or maybe even more people over and play for hours. In an MMO setting, these would be your Raiders and Arena-goers, people who would spend more time in a group than they do solo. That being said, Hardcore gamers aren’t restricted to only playing games in a group. There can be plenty of Hardcore single-player gamers, but I’d be willing to wager most of them would spend a good deal on forums, talking about, getting advice for, and critiquing the game they play with others.

    The Major League set will play games the longest, but probably won’t have as wide of a repertoire as the others. Just as the title suggests, Major Leaguers play games competitively, as in real-world Tournaments for cash and other prizes. As such, they’d spend most of their free time playing the game(s) they compete in, honing their skills, trying to get ever better. While I don’t know much about the Major League level, it’s very difficult for me to imagine a Major Leaguer playing other games Casually, so I’d have to say when they’re not playing the game(s) they compete in, they are Hardcore gamers for everything else.

    These three tiers could actually be applied for other activities as well, and for this I’d like to consider sports. Imagine for a second that there was a team of baseball players in your town/city; not a Major League team, but a team of people from around the city who would come together every weekend to play the game with other like-minded teams. These would be the Hardcore baseball players, while Casuals would be people who would, maybe once a week, go to a batting range or play catch with a friend. Now, imagine, if you will, someone who, for whatever reason, JUST picked up a baseball bat a week ago, weighs over 350 lbs., and walks up to the baseball team and goes: “I am a baseball player, too! You have to recognize me as a baseball player and let me join your team because I have a bat, just like you!”

    I believe the biggest reason why the debate on Casual vs. Hardcore has arisen, and has become as passionate of a subject as it has, is because there’s a large slew of brand new Casual gamers that seem to want recognition. The people I refer to are people whose first “video game” came from either Facebook or an iPhone, neither of which have been around for a great many years now. While these are technically gamers, they’ve seen nothing but the bottom-most tier of gaming, and seem to think that puts them on the same level as those of us who have played since we were little kids, back in the days of the (S)NES, and have slowly moved our way up into the highest-most tiers of gaming. Although I understand that some companies are trying to give newcomers that same experience, starting them off somewhere safe and easy, then slowly moving them up to our level, other companies are simply going “BATS FOR EVERYONE! YOU’RE ALL BASEBALL PLAYERS NOW, GO FORTH AND SWING YOUR BATS PROUDLY!”

    • ZeroBudgetGamer

      Wow, it looked so much smaller in the box.

      TL;DR: Casual vs. Hardcore is essentially a myth. The real thing everyone is debating about is New Gamers vs. Veteran Gamers. New Gamers =/= Casual.

      • corpsegirly

        I agree 100%

  • I had a different definition of what a hardcore gamer is. I wrote this article back in 2005 for GamingW.net:

    I recently updated it in my blog this year along with other types of gamers I came up with using various sources:

    Here’s my definition for Hardcore gamer:

    A Hardcore Gamer is someone who does whatever it takes to get the most enjoyment from their gaming experiences. This can be done despite (or, in some cases, as a result of) technical or logistical problems in the game. This doing what it takes can be hauling a PS One and a copy of Bomberman Party to a friend’s house after school everyday, rigging up an in-house Ethernet network for a LAN party, or just developing the aesthetic sense necessary to appreciate a game’s story, music, gameplay, graphics, and controller configuration all at the same time. Unfortunately, this definition is no more likely to justify any given person’s claims to hardcore than before. But, as the other definitions show, a hardcore gamer is partially defined by what he or she is not, and a hardcore gamer DOES NOT LET MUCH detract from a good gaming experience, no matter the title, platform, graphics and control scheme.