So, what are gamers really talking about? A spot study of r/gaming

Here at Kill Screen, we often talk about the blossoming conversation about games. Our line goes: games are maturing and becoming more interesting, and gamers are too, and the discussions we have reflect that.

It’s a nice thought, but is it true? I wanted to see what actual gamers are actually talking about on this Tuesday morning in late 2012, so I tabulated the top 100 “hot” posts on r/gaming and categorized them. Here’s what I found.

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The most popular topic of discussion, by far, is old or retro games and game systems. Twenty-eight of the posts, more than a quarter of the entire sample, were about games and game tech that are ten or more years old. 

The only other topic in double digits was Skryim, with ten posts.

Five or more: Call of Duty (7), Assassin’s Creed (6), Zombies (6), Various ironies (5), Halo (5)

The rest: NSFW (3), Steam-related (2), Pokemon (1), Far Cry 3 (2), Infographics/Actual information (1), Minecraft (1), Borderlands 2 (1), FIFA (1), Mass Effect (3), Knights of the Old Republic (1), Dead Space 3 (1), Weird Stuff/I have no idea (3), Just Cause 2 (1), Portal (2), Hitman (1), Dark Souls (2), Fear 2 (1), Halo (5), Fallout (1), BioShock (1)

So! The conversation this Tuesday is rather nostalgic, isn’t it? It’s worth noting that there is only a single reference to an indie (Minecraft), and no portable or casual games. Of course, it’s not news that the people who are passionate enough about games to discuss them are a subset of the huge population of people who play games. I wonder, though, about the connection between nostalgia and the desire to share. Is there a “game imprinting” age, during which a person is especially receptive to the charms of the medium? Why do we have the need to relive these private moments publically?