People have been playing games for thousands of years, but it seems that no one was referred to as a “gamer” until the year 1450.
When you hear the word gamer, most people immediately think of people who play video games. The site you are reading this on right now is called TheGamer and our focus is to report on, that’s right, video games. With that in mind, you would think it would be safe to assume that the term “gamer” is a relatively new one.
Video games only arrived on the scene during the second half of the 20th century after all. I also can’t imagine that the word gamer came as part of the package as soon as video games were a thing. It seems doubtful that everyone who became addicted to Pong was being referred to as an avid gamer from there on out.
If I were to venture a guess as to when the term gamer was first used, I’d have said the late 1970s, perhaps even the early 1980s. That guess would have been off by more than 500 years. That’s because the first known use of the word gamer dates all the way back to 1450. A stark reminder that you don’t have to play video games to be a gamer.
The word gamer was used in the codes of law governing the town of Walsall in England. It doesn’t make reference to video games, of course, but players of card games, backgammon, and even tennis. If you think people look down on those who classify themselves as gamers today, you should get a load of this. Not only does the law threaten prison to gamers, but also those who dare to house them.
As for what Walsall’s problem was with gamers and playing games during the 15th century, we’re not sure. To not only imprison gamers, but also those letting gamers live in their homes seems a little excessive. If there’s ever another attack on gamers like there was back in 1450, we here at TheGamer might have to consider a name change. Thank goodness we’re not based in Walsall.
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Josh has been gaming for as long as he can remember. That love began with a mild childhood addiction to the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive since he lives in the UK. Back then, Sonic 2 quickly became his favorite game and as you might have guessed from his picture, the franchise has remained close to his heart ever since. Nowadays, he splits his time between his PS4 and his Switch and spends far too much time playing Fortnite. If you’re a fan of gaming, wrestling, and soccer, give him a follow on Twitter @BristolBeadz.
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