Remember when a “Hardcore Gamer” was the one who spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours leveling in Final Fantasy, or obtaining every piece of heart in The Legend of Zelda? Remember when a “Hardcore Gamer” was that guy down the street who beat M. Bison on Hardest, or had caught all 151 Pokémon (getting Mew through a Toys ‘R’ Us promotion) in Red/Blue Version? How come the modernized “Hardcore Gamer” specifically points to a competitive gamer who most likely plays an FPS or RTS?
Playing Call of Duty shouldn’t make you a hardcore gamer. Being passionate about games in general is what should make you a hardcore gamer. Think about it – a Pro Star Craft gamer, for example, is a Competitive Gamer. He/she puts loads of hours into mastering the game. My proposition is, however, if that is the only game he/she has ever played then why is he/she a Hardcore Gamer? To be hardcore, you should also fit into the “Core” department, one who plays lots of different kinds of games.
I’ve always felt “Hardcore” was a step up from “Core”. The Core Gamer would be the guy who likes to play a wide variety, but isn’t top notch. The Hardcore Gamer is the kind who plays a wide variety and IS top notch, while a competitive gamer is hardcore in a specific game, he/she doesn’t spend enough time on other games to be considered a generalized “Hardcore Gamer” and should instead be known as a “Pro” or “Competitive” gamer.
In the end, I guess it really doesn’t matter. We all do what we love doing. It’s just frustrating that hardcore gaming is almost solely associated with the FPS genre.