I have always dated Gamers so it's no surprise that I married a man that I truly believe is the "Ultimate Gamer." How is he an "Ultimate Gamer" and one might ask why is he still gaming at age 34? My husband beats games all the way through before moving on to the next. If a game is part of a series he will start with the first game and proceed in order to the last. When he isn't taking our son to Cub Scout meetings, attending family celebrations, or on a family outing, he spends the rest of his free time playing games. Why does he play games?
Before explaining, I would like to pose some questions:
Why might you be part of a sports league?
Why might you spend your free time reading? Or baking? Or riding a motorcycle with a group of friends who also ride?
You probably see where I'm going with this. My husband, my son, and I play video games because it's one of our hobbies however not everyone recognizes gaming as a legitimate hobby. I am here to tell you that it is! There are too many times I have heard things like:
"You need to get out of the house more," "It's just a game," "Video games are a waste of time, you can do so many other better things."
Imagine for one moment someone telling you: "Playing on a basketball team is such a waste of time," or "Practicing baking a dozen cupcakes for no reason makes no sense. You need to go out more rather than staying in the kitchen to bake." You may have heard such things about your hobby and in my opinion gamers get it the worst.
For those of you who have never really played video games, you may not know all the variety of games and what they have to offer. With today's technologies, video games are as social and pleasing as playing baseball with your friends and they are definitely more productive than going to the club every weekend.
1. Staying in Touch with Old Friends
Everyone knows the feeling of losing touch with great friends. Most of my best friends live 6+ hours away. Even if friends live in the same city, it can be tough to meet up with family and work taking up most of your time. One of my husband's best friends is also a gamer (shout out to Pat!) They both do not like to go to clubs and bars much and who is to say that that should be the best way to hang with your friends? My husband and his bestie spend time together playing the same game where they can voice chat via the computer, type via the computer, and most importantly strategize on how to beat challenging situations together and enjoy the thrill of achievement when reaching success. Gaming is not only a hobby, it is a hobby you can share with friends and a way to stay in touch.
2. Gaming as Family Time (Yes, I said it!)
How is going to a movie with family or playing a game of mini-golf any better than playing a video game together? Most games have a multi-player option so you are playing together in real time. My husband and I have learned to accept our son and his interests, this includes video gaming. Do we only play video games with him? Absolutely not but all three of us spend time playing the same game together all in the same room so it really is no different than staring at a television together. I would argue television can be worse in some ways. Have you ever played board games with your family? We do but we also have fun playing games in a digital environment.
3. Gaming Inspires Creativity
The Greeks have always seen the value in artistic expression and the arts are considered a legitimate hobby. If you are not familiar with video games and gamers then you might not know that there are entire conventions each year dedicated to the hobby of gaming. These conventions bring in tens of thousands of people from around the globe to all celebrate their hobby of gaming. How is this different than attending a concert? It really is not and tons of these gamers spend up to a year or more creating costumes by hand to wear at these conventions. Games inspire people to be creative and to share their joy in this creativity. Sounds extremely social to me!
These are just a few points about how gaming is a valued hobby. I would argue that gamers are forward thinking people, people who see the value of technology and will always be able to embrace our changing world.
So the next time you hear someone judge or you judge a gamer who turns down an invitation to go out because they have a scheduled raid (a raid is a scheduled fight with up to 40 people globally and can last up to 4 hours), remember that this raid is equivalent to the time and concentration spent on basketball games and guitar playing.
I am accepting of all hobbies, even those that I am not interested in. Over the years it seems that gamers get the most criticism and judgements but I know from experience that there is so much more to it than just sitting in your house all alone wasting your life away. I hope this sheds some light on the subject because our future is moving towards a future of gamification. Open your hearts to the gamers as you have to concerts, sports, painting, and all the other amazing list of hobbies!
Check out this TED Talk on gaming:
My blog post on the classic Chores and Spouse challenge:
What is your view on gaming as a hobby?
Written by Sterp
My Mantra: Strive to be the best me and improve a little every day. Be compassionate, especially to those who may not practice it. Continue to learn and love. Take a moment multiple times each day to breathe. Forgive myself and forgive others. Read books. Live what I preach. Accept others. And above all, laugh every single day. (P.S. I have an infatuation for horror and disturbing and dark true stories.)