Are you a gamer? Rather, do you consider yourself a gamer? What types of games do you find yourself playing the most? Recently, I have been thinking about all of the different games I play/have played throughout my life and how they affect my interactions of daily life. I’m not some guy who goes out and parties like my life will end tomorrow. No, instead, I enjoy a good game with my friends or the thought of meeting someone new. In today’s gaming culture, we find ourselves surrounded more with games which connect us to other people whether it be directly or indirectly. Now, think back to some of the games you play. Think about the games you played recently! How many of those games in the past month were with other people?
I tend to play video games for the escape, for the relaxing feeling I get when distracted from the real world. There was a time in my life when I threw away games as I focused on my health and my college work (ironically, game design). During that time, I went “outside” more, I met new people, I connected with others. What I think of now is…where are those people now? Who were they? In my nomadic lifestyle, I have re-located away from all of those people I met and no longer interact with ANY of them on a regular basis. Now that I think about it, I talk to one person from those days, and one person from my childhood. Is this my fault? Maybe.
We tend to run into those people who shame gamers for what they love doing, playing games. Now, earlier I asked you what games you have played. When you think of games, did you go straight to video games? Did Call of Duty come to mind? Halo? World of Warcraft? If those were the only types of “games” you thought of, then you need to expand your field of view and remember that games include other things such as: pool, table tennis (ping pong), boxing, football, wall ball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, monopoly, Adapt, Risk. Oh, you forgot about those things being “games” huh?
“Games prevent you from being social.”
We are surrounded by games, even “non-gamers” play games. I found myself in a recent conversation where the other person said they were worried about me because I don’t live my life like I did 3 years ago (partying, going out to meet people, etc.). Needless to say, I was 19 then. I moved out of my parent’s house, attended ONLINE college, worked a full time job, and never really found time to play games because my money was going to social events. Looking at this in retrospect, I still play games online with the same people now for more than 5+ years. I have yet to even have a conversation with any of the people I used to “socialize” with a few years back. How could this person be worried about me more now than when I was out-and-about going to parties and doing bad things (adult things with women, drinking things I shouldn’t have, and even smoking)? I have no understanding to this.
I was told I am not social enough, I will lose the ability to be social, I’m just gaining weight (many contributions to this, to be honest, I can’t deny this obviously), not seeing my family enough, I don’t have any friends, and I’m a bad person. Wait…so I’m a bad person for working a full-time job, paying off student loan debts, keeping to myself, working out regularly, not doing drugs, not partying, not drinking excessively, playing games, developing games, meeting new people all around the world, and not being completely social? The only thing I can think of is there might be some limiting, closed-minded view of my external reality that this person conceives. You know, people around us only know what they are told and what they experience in direct relation to us as an individual.
Before going out and consuming someone’s time with “concerned thoughts,” make sure you know what’s actually going on. Stop for a second, really understand the person’s situation, then help with your knowledge and wisdom rather than putting hurtful words into their mind and making things worse. Personally, I love the people I have met online playing video games. We share similar interests, we connect on an unbiased field of conversation, we adapt and open up to each other, and all around, we enjoy the company (virtual or in-person) we provide for each other. It’s not always about the face-to-face communication when we are isolated from our friends, it’s about staying connected and keeping an open mind to the new technologies that allow us to understand more of the world outside of our hometowns.
PS. I’m also not against being around people in social environments…I just prefer to pick my battles.