Gaming is a billion dollar industry that incorporates a wide audience of every demographic. It amazes me, however, that as a gamer ages, their gaming hobby starts to be frowned upon by other non-gaming adults. Apparently, in this day and age gaming is hobby that is only supposed to be enjoying by teens and college students. People critical of older gamers point out the fact that adults need to be responsible and do things like work full time, fix up their house, and spend time with their family. Of course, all of these aspects of life are incredibly important, and I am not advocating for people to ignore their children for a video game. However, I do think that non-gamers should consider the validity of having a gaming hobby.
For starters, gaming is not any more time consuming than other activities and hobbies favored by working adults. How many people come home from work and promptly sit down in front of the television for hours? It’s amazing to me how some people think that it is okay to watch television for three to four hours every night, but apparently gamers are “wasting their lives” doing the same. How many people spend time on crafts, reading, going out to bars/clubs, sports, etc.? All of these things entertain us and take up our time. Does it matter whether a person spends their Sunday afternoon spending hours watching football or playing the latest multiplayer game? Frankly, I don’t care what people spend their time doing, as long as they give me the same courtesy.
Another thing that non-gamers tend to say (amazingly enough, it’s usually in off-handed comments; it’s almost always never direct), is that gamers need to “grow up” and find a more mature hobby. Well, what exactly is a mature hobby? Spending every evening at a bar? Going to clubs? Working on a fantasy football league? Blowing money on needless window shopping? The thing is, a lot of things people spend their time on isn’t really “mature.” To me, there are a lot of “acceptable” hobbies that seem pretty childish to me. And again, I don’t care what people do, but I want to be left alone.
Lastly, gaming is actually an intelligent choice in hobbies. It is not mindless like some people seem to think. Okay, I’ll admit that there are some bad games that fall into that category. There are some games that are beyond the inappropriate level as well. However, there are some star titles that are intelligent and make you think. The BioShock franchise immediately comes to mind. It is a game that makes you think and highlights important issues such as capitalism and communism, the role of religion, and how power affect individuals, as well as class and race issues. But it doesn’t stop there. Games like the Mass Effect franchise and the Fallout games have amazing story lines to them–better than most movies I’ve seen in a long, long time. Even the games contain an amazing amount of satire. So to me, I’d rather be playing a video game than trying to watch the latest Hollywood bomb.
Then again, I may just be writing this in vain because, as my husband correctly stated, “I don’t need to prove myself to other people. I don’t need to justify my hobbies to anyone.” I think he’s absolutely correct. Besides, I do not need to “get a life;” I have one, and it’s a lot of fun.