Video Games; guilty pleasure or just a hobby?

I love video games but for many years I have been uncomfortable publically admitting that. Why? Well there is, at least in my mind, some kind of public stigma about those who play games. We all know the stereotype, nerdy glasses wearing kind in a basement with no life.

Yet of my generation, there are very few people who have not at least at some point in time played video games. There are many of us who have never stopped, just ask Sony & Microsoft, they don’t make billions from 10 year olds, maybe their parents help, but the playstation generation is still going strong & we still love our hobby. That is what it is, it’s a hobby, just as valid as any other.

What is it about games that I like? In much the same way as my wife enjoys reading, it is an escape, a journey into another world. A well done game is like being in a movie only you get to control the star. There are other aspects too, as much as I love playing sports, I am not a start athlete, I will never play for Leeds United or the Dallas Cowboys. Thanks to video games though, I can not only can I control the team, but I can also fix everything and make them good again – ahh if real life were so simple.

Then there is the relatively new (to me at least) aspect of online gaming. This wonderful change of direction that changed something that used to be a solitary event or at best you & a friend or 2 into this massively social adventure. I never used to care much for shooting games (FPS) but online gaming changed that. It is a wonderful adventure, it somewhat fills that competitive void that was created when I stopped playing soccer; it also fills the social void created when I left England. Not one of great depth, but the social aspect of hanging around & talking crap, in England I got that at the pub with my friends, I have no desire to hang out in pubs or bars anymore, but having a laugh with some friends is always enjoyable, FPS online gaming gives that to me. I joined a clan in 2008, a clan is simply a group of individuals who like the same games & play regularly together. It is a team of sorts, over time if well done it changes from a group of individuals to a group of friends, that is what I have.


Yeah, it’s kinda like this 😉

Video games, probably my favorite hobby, I’m not sure if I like it being ranked that high, but if I look at how I spend my free time, they are usually right at the top. I’m not sure that favourite is the correct word, but most active, it requires so much less effort than other things that the hour or so free I have at the end of a night usually gets dedicated to that over other things.  So long as they are not messing with my life balance I suppose that is ok, I certainly prefer playing to watching tv or movies, something about being involved rather than just watching does it for me.

Of course like everything else that I have loved since before the transformation in my life, I have doubts about gaming. Is it a good thing for me to be pretending to kill people every night? Is it a good thing to play a game that can get me so wound up I could make a sailor blush at times? Why does every non-sports game have to be about killing these days? I swear it wasn’t always that way, I guess violence sells, my generation is so desensitized to it that it doesn’t impact us like I assume it would my parent’s generation. I’m not saying I don’t enjoy a good shooter, I do, but it seems like even adventure games these days have to be at least 60% killing, it really is too much.

I sometimes wonder if it would be better to get rid of the PS3, spend that time writing or playing music or reading. My most prolific period of music creation was when I had not games in my life, however that could simply be a coincidence of timing (16-19). The truth is that I would probably spend that time watching tv or youtube & not doing anything more productive anyway, so I guess I will just try to enjoy my hobby, keep it in balance & remember it’s just a game 🙂

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