So I consider myself a gamer, have been for a long time. Hopefully, I always will be. The first game I ever played was Super Mario Bros on my Nintendo NES, my most recent will be PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (now that I’m finally getting around to building my PC rig), and I’ve owned almost everything in between. I lost my baby teeth playing Alex Kidd and Altered Beast, went through school playing Pokemon Red to Pokemon X, and have wasted hours upon hours of my life on the big ones like Call Of Duty and League of Legends. I feel like everything in my life is game related nowadays; talking to my friends on the daily about what’s coming out and what time we’re getting online on that night, my room is just jumbled full of gaming riff raff. I have a life, right?
Okay wait, that’s a low-blow. I mean that is the irony these days, that gamers don’t have lives, but why does it exist though? Why is that the stereotype for gamers? Why should my hobby make me less social (even though I’m on call in game with the same people every night)? I mean, no one would ever say that about people who binge their Netflix series or a person who spends twelve straight hours painting on Sunday. So why does everyone else have to make cheap shots at gamers?
On the plus side, video games aren’t too nerdy anymore, I mean everyone plays games these days which makes it less embarrassing when you talk about it. Partly because of casual games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds, and partly because of the recent obsession with retro video games which means everyone now has a Nintendo NES Mini. But that doesn’t mean video games are accepted, no far from that. They are still condemned by your girlfriends, demonized by your mums’ who still seem to think that being in front of a screen is responsible for everything that’s wrong in your life. Most (my girlfriends) still think that it’s a waste of time and too childish to play games, I still get a little embarrassed telling friends and family (especially the older ones) that I want to start streaming my games. They make me feel like I’m doing something wrong, like an old hobby I should have thrown away along with my Pokemon Cards and Pony Pals books.
So why does the stereotype still exist? Why does mentioning Starcraft or World of Warcraft bring up such weird and awkward feelings from your average non-gamer? Why is it, that us playing games is seen as wasting time, but it’s ‘productive’ to read a book or watch a movie? Why is there such a contrast between being a gamer and a sports geek or film buff? I mean if people would make the effort to look into the gaming scene they would look beyond the stigma, and see that a good number of us aren’t socially anxious and covered in pimples. Most of the gamers that I know have healthy relationships, have really active social lives and have a pretty good balance of their lives beyond games. But you won’t find those types in your movies. Isn’t it better to create a more entertaining satire of gamers?
Maybe there will come a day when I won’t be a gamer (knock on wood), and maybe one day calling someone a gamer will be just the same as calling someone a ‘movie-buff’ or ‘book-worm’. I do hope when that day comes, that people will start recognizing the depth of the art and stories of video games, so maybe it will soften the blow when I tell someone that I, a full-grown adult female, play video games.