The Average Gamer

Play Video Games? Get a Life!

As a person, I can get narked pretty easily about little things. I have a rant for a bit, and then move on. But some things just plain offend me. Not only me, as I’m sure you’ll agree after reading this, but all beloved video game fans.

Recently on Facebook was another round of ‘Top 100’ blah blah blah lists (which I love to fill out, btw), but I was pleasantly surprised to see one for video games. The list is pretty comprehensive, with games from over the last 30 years on all the various platforms over the years. The idea is to tick the ones you have experienced, with which I came away with a modest 60 out of 100. But this was too much for one person, citing my need to ‘get a life’.

Get a life, sir? Isn’t that what I’ve been doing for the last 31 years? I’m married, I’ve got two kids, and I’m working to live like anyone else. Video games are just another entertainment medium; you don’t need hermit-like habits to sample their pleasures. Is it no less of a life than watching the entire extended Lord of the Rings movies in one sitting compared to eleven hours of non-stop gaming? Ok, so gaming is often a more solitary pleasure, particularly playing alone instead of in a crowded living room. But does it make me less cultured just because I don’t want to read Fifty Shades of Grey like everyone else?

Oh but it gets better. Only 5 days later, the same guy tweets that he has purchased Gran Turismo 5, plans to spend all weekend on it, and then proceeds to tweet about the installation process six different bloody ways. You see, that’s one of the many little things I rant about: hypocrites. Far too many people will turn their nose up at the fact that I play and write about video games, but will then happily tell friends what a great time they had on Singstar or Dance Central. It’s still gaming in some form.

Having a wife, an 11 year old and a 4 month old doesn’t make gaming easy. Of course, opportunities come much more few and far between, but these are indeed savoured moments. Only the other evening me and the eldest, once my youngest was asleep, resumed our joint campaign effort on Halo Anniversary. There is interaction, communication and teamwork present, which would be noticeably absent if we decided to vegetate in front of the television. Of course there is a need for that too, but gaming is so much more exciting!

I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember, from a variation of the Magnavox Odyssey, Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, and most consoles since. They were introduced to me by my parents; they have never been gamers themselves, only occasionally, but were a means of having fun and interaction with their children. As a parent myself now, my eldest is supervised with his gaming, and depending on his behaviour and as he matures, he will be allowed to explore the more mature titles. This is our life; a healthy balance of everything feeds the body and mind.

So I’d played 60 games from a list of 100. To be honest, I was disappointed with many on the list I have not experienced. So shoot me, because I’m condemned to having no life. The hypocritical nature that occurs against video games may never stop, but the point is: don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.