“Whenever gaming as a pastime is brought into a discussion people immediately suggest alternative uses of your time. ‘Do something productive’, ‘do something healthy’ “
The importance of entertainment to the populous cannot be understated; in your down time, if you’re never creating or consuming, congratulations, you’re likely miserable and without an outlet (or maybe you’re a robot). It’s important to all of us and we all have our preferences, be those movies, books, TV boxsets or, generally a mixture. Your personal interpretation and emotional reaction to what is it you enjoy in your me time.
The perception of artistry in any form of entertainment is subjective and is a whole other discussion that I, frankly, do not have the word court, nor the knowledge to tackle. No, what I want to draw attention to is the value of gaming as a positive, meaningful way to spend your time, should you be so inclined.
You Know What Really Grinds My Gears?
So what’s my beef? Simple: society, beyond the quiet few, still believe it’s not acceptable for an adult to use gaming as their main entertainment medium or for a family to spend quality time together enjoying gaming. Why, despite the UK’s video games market amounting to 1.2 times the size of the video market and 2.8 times the size of the music market, does society still retain the perception of gaming as a form of cultural deviancy?
“My wife and I absolutely love grinding for weapon upgrades on Monster Hunter. Why? Well, aside from the sheer brilliance of that series, it brings enjoyment.”
Whenever gaming as a pastime is brought into a discussion people immediately suggest alternative uses of your time. ‘Do something productive’, ‘do something healthy’ (because, your mind isn’t as important as your six-pack). Believe it or not, I don’t believe styling hair for your next selfie or going to the pub to forget why you’re bored in the first place is a productive use of your time. Look, I wouldn’t re-felt the shed roof at nine o’clock at night and these people probably don’t either. They probably just watch Corrie.
There’s a reason Cash Generator has so many Xbox Ones, sugar tax aside. It seems to stem from a belief that, at the age of 24, by participating in a bizarre rite of passage, returning your games console to trade-in for used DVDs of Scrubs, will mean a stable marriage, mortgage and a wee baba (currently capped at two).
Too Immature to Be Mature?
My wife and I absolutely love grinding for weapon upgrades on Monster Hunter. Why? Well, aside from the sheer brilliance of that series, it brings enjoyment. It’s gratifying and even if it’s not everyone else’s bag, a task like that is what you make of it. What’s wrong with using gaming as the main source of entertainment? Did you know that you can have a partner, job, kids, even grow your veggies and own a PS4? And USE it! Get out of town.
“You know what? My Love Island is Dead Cells. My Netflix is my JRPG collection. My Strictly is Persona 4: Dancing All Night.”
Society at large aren’t happy with this nonsense. And who better than the mainstream media to provide society with a hastily prepared broth of deceptive bile (all for the clicks, you understand)? Whether we’re discussing GamerGate, trolling, ‘swatting’, school shootings, Pokémon Go accidents or the latest, and frankly peculiar obsession with Gaming Addiction – the vast majority of gaming-related articles the average person is exposed to are overwhelmingly negative. I’m not naïve enough to believe the entertainment sections of mainstream media paint a rosy picture of all other facets of other industries but this brand of exclusive manufactured negativity is reserved for gaming alone. The kids who put fireworks in my local Tesco cashier’s Corsa the other night didn’t learn the trick from Just Cause. Games didn’t create violent media, car theft existed before GTA, football existed before FIFA, war existed before CoD.
The recent topic of gaming addiction has been covered plenty by both the gaming media and mainstream media. Even right here you can catch Reggie’s very own take on matter of mental health and gaming. I feel it important to at least touch on the subject, something I intend to address in a future feature.
It’s Called Serotonin You Flannel!
The picture of nerds in the basement peeing in bottles, battling vitamin D deficiency may not be as prevalent as it was in say, the 90s, yet every time I say I’m an avid gamer and I’d rather play video games than say, play badminton or binge watch Amazon Prime, I still receive that same bemused, judgemental look, as though it’s a big shock that I can still function as a healthy, productive, family-oriented person. Am I projecting? I’ll let the reader decide based on their own experience.
Either way, there’s no avoiding the fact that certain activities come with stigma. If it’s not the average person’s obscured view of what should be ‘normal’, well done, you’re weird. You know what? My Love Island is Dead Cells. My Netflix is my JRPG collection. My Strictly is Persona 4: Dancing All Night.
If our hobby is as big as it is, why is it still considered part of society’s deviant culture? We’re on a gaming site and, not to presume too much, I’m likely preaching to the choir. Still, let’s enjoy what we enjoy and not let others detract from it. If gaming must be the edgy anti-hero, sod it, that’s way cooler anyway.
Gaming brings nothing but positivity to millions. Take that and spread it. Don’t feed the hate.