Michael Mays / May 6th, 2015 2 Comments
“You’re wasting your life.”
At some point in the life of any gamer, he or she will hear this message conveyed, although it may be presented in a somewhat less abrasive manner (but maybe not). The reason for this is that there is a stigma associated with the gaming community that has prevailed throughout decades that is less than flattering. The image of the slack-jawed man with the controller in his hands ignoring his mother as she yells to the basement something about nachos is an image we are all familiar with. With said image often comes a charge of laziness and lack of mental prowess. I, however, would argue that many of the gamers I have encountered are among the most intelligent and imaginative men and women I have ever met in any walk of life. This should come as no surprise because gaming itself seemingly helps cultivate a healthy psyche.
I can hear some of you now: “Are we just supposed to take your word for it, Steve?” Well, first of all, my name is Michael. Second of all, I will gladly argue my position on the subject. To do that, I could refer to all of the different fields in the world that use games as therapy for patients or the studies that support the idea that the problem-solving and avatar creation aspects of video games help with depression; however, I truly believe that we need look no further than the social benefits associated with playing videogames in today’s world to see the positive impact it can have on a person.
A Non-Scientific Look at Gaming’s Social Benefits
I have been playing videogames for almost 26 years. A lot changes in a person’s life over that period of time. I have gone through elementary, junior high, high school, undergraduate and graduate school over that period of time and have lived in three different states. Also during that time, I have developed some friendships (I know, I’m as surprised as you are). There was a point in time when moving out of town was basically a death sentence for a friendship. Sure, phones have existed for over a century but does anyone actually enjoy talking on the telephone? And texting? Too impersonal. You know what isn’t impersonal, though? Strapping on the guardian gear, equipping your most overpowered rocket launcher and beating the bricks off Crota, Son of Oryx with your friends. That’s right.
Gaming — more specifically online gaming — has been the savior of many a friendship since it has risen to prominence. Where friends used to catch up one or maybe two times a year, they are now ridding the world of alien warlords together multiple times a week. And not only are pre-existing friendships being preserved, but new friendships are created every day. Maybe your experience differs and you tend to come across the teabagging, momma-joke-making trolls that occasionally invade your friendly neighborhood Call of Duty servers, but I prefer to be a glass half full kind of guy.
So aside from the social and psychological benefits, are we wasting our lives? Well, to date I have staved off armageddon more times than I can count. I have rescued princesses at a rate that leads me to believe that if gamers had been driving Princess Diana’s car, she would still be with us today. I have destroyed the darkest evils that exist in the universe. I have been the darkest evil that exists in the universe. I have led my teams to Super Bowls and Stanley Cups while also fighting my way to UFC championships. I have slayed some dragons, werewolves and vampires while befriending others. I have lived a thousand lives and died a thousand deaths, yet I carry on.
To those non-gamers who would so harshly judge me and my gaming brethren while living lives devoid of the sort of imagination stimulation and puzzle-solving that only gaming can provide, I have but one message for you:
You’re wasting your life … and you only get one.
It’s time to go now. My mom just yelled down. My nachos are ready.
tags: Gamer Manifesto , gaming , opinion , Video Games