I recently saw a video on TikTok featuring a woman talking on a podcast about disliking people who play video games. She explained that it’s “childish,” that the only game she ever really played when she was young was Frogger, and that adults should have “better” hobbies. I believe there are several things wrong with her argument, though.
First of all, gaming is for everyone.
For some reason, it’s common that video games receive a lot of skepticism from people who don’t play them. I guess it’s easier to criticize things we don’t entirely understand. They’re also frequently blamed for the reason violence is so rampant in the world today — despite the fact that the worlds of film and television expose children to violence just as often, if not more so. Did you know there are video games that feature no violence whatsoever? Furthermore, there are a number of educational benefits from gaming, especially when those games are already designed to address specific problems or teach specific skills. Accessibility options in video games have become increasingly common as well, opening the doors for literally anyone, no matter how physically able they may or may not be, to join in the game. You don’t even need a powerhouse gaming computer in order to partake in video games anymore — you can find consoles and handheld systems that retail for less than what you’d spend on a car payment.
Just this weekend, my Dad, who is 69 years old at the time of this writing, decided to create a new character in World of Warcraft, and my two older siblings and I decided to join him in adventuring through the vast open worlds of Azeroth. We had a wonderful time spending hours together questing, killing monsters, collecting valuable loot, upgrading our weapons and armor, and obtaining achievements and higher character levels. I was the youngest member of our party at 38. While I definitely agree that you should consume everything in moderation, there isn’t a cut-off time or age when gaming stops being fun or a worthwhile way to spend your time and energy.
While gaming can certainly be targeted toward children, it definitely isn’t going to stop being for adults as well anytime soon.
Gaming has expanded…
I’ve encountered a lot of older people who are familiar with the likes of Pong or Pac-Man or Frogger, in the case of the woman on TikTok. But gaming is so much more than that now. You can explore massive open worlds in games like World of Warcraft and the brand-new The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, you can build anything your heart desires in Minecraft, you can take on your grandfather’s farm and romance a villager in Stardew Valley, try to solve new and innovative puzzles in Superliminal, you can go to war with or even against your friends Fortnite, you can hunt or be hunted in Dead by Daylight, and yes, there are still even new classic arcade-style games like Poosh XL that feature the pressing of only one button!
To judge the world of gaming from your experience playing an arcade game that was released nearly 40 years ago like Frogger is an incredible oversight. Entire communities are built around certain games and gaming in general. I’ve been live streaming on Twitch for a couple of years now and while I only manage to pull in a handful of viewers, being a part of the larger community on Twitch centered around gaming and other similar interests has been a blast. My nephew and I attended GenCon last year as well, and while that’s centered more on tabletop gaming than video gaming, it just goes to show that even colossal conventions like that and this year’s upcoming BlizzCon (that I’m trying to figure out how to attend) can be formed out of love and adoration of these kinds of properties, just in the same way that they can for books, movies, and TV series. This lends credit to my theory that they should be considered just as valuable pieces of entertainment as those other mediums.
Gaming also does good!
This month and every May, St. Jude PLAY LIVE, a global video game charity event fundraising campaign to end childhood cancer happens. There are a couple of reasons why I haven’t personally participated in fundraising efforts for PLAY LIVE, but I’ve contributed financially to several campaigns that fellow streamers that I appreciate have hosted. In fact, I most recently donated to the campaign that streamer Bloodyfaster was hosting and she’s now raised over $500,000 for St. Jude! And that’s just her campaign. There are hundreds of thousands of others currently running campaigns for St. Jude during PLAY LIVE as well, some of which may raise even more than $500k.
There have been fundraising efforts for a lot of other charities and organizations that have gone on with Twitch and other gaming partners, too. When gaming is capable of doing this kind of good, who is to really say that someone should find a “better” hobby? If you ask me, I simply say to game on.
Until next time…