I am in love with videogames.
To some people this may seem like a problem, but for me it is just a fact of life. Ever since I was a little kid I have loved playing videogames. I couldn’t imagine a childhood without my good friend Mario, and my favorite 16-bit Final Fantasy worlds. I would be a completely different person if I hadn’t grown up with my Super Nintendo.
However, as I have grown into an adult, I have found myself in positions where I feel like I need to hide or defend my childhood sweetheart. So many people have a negative image of what videogames are and what being a gamer means. This view is only reinforced in popular media, that stereotypes gamers as a group of anti-social, pimple-faced, overweight males, living in their mother’s basement. Sadly I know a few people who fit into that stereotype, but most of us gamers do not! I am a 125 lb female, that has graduated college, moved out of my parent’s house, and is in a very healthy, happy relationship. Sometimes I am socially awkward, and I still get freaking pimples every now and then, but that has nothing to do with my being a gamer girl.
Not that long ago I was playing the Wii with the girl that I sometimes babysit, and since she is only 7 she wasn’t doing very well, so I was giving her tips and showing her how to move the remote properly. She caught on fairly quickly, and I didn’t have to try so hard anymore to let her win every once in awhile. =P
It was a lot of fun, and I am sure she improved her hand-eye coordination, comprehension skills (rules of the mini-games), reflexes, and she worked on not being a sore loser, which is a huge problem with children (and adults) this day and age. Also, we played the games together, and some of them required cooperation, teamwork, and communication skills. While I am not saying every videogame has learning opportunities, most of them have a certain skill level requirement that young gamers quickly develop in a fun environment. Back to the point of my story, when her mother got home, I told her how I was helping her daughter get better at the games, and she expressed concern about not wanting her daughter to get better so that she won’t want to play videogames! I had to stifle my shock, and then fight a battle in my head over whether to let it slide, or defend my precious videogames. I let it slide, because both the girl and her mother are very sweet and innocent seeming, and obviously have not been introduced properly to the wonderful world of gaming. Sadly, it seems many people have not experience videogames that way I have.
As a child, playing videogames that were probably meant for older kids, I encountered many words that I did not understand or had never heard before. Using context, and sometimes asking my parents, I learned these new words, that I don’t know that I would have ever heard in day-to-day communications. I also had to use a lot of problem solving skills, especially in classic puzzle games like Dr. Mario and Lolo. If you don’t know what Lolo is, I highly suggest you find out. ^_^ To this day I still enjoy the strategy and fun of Dr. Mario, and I love the Professor Layton series, which is an amazing puzzle game. Some of the hardest puzzles in Professor Layton games have required me to ask several people for help, unlock all of the hints, and try again and again and again and again, finally giving up and needing to check the internet just so I could solve it!
I would like to say that I am capable of spending a whole day playing a videogame, but I do not actually spend every day playing videogames. Sometimes I go days without playing them, and I miss them. Videogames give me something to get away from the stresses of the world, and enjoy a fun escape into a fantasy world. I don’t NEED to play videogames, I want to. Many times playing games is my way of being social. My boyfriend and I play many videogames together, and as I am writing this he is playing Diablo 3 with 3 of his REAL-LIFE friends. It isn’t always convenient for us to get together with our friends, so we all get together via an MMO (Massively, Multiplayer, Online) game. Playing videogames is a way for us to have fun and interact with our friends, for a relatively cheap price when you think about how many hours of fun you can get out of a $60 game. It’s cheaper than seeing a movie and infinitely more interactive and social.
I guess I am just tired of videogames and gamers getting a bad reputation, especially as the first generation of gamers is now becoming adult gamers that are judged for doing a “childish” thing. Have you seen the videogames being made today?? The new gamer is not a child and the REAL gamer is not your Farmville and Angry Birds junkie. (Although admittedly I have played both of those games.) Videogames are maturing, along with their players, and I think gamers deserve more respect from the rest of the world. I guess i was just lucky to grow up with a whole family of gamers, from videogames to board games, that was what my family did for family time. It was awesome. I wouldn’t change my love of videogames for anything, it has made me who I am today, and I shouldn’t have to defend that to anyone. ❤
Here is a nice graphic I found on howtogeek.com. =)