HE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Alex
Vidja games. For years now, gaming has had a bad wrap. Whether it causes aggressiveness or reclusiveness, gaming has had an uphill battle. One very much like rock ‘n’ roll and comic books had. Rock songs that our society thought were from the devil are now in mainstream movies and games. Comic books have now amassed enough popularity to spawn a few of the highest-grossing movies ever. Times have changed.
Luckily, so have games. To say that gaming is a mindless hobby is a very sad assumption. Even the games that have the most “mindless” fun (Call of Duty) still require you to come up with strategies, make quick decisions, anticipate enemy movement, and be skillful with different weapons. The thing people don’t understand is that when you are playing, you are fully engaged. It doesn’t matter what type of game you are playing, your brain is constantly working to solve problems, mysteries, or story twists. You are reading, learning, watching, and interacting, which is more than any other medium asks of its user.
Gaming to me combines the best parts of movies and books. You do a ton of reading in games as well as watch a ton of in-game cut scenes to move the story along, but the real kicker is that you have a personal stake in the story based on your own actions (something movies and books simply do not do). Sure, there are some choose-your-own-adventure stories but they pale in comparison to games like Mass Effect, where decisions can cost lives and consequences reign supreme.
For years now Gaby has sworn up and down that gaming is a bad hobby. She’ll tell me what a giant waste of time it is and then proceed to watch hours upon hours of television. She’s right, gaming is a waste of time—hobbies usually are—but watching television is even more so. Both are purely for entertainment purposes but gaming ask so much more of its user than TV does. Watching television is boring by comparison. Anything television programming has to offer, such as drama, comedy, action, or character development can be found in most video games.
Now, I’m not telling you that you should be gaming for 8+ hours of the day. Gaming, much like watching television, is a sedentary hobby and if done too much can have poor health consequences. Playing a violent video game at a young age should not be done as well. Like with any other form of entertainment, you can participate, but do so responsibly. Most people will claim that video games by nature are addictive but so are many other hobbies. Swinging a baseball bat will never get old for me and if I wanted to, I could stand there for hours at a batting cage. But I have responsibilities, and my hobbies should be done when those are all taken care of.
To say that gaming is not your thing is perfectly understandable. Not everyone is going to like video games just like not everyone loves to read books. They are there as an option and just another form of entertainment. So pick up a controller if you feel like you might enjoy it. Some of you may find gaming a more worthwhile hobby than watching TV. I know I do.
SHE SAID WHAT?!
Posted By Gaby
Yeah, I’m going to lose this debate. Despite Alex’s very well constructed argument, I stand by my belief that gaming is a bad hobby. In my defense, I am married to a gamer and know several adult gamers that not only have LAN parties at least twice a year, but have taken a day or two off to play newly released games.
My issue with video games has more to do with the ridiculous amount of time and energy the people in my life spend on video games, and less to do with whether or not they’re better than TV. Do I watch a lot of television? Yes. I watch a variety of TV shows and movies, everything from documentaries, reality shows like “Hoarders,” period dramas, mysteries, and sitcoms. Is it mindless TV watching? Sometimes, but I have as much fun watching TV as Alex has playing games. There are shows that make me think, and movies that expand my horizons to new information and knowledge. Yes, there is television that is mindless entertainment, and I can admit to watching some filth like “Toddlers and Tiaras” or “Dancing with the Stars.” Not all television is high-brow but it’s not all bad either.
I’d argue the same about video games. I’m sure there are great fantasy games and fun video games that help kids be active, like the Dance Central games we’ve played as a family. But there are numerous violent video games, and many tend to be rather sexist. In Grand Theft Auto, players are allowed to slap and even shoot prostitutes, and there are various games where women are scantily clad. Does the fact that you have to use your fine motor skills and quick decision-making somehow make it better than watching TV? The fact that some of these heroines on video games are fighting with little clothing and have perky boobs doesn’t make the video game progressive, in my opinion.
Eric argues with me that gaming has become socially acceptable and I agree with him to a certain extent. Many video games are popular among “non-traditional” gamers, but there are still many anti-social and socially awkward kids and adults who let video games become their whole lives. I don’t know that television has the same sort of escapism that video games do (except maybe the Kardashians and all those girls who now wear Infiniti scarves with brown boots over their black leggings while sporting a top knot. Seriously, stop. The Kardashians shouldn’t be what you aspire to).
Anyway, I digress. The reality is that video games, in moderation, aren’t anymore harmful than TV in moderation, and vice versa. I just feel that in their extreme, video games are worse than TV.