Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Think Tank: Are Gamers Lazy?

I have a secret which I don't tell people, in real life, because I fear they may judge me: I am a gamer.  When I try to connect with someone and mention games I get dirty looks from strangers.  So, now I don't say anything to them.  In fact, unless I see a shred of evidence that they might like geeky things, I stick to HR acceptable topics even with my offline friends.

The thing is, I feel that they think it is a childish hobby and my time is wasted.  This is ridiculous considering that I am a published adjunct professor studying to go into the public sector.  I've traveled all over the world, twice had a play produced, designed a board game, and recently have decided to focus on real world post- apocalyptic skills like shooting, making fire, cooking etc (in secret of course, shh!).  If I'm not gaming I am doing something, so what's up with that?

The other night a few of us were playing, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, when a discussion of whether gaming has broken out.  The discussion, in the above video, happens during the explosions and shooting of a co-op mission. The guys feel that gamers tend to be accomplished and well rounded. One of them argues that society has not caught up with the reality.

Gaming isn't just for kids anymore. The people I play with, are from all over the world, and twenty-five years of age or older. They come from different backgrounds with varying levels of education and most are working, accomplished professionals.

It seems as if the lost generation still views gens X and Y as the children they once had to tell to go to bed. Certainly, many professions have found a use for the technology and the skills acquired from gaming. One college in the states is using video game technology to help forensic investigators recreate crime scenes.

Here is one semi-scholarly article that explores whether gaming has more of a positive or negative effect on the player. This article details how gaming and game theory can be applied in the classroom: Productive Gaming: The Case for Historiographic Play. They question remains: Is there something to the image of the lazy gamer?

The adults in my experience that play games do not seem to be lazy and unproductive. As whether they are wasting their time that seems a matter of perspective. The people that complain about this hobby are always girlfriends, wives, non-gaming friends, and family. My friends, the ones that turn their nose at me, spend more than 25 hours a week watching TV. I don't see the difference. 

One thing I am trying to do is to find a better balance with my loved ones. I think balance time is a healthy practice for gamers to employ, as we do tend to lose ourselves to games. I try to spend time with my wife in a shared activity so we can talk, enjoy our company, and connect. This has been a recent practice but it has made all the difference. 

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