I've been blogging for a couple months now, putting pieces of myself and my opinions out there for the world to see. Strangely, I haven't exposed something that is a pretty big part of my social existence. You see, I'm a gamer. You probably suspected this after reading the story "Player 1: Peter", but I've never really written much else on my life in video games. I've been playing video games since I was about 4 or 5 years old. I'm 35 now, so that's about 30 years I've spent on one game machine or another. I don't regret it. It's kept me away from the thug life that far too many other Black Americans enter. I am thankful to God for introducing video games into my life.
As far as the social stigma against gamers goes, I've never really been a victim of it. My father was the person who introduced me to video games when he bought an Atari 2600 into our home. He and I used to play a game called "Combat" on it. Back then, game controllers were called "joysticks", primarily because that's all they were: a stick with a button to the side of it. It was simple enough for a 4 yr old to use. We were playing a game that simulated warfare, but the graphics were little more than dots back then. No one outside the gaming community thought it was a big deal. It would never replace outside activities like American football and basketball, or so they thought. Today, I, along with many others, am a man who does not play or enjoy sports, but can soundly thrash you in a game of "Tekken 3".
I have seen the heat that games have taken from concerned, non-gamer parents and politicians. I understand that their concerns stem mostly from not playing video games and actually seeing the effect that it has on people. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that video games are a higher form of entertainment. I will tell you that they don't create killers. Violent video games are usually played by people who enjoy watching violence, which is a big portion of the U.S. population. If the game asks the gamer to do something that the gamer finds distasteful or unacceptable, the gamer simply stops playing that game and gets another one. In short, the dangers of the gaming world are the ones you bring with you.
The primary thing that video games do negatively is devour a person's time. I mean video games REALLY eat time. When you're playing a good game, hours can seem like minutes. Seemingly simple tasks within the game world can take hours of real time to accomplish. I'm an older person now, but back in my gaming prime, I could spend 10 hours straight playing a video game before I even felt hungry. This is the true bane of video games.
Again, the positive side is that the games keep young people out of trouble. Am I selling drugs on the street? No, I'm playing video games. Did I shoot some gangbanger last night? No. I was playing video games. Do I have 5 kids by 3 different women? Of course not! Women take up a lot of time and money that I would rather put into playing video games. When I finally decided I wanted a woman to settle down with, I was 26. I took some time off from video games to find a wife. Three years later, I got married. Two weeks after that, my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her a wanted a new game system. She got it and we've been a happy gaming family ever since.
Does it interfere with our family life? No. When my wife wants time for herself, she tells me to play a video game. When she needs me to do something, I simply hit the "pause" button on my game system. I rarely dedicate more than an hour toward a video game these days. I have responsibilities to my family now. My wife needs attention, so does my daughter. Bills must be paid. The house must be clean. However, if you want to do something social or fun with me, I want you to know that I'd rather be home playing video games.
Do I have friends? Sure! I have lots of friends who play video games. I've been to gaming parties. I've hosted a couple gaming get-togethers myself. Being a gamer does not mean you're anti-social. It doesn't make one immature either. In America, the average age for a gamer is 34. Many adult gamers are married now with children of their own. Of course, some choose to leave the life for other things. There's nothing negative about that. All people should have the freedom to change.
You're probably wondering how I can be intelligent and engage in such a mindless activity. In actuality, I've learned a couple life lessons from video games. "Tetris" a game where you have to order falling blocks into neat rows and stacks, taught me how a single mistake could ruin your life. This made me a more careful person. Another game called "Syphon Filter", where you play as a secret agent trying to save the world from a virus of the same name, taught me how to organize my life goals. Seriously. Before each level, the game would tell you what your objectives were and what your mission was. Before I played that game I did not know that goals and objectives were two different things. By playing that game I learned how to better structure my goals and plans.
Honestly, if I had never played video games I would not be the person I am today and I like who I am. I don't use illegal drugs. I'm not a violent offender. I'm not a sex offender. I'm a gamer, and offending people would take time away from playing video games.
Go see my new YouTube video!
"Squirrels & Puppies: Dark Morality Tales" -Available now!!!