I approach video games much the same as I do life: I want to get something out of it. Whether that something is time with my friends, progression of an interesting storyline, slaying a badass boss or raising my gamerscore, I need some type of payoff to make it all seem worthwhile.
Hanging with my friends is probably the number one reason I game. There is a bonding effect to co-op gaming. Sometimes my guy and I will split-screen when we don’t have to or “pass the paddle” between us even though we both have consoles. We do this because we enjoy the closeness and the comradery created by putting two minds together. And we love discovering & experiencing new adventures side by side. Together.
The same goes for online co-op. There is a feeling of satisfaction when you have found the right wingman or group to game with. I fully believe that once you know a person’s fighting style, you pretty much know them as a person. It is a beautiful thing when a group moves as one across a virtual battlefield, watching each other’s backs, anticipating one another’s next move, achieving victory as a whole. My regs and I could complete the hardest of challenges together, without a word to one another because we know each other’s style well enough to practically read thoughts telepathically. When you spend hundreds of gaming hours with someone, you definitely get to know them in a way that others may not. Some of my closest friends I met on Xbox.
Gamerscore is another thing that motivates me to pick up the controller. I can be a bit of a “cheevos ho” & when the mood strikes, I can farm for hours just to get that 20g. The best is when we all go achievement hunting together as a group. Helping each other and doing whatever it takes to get the bling. Believe me, when you wingman with someone for weeks straight trying to get that almost in reach but nearly impossible achievement without a word of complaint or a hint of hesitation, you have found a friend indeed.
Yes, gaming is a social experience for the most part, but I also enjoy it because it relieves stress and aggression. I have heard tales of people committing horrendous crimes in reality and blaming violent video games or movies for their actions. I find that to be an unbelievable cop-out. Surely, such individuals had major problems before playing that game or watching that flick. For me, there is nothing I like better after a long, hard day at work than to come home and “shoot some shit in the face.” (virtually, of course) I find it rather relaxing, And it is certainly better than taking out any pent-up aggression that I may be experiencing on the real world around me.
Video games once thought to turn our brains to mush and make us anti-social trolls have now been proven to be good for us. They help to develop hand-eye coordination as well as exercise the brain, teach cooperation and foster good sportsmanship. With the development of Kinect and Wi, you can now literally exercise your body while you game. It’s a total win-win.
To identify as a gamer no longer has the stigma it once carried. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. Once accused of having no life, gamers have changed the world by hosting charity events, giving back to their communities and raising awareness of all types of issues. Once stereotyped as basement living, socially inept, teenagers, the persona of gamers has grown to include doctors, lawyers, plumbers, waitresses, business owners and even the hot mom next door, etc. Gamers have proven that they fit into no particular box and even though they enjoy the hobby of gaming, they are capable of and are accomplishing so much more. Truly, who doesn’t game anymore? Before any non-console or non-pc gamers answer that question, think about your reply the next time you grow a virtual garden on your Facebook page or play Angry Birds or Candy Crush on your phone or tablet. Gamers are everywhere! And I am happy & proud to be part of the community.
I am gamer. And more than likely, so are you.