A recent survey done at Pew Research Center took a look at what adults think about video games. While Pew asked a whole plethora of questions about video games (if you're interested you should click that link up there), there's one percentage that really stuck out to me.
26% of adults think that video games are a waste of time.
And at first, I was like, "Hey man, what the hell. I love these things and they mean so much to me and come on, you guys!" But after sitting with this little math-factoid in my head for about 45 minutes, I realized that the 26% of adults who believe that video games are a waste of time are most likely, definitely right.
I mean think about it. When's the last time you walked into a public place and started talking about video games and the person you were talking to didn't roll their eyes? I mean, there's a chance they were like "Oh, cool I like games too!" but chances are they weren't.
There's this terrible social stigma around gamers and people who enjoy the hobby and, honestly, there's no one else to blame but the people who play video games. Gamers, myself included, are shitty people. So why would anyone ever take what we do as something worthwhile or valuable?
It's not the same as reading a book. Or watching a movie. Or watching television. Or going outside to ride a bike. Or going to a bar and socializing. It's a solitary hobby that, really, just isolates the people who play from the people who don't play video games.
It's fine if you're one of those people, like myself, who want to try to convince people that games are something worth playing. That they all aren't about shooting stuff. But who wants to talk about that? Not the majority of people who play video games, that's for sure. Most people want to talk about the shooting of guns and jumping over explosions or something. That's fine and great. There's nothing wrong with that.
Maybe, though, there's something wrong with the way we approach video games as something more than just a waste of time. Admitting that they are is the first step we all need to take. Even though I love video games, I love what they've done for me and how they've connected me with family, I'm tired of trying to defend what I like doing as something as more than what people view it.
Before video games, I grew up listening to punk music and skateboarding. And both of those scenes are constantly looked down upon. And my approach as a young rebellious teenager was to just say, "fuck what other people think". People can think what they want. I'm not going to argue with them. Instead I'm going to enjoy what I enjoy and let them waste their breath on something they believe to be a waste of time.