Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why People May Feel Video Games a Waste of Time

Source: Post of menomenaa from Reddit.com says...

I'm going to make a guess, and I really, really want to make it clear that I don't agree that video games are a bigger waste of time.

Both watching tv and playing video games can be interactive experiences, but tv requires much less active interaction. You simply sit and watch. It is associated with passing time, with "winding down," with receiving very basic levels of entertainment. Video games, however, require a lot of concentration, interaction, thought and "effort" (when compared to television watching). I completely understand that a gamer could say the opposite, that it's just as calming and it doesn't feel like effort because you enjoy it, but from an outsiders perspective, a gamer looks like they're investing lots of things: unwavering attention, emotion from the highs and lows of winning and losing, sometimes frustration and always time.

So with those differences, I think it looks like gamers are putting in a lot more effort for a lot less return. There is this aura around gaming that the users actually think they're "winning" something or becoming the "best" at something. The idea that people can be good or bad at video games attaches the idea that gamers think there is something intrinsically useful or beneficial about playing. You can't be good or bad at watching tv. You just watch it. You're not trying hard, you're not "giving a shit" about it, you just watch. When gamers spend the same amount of time playing a game, I think others objectively look at it like..."you don't think you're actually accomplishing something, do you?"

It's almost like a societal worry that these gamers are not only giving time, but also energy, emotion, excitement for something that is arguably fruitless, and maybe that energy, emotion and excitement could be refocused into something useful. If a gamer is willing to practice, show passion and use strategy--couldn't they be playing guitar, couldn't they be reading? The engagement and skill involved with a video game makes it easier for others to imagine the gamer doing something culturally valuable, like a sport, a musical instrument, study. Tv watching just looks like a winding-down activity. If you're watching tv, you are tired--too tired to do something requiring energy. It's not easily translatable to something "Good" you could be doing with your life.

I also think people have disdain for those that are "trying too hard" to enjoy themselves, as if it's cool to be blase about their entertainment but gamers are trying too hard. But that might be way off.

TL;DR: video games require mental skill, effort, energy and concentration so it's easier for others to objectively imagine a gamer doing something "fruitful" with all those positive qualities during those hours spent. It's easy, then, to see those hours as "wasted."
I'm happy about the quality of that post. Thank you menomenaa of Reddit.

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