Respect The Game

   I know everyone has seen a meme at some point in time that makes it seem like the gaming community is a hostile environment. You're either a Playstation fan, Xbox fan or PC fan and nothing else matters. If you like one system, you hate everyone on all other systems. While it is fun to tease other platformers when your system has an exclusive title, we're really all in this together. It's all gamers vs. the misconceptions and stereotypes that the world is so hellbent on labeling us with. We're one big dysfunctional family that just enjoys a good interactive movie.

  Let me start off by saying that gaming in general is not a "waste of time." I know I seem biased in saying so but hear me out. For those who have never played a video game in their life, it can seem like we're spending our time in a fantasy world. What they, and most people who frown upon games don't realize is gaming does take a unique level of skill. Think about typing an email without having to look at a keyboard. Some people can and some can't. Now imagine having to use your mouse to move things around, type as your computer shows you random things, react a certain way to certain sounds and time your movements to be synchronized. If that sounds complicated, you may not be cut out for gaming. Gaming on consoles and PC require an oddly specific level of coordination and response time to be good at a game, and I just mean making progress, not competition level. You need to be able to anticipate what is going to happen, press the correct buttons, stay alert for anything that may change, and still react correctly with the pieces out of order. Video games can truly be an immersive experience.

  If you get thrilled by movies or TV shows, you should at least be able to understand why video games are a big deal, even if you choose not to play. When you watch a movie, and want so desperately to make the main character do something different, that's what video game is. It's a storyline that you actually get the pleasure of being a part of. Depending on the type of game, you can literally create a simulated life. (The Sims, like what did there.) There are games out there that you have to use real world knowledge to solve puzzles, and many reference real world events in their storylines. Video games come in a library of genres. I can't even tell you how much I've learned from video games because so many use factual data in the game mechanics. I do know that before a video game, I had no interest whatsoever in american history, it simply didn't interest me. But, because of Red Dead Redemption 2, I actually have been looking up the historical references and general facts from the game. Years ago I developed the habit of further researching factual references made by the games I play.

  I think the biggest flaw people have with gaming, is that they cause you to flip out. No matter how good the graphics are, there aren't any video games out at this point in time that can be mistaken for reality. Graphics, controls, and game mechanics will always give it away. No video game has mechanics that are "True to life." They do mimic basic concepts that are general knowledge, but honestly, how many people do you know of that died and respawned at a save point, just popped back up 5 seconds later to look at their own dead body, or has superhuman regeneration and body that can withstand anything as long as they have a few band aids in their pocket... Or better yet, how many cars or guns can be driven or loaded by pushing X, R, □ , or R1 on those items? This is a concept where movies should be getting just as much backlash. Movies are actual live physical people and objects with special effects that could be mistaken as real when seen in person, but the video game that lets you jump out of a car going 100 MPH and walk away with a scratch that magically heals is the problem.

  You don't have to like video games, but if you've never played one please don't assume people who do are beneath you. We all have hobbies that are meaningful to us and not others. Just be respectful that everyone has different interests. If you watch action or horror movies, I'm sure you've seen one that had a plot that was derived from a video game, or very similar one. Let's take more time to focus on the fun parts of life and less on judging. Hobbies don't make the people, people just have hobbies.

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