Time spent gaming is not wasted.

It appears that some people in my social circle feel a certain feeling of guilt when they spend a lot of time playing video games. Such a feeling is illogical.

The article “How to keep playing WoW as a parent” contains this inspiring paragraph:

One thing I’ve found about becoming a (somewhat) responsible adult, is that gaming is frowned upon by many. In fact, in the adult world, it seems you can have any hobby you want; unless it is gaming. As soon as you reveal you take part in this pastime, the negativity tends to roll in.

Playing video games – gaming – is not much different from other hobbies such as playing a musical instrument, meeting friends in a pub, Scouting or reading. It is mostly just a fun way to spend free time.

A single article won’t be enough to convince society to stop looking down at gamers, but maybe I can at least try to convince you, the reader, that if you enjoy gaming, you should not feel the least bit of guilt or worthlessness because of it.

Playing on a computer does not damage your health. Yes, there are some problems associated with long sessions at a computer, most notably back damage, but it’s definitely not an obstacle so high that we “shouldn’t play video games because it’s unhealthy.”

Many people would say that, for example, exercise is a better leisure time activity than gaming. It’s likely that exercise improves your health and it’s likely that it even extends your lifetime. But you don’t need to choose one or the other – you can do exercise and play games.

And when we get to other activities, it’s not at all clear where does the idea that gaming is a lesser hobby comes from. For example, I am currently learning Japanese. Many people would have the tendency to praise me for it and if I asked “what’s a better leisure time activity for me – to study Japanese; or to play an FPS shooter?,” maybe some would answer that the former. Both both of these are merely hobbies. None will be useful in my professional life. I’m a programmer – I don’t need to speak Japanese and I don’t need to play video games. And if gaming is more fun for me, perhaps they are a superior hobby.

Some of my friends say  “I wasted weeks of my life playing video games.”

Bullshit.

Did you enjoy it? If yes, the time was not wasted. For many of us, personal happiness is one of the more important life values, if not the most important. We shouldn’t feel bad about spending our time on one of the most pleasant and fun activities humankind has ever invented. The comparison with reading is especially humorous because one of the reasons gaming is being condemned for is that it’s a solitary activity that does not require social contact. Neither does reading! Neither does Orienteering!

There are some activities that are strictly better than gaming: altruism, charity, helping other, or earning money to be able to give even more money to charity. But very few people participate in these activities and we can’t do them all the time. The question usually isn’t am I going to earn money or play video games?, but rather am I going to play video games or do another activity with the primary goal of having fun?, such as watching news on TV.

One could certainly argue that with little children, it makes sense to limit time spent gaming – for many reasons. And this article does not attempt to say that gaming is a better activity than anything else. Even as a college student you must think of your long-term future and such; but if you are choosing between two hobbies, don’t let yourself be influenced by the prejudices of society.

If it’s your case as well that you have a certain feeling of guilt while gaming, or that you feel bad when your friends reproach you for spending “too much” time at a computer, and this article did not destroy the feeling, you may contact me and I’ll be glad to talk about it.

Because seriously, is there something more fun than slaying dragons?

DragonKill

 

4 comments

  • Pavel

    S článkem nemohu nez souhlasit ač ne pocit viny stále provází, ale hraní me částečně naplňuje

  • Pavel H.

    Já jsem si spojil práci se zábavou – programuji počítačové hry. Kupodivu jsem schopen celý den programovat a pak si ještě večer něco zahraju (ale samozřejmně něco jinýho). Každopádně dobré zamyšlení 🙂

    • Petr Hudeček

      To je fajn! A děkuju za pochvalu!

      Dříve jsem si částečně zdůvodňoval to, že můžu hrát počítačové hry tím, že je také programuji, a tedy “dává smysl, abych je hrál”, protože “to potřebuji pro práci”. Byla to špatná racionalizace. Nepotřebuji být programátorem počítačových her, abych mohl bez problémů počítačové hry hrát.

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