WARNING: This post contains spoilers about the game of life.
If there is one thing that sends me scrambling through the vents in my home and shrieking into the woods it’s gamers who buy into the myth that gaming is an anti-social activity. This perspective is only possible if one still inhabits the Lip-Locked BFF OMG 24/7/365 world that is teenager brain; that demented stage of life where one is actually glad that the phone call is for you.
Gaming is anti-social compared to what, exactly. Compared to the soccer game where the total amount of social interaction consists of 10,000 people all screaming in unison and rampaging on the pitch. Or perhaps you are thinking of the theater where people sit in total silence for two hours, where the only acceptable vocal expression is laughter (provided it’s actually a comedy) and any actual conversation is greeted with a scowl and a shush. No wait, you must be thinking of that great beacon of social interaction, the one that Americans have on in their home eight hours a day, called a TV. Yeah that’s it: family time. Where everyone sits for hours saying nary a word, eating popcorn, watching goofy strangers on a box that truth be told if they found those people in their home under any other circumstances the police would be called. On-line gaming is anti-social compared to the ubiquitous TV? Really, you believe that? Incredible.
Now I’m certain that you think that adults have all the fun. Error. Error. Error. Work life is just like high school only it’s filled with people old enough to know better but don’t. However social you are as a teenager that’s the most social you are going to get. Yes, I know that the media tells you differently. They lie. There is nothing interesting or even remotely eventful about the office Christmas party or the gang going out after work to the bar. The bar has a TV in it. That’s your first clue. The office party is filled with your co-workers….the same ones you have seen all year. That’s your second clue. If simply gathering a bunch of people together in the same physical space constitutes socialization then not only are sports matches and cocktail parties social events but so is the subway, the airplane, and the traffic jam.
On-line games, for the most part, are intensively social activities. Running instances requires you to interact with strangers in order to achieve a group goal. Selling or buying crafted items or trade skills on the trade channel requires skills in advertising and negotiation. There are plenty of small group quests available. And those are just social aspects of the game for people who, like myself, don’t even belong to guilds. Guilds and raiding add an even deeper and more immersive social aspect to game play. Yet somehow simply because this social activity doesn’t take place face-to-face it’s not social. Well neither does a phone conversation, instant messaging, or texting. Why are those social but vent is not? It’s stupid.
I don’t wish to imply that on-line gaming is the most social activity existing. It’s still possible to have a backyard bar-b-que with those real life strangers, your neighbors. Or you can volunteer at church; or get involved with a political party; or actually play a sport instead of watching it. But let’s be honest: hardly anyone does those things anymore. I actually think that on the social interaction scale on-line gaming sits right in the middle at about a 5/10. Teenagers only think it ranks a 1/10 because they think all life will be like teenagerhood. It’s not. For many people on-line gaming is actually a constructive improvement in their social life. If you think that’s sad or that’s scary, grow-up. I mean that literally: grow-up.
The point I want to get across is that you think there is something inherently interesting about the movies, or about smooching, or sending 24,000 text messages a month. There’s not. In fact, all those activities are actually boring as hell. You think you're seeing reality when you are only seeing the artifacts of your own mind at this stage in your development. Your brain physically changes as you get older. You didn’t think all that stuff was cool when you were six and you wont think it’s cool when your 36. That’s why adults call that OMG mental fog “teenager brain”. It’s not a crime; we went though it too. But it doesn’t last; your brain develops beyond teenagerhood. And that means the party ends.
I warned you at the beginning that this was a spoiler. And I’m sorry if I ruined your day. But you shouldn’t despair. As I tell my teenage nieces and nephews, being a teenager is great. It’s the only time in your life where you have all the physical and mental capabilities to cause trouble and for the most part people won’t hold you accountable for using them. Enjoy this fantasy. It’s the only time in your life you actually get to live it.
1 week ago