The past couple of nights have been routine. As soon as 10pm hit, I would boot up Tomb Raider on my XBOX and spend some quality time with Lara Croft for about three hours. (btw, if you play video games, you owe it to yourself to play this. I wasn’t a Tomb Raider fan before, I am now).
If you’re like many of the people I work with, you may be thinking – or saying aloud: “You’re an adult and you still play video games?!”
And there are many more men and women my age who do just the same, but you probably already knew that. So I’m going to address the deeper issue: if it bothers you, why is it a problem? (spoiler alert: it’s not, you’re the problem).
Video games are a hobby, an outlet that people use to inject a bit of personal enjoyment into their day. Same as any other hobby: blogging, collecting antiques, or playing sports. So I don’t get why people take issue with a responsible adult playing video games in his/her spare time.
And an odd stigma exclusive to video games versus any other hobby: it seems to define us. If I play sports and hit the gym occasionally, I can also be into cooking, museums, and reading books. But if I play video games, clearly I don’t do anything else. I once had a conversation with a co-worker that went like this:
Co-worker: “Hey, how was your weekend?”
Me: “It was great, how about yours?”
Co-worker: “It was good! You play video games all weekend?”
Determined to not let this ruin my day (which I admit, was hard), I simply said to my co-worker with an honest straight face:
“You know, there’s more to me than video games.”
She seemed pretty taken aback by that, offering up a “Oh yeah I know…. I was just kidding!”, which I’m pretty sure is some form of apology masked in a half-truth. And if someone did nothing but play video games all weekend, it’s really none of anyone’s business. He/she hasn’t harmed anyone or wasted anyone’s time but their own. After all, me supposedly spending 48 straight hours on Tomb Raider didn’t prevent you from spending time with your kids, did it?
Many of the adults around me argue that my video gaming is why I’m still unmarried (I’m 34), that I need to grow up. Yes, adults with no sense of responsibility need to lay off the video games – and whatever else they’re doing that’s unproductive – get off their asses, and get their freakin’ crap together.
But last I checked, I felt good about what I’ve achieved in life, the relationships that I have with family and friends, and the path – both personal and professional – in which my life is going. No I’m not married, probably won’t be for at least another few years, and yet I have other goals in life that I strive to accomplish (getting married and having a family having recently been added to the list).
And while I work on that, please leave me and the other responsible adult video gamers alone. I can’t finish this level of Tomb Raider with you bugging me now, can I?