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Why Do We Still Hate Gaming?

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Has there been any point in 2014 where you got reamed out or at least frowned at for your gaming habits, despite the fact that you’re still maintaining your responsibilities?

I find it surprising (and rather idiotic) that there’s still a stigma against gamers, even during a time period where gaming is pretty mainstream. You’re less likely to get made fun of for it compared to, say, the 90’s, but as long as there’s non gamers who don’t fully understand the gaming world, there’s going to be a bit of prejudice.

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Apparently we’re all clones of this guy. I dunno if genetics work that way.

You’ve likely noticed over the years that the same people who grouse at you for spending hours on League of Legends will happily sit in front of a television for the same amount of time. The difference is that you’re the one making use of problem solving, tactics, and cognitive functions, while TV requires little more than listening and watching. Now, I’m not saying one is better than the other. Each hobby requires a different kind of attention. And hey, doesn’t getting immersed in Skyrim to the point where you’re seeing Nirnroot on your way to work in the morning count as fun?

Unfortunately, there’s no singular reason for the stigma.

The media certainly doesn’t help, that’s for sure. Every time there’s a horrific crime committed, the local and national news latches on to music and videogames as possible reasons for the criminal’s actions – specifically, hardcore/explicit music and violent videogames. Hell, we came close to losing good old Slendy after a certain incident. It’s been proven many times that videogames don’t cause violent behavior, but tell that to the parents who’ll go tearing down to the nearest Gamestop to threaten the employees to stop selling such terrible material because little Billy might be corrupted. Your son isn’t going to go on a stabbing spree because he swore at the screen during a game of Left 4 Dead. And even if he is feeling particularly stabby for some unknown reason, the problem doesn’t lie within the game itself.

There’s also the fact that old ideas are still in place, especially among older non-gamers. Your grandparents more than likely grew up in the ‘gamers are lazy and unproductive’ time period, where playing games was just something to entertain kids and get adults laughed at. Those kids grew into adults (read: your parents) who shoved the very idea of working in the gaming industry away as silly and fanciful, and handed their kids a physics textbook with a college application on top.

If your parents were this type, you’ll probably never fully convince them that gaming is just as much of a professional career now as anything else. You won’t make as much money as a neurosurgeon, but you’ll still be making money and enjoying what you do – which, contrary to popular belief, is what actually matters. Maybe you’d rather design the next MMO instead of probe someone’s brain.

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Somehow this is less immersive than a book or a movie.

Stereotypes live on as well, and people still tend to view gamers as fat, lazy, awkward jerks with nothing better to do. You can add sexist in there, too, despite the huge number of girl gamers sharing the industry. The thing is, gaming tends to attract the less socially inclined crowd for a reason. Some of us do better talking online in a different body than we do in real life, so gaming’s our outlet for socialization when we trip over our words in real life.

We can also add the gaming community as a whole to the list as well. Viewing the gaming community, with all of its constant arguing, debating, indecisiveness, and bullying is going to be intimidating to a non-gamer. It’s the same reason why a person who isn’t used to sports fans might feel like hiding under their seat during a football game. We’re scary, and it’s not likely that someone who isn’t used to the shit-slinging will stick around for more.

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Even WoW players don’t like the WoW community, if that tells you anything.

There’s a number of reasons why the stigma’s still hanging around to haunt us with its presence, but it’s ultimately far less discouraging than it was back in the day. We have classes, internships, and majors devoted to gaming and game design, and you’ll find pretty great teachers for it of all ages and backgrounds. Media impact’s swiftly going down as well, given that there’s fewer people around willing to listen to reporters drone endlessly about how videogames cause violent crime.

Answer this: Do you love gaming? If you said yes, then play games. The stigma might still be here, but it’s dying out quickly, no matter how much it tries to claw its way out of extinction. Some people may still hate gaming if it’s not what they’re used to, but that’s their problem, isn’t it?

 

About Deborah Crocker

Deborah is a 22 year old semi-hermit currently plodding through her senior year of college and getting her feet wet in game journalism. She has a somewhat unhealthy obsession with high fantasy, video games, novels, and Elder Scrolls. When she's not in front of a screen, she enjoys singing and a bit of beading. She's also currently on the hunt for the restaurant with the best cheeseburger.

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