You Just Never Know Where You Will End Up
This day in age it seems that no matter where you look, you will find people talking about the negatives of gaming. Who became addicted to what and what the results of that disaster were. How someone lost their friends, family, job and even life over a video game. How we’re all making ourselves unhealthy with our play times, how being secluded in the basement is detrimental. We’ve heard all of this doom and gloom for years now and for those of us who actually game, it’s nothing new.
Everything is bad without moderation. It doesn’t matter if it’s playing a video game or reading a book or eating cheese. Do it to the point that it over takes your life and you’re going to find yourself dealing with unwanted side effects.
Instead of talking about all of this doom and gloom I’d like to focus at least for today on the positives of gaming – because there are certainly some good things about it, especially a few specifics that affect me. This post won’t apply to everyone out there as a direct example of how gaming can be good, but it should at least represent ONE example – and there are a lot more.
First of all lets get the basics out of the way. It was through gaming that I met some of the most incredible people I’ve ever known. People who are smart, passionate, and who I would not have known other wise. I have been able to learn about other cultures through these people and have come to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for all of the differences that are out there in the world. I have been able to learn through them and shared in some fantastic memories that won’t soon be forgotten. I have heard discussions over the years ranging from politics, religion and acceptance, to tv shows and movies. Opinions from the youngest to the oldest, from every walk of life. When I sit back and think about everything people discuss, and how I have been able to be involved in those discussions even in the smallest way, it’s astounding to me. These people are not just online strangers to me, they are friends and family who motivate, inspire, and awe me every single day of my life.
Gaming has given me the ability to branch out creatively, creating massive stories in my mind (and on paper and other media) as much as any book or movie would have. Games provide a setting for these stories, where I am not the only character involved. I have read creative works written by some amazing and talented people, I have seen artwork, heard music, and so much more that all derived from these video games. That motivated them. Spurned them on because it is something they feel passionate about.
On a personal note – video games have opened up a door to me that I would have never been able to get into other wise. I have the ability to share my thoughts to others through publications in a magazine, and online on this site. It is through this work that I have found some of my most memorable moments. There was the trip down to San Diego just last April to visit the people at Sony Online Entertainment. If you had of asked me two years ago if I thought that I would be interviewing the dev teams, I would have laughed. Then today came another such moment when Eric Bloom from Blue Oyster Cult called me to talk about the finer details of Wizard 101, and we talked games for a good 30 minutes. What a great way to get to know people when you have something in common that you are both passionate about.
We talked about old games, how people moved on from them, how they seem to be scattered now that there are so many choices out there. We talked about the early days of EQ2, WoW, AoC, WAR. We talked about how the term ‘gamer’ instantly bonds you as friends with strangers because it’s such a powerful connection. Even if you haven’t played the same types of games. It was just one of those moments I had to think about afterward and think to myself ‘wow, did that really just happen? Did I really just hang up the phone with Eric Bloom after we talked about pips and crafting in a video game?’
Are there nights I stay up a little too late to accomplish some pointless goal that no one will remember 5 years from now? Of course. There are. Are there days I think to myself that I’m wasting my time away playing a video game – no. Not a second. Being able to play in these worlds others have created has opened far too many doors for me in my life to think for a second that I wasted time while playing them. Of course none of this has come without a lot of hard work. I can’t JUST be playing video games, I balance it as anyone should with work (which happens to involve gaming, I realize I’m lucky that way), friends, family, and every other mundane thing out there that has to get done (as well as a few non-gaming related passions). When I look back and think about what I have accomplished through gaming, or because of gaming, or that is related to it in some way even the smallest – I am proud. Proud to say that yes, I am a gamer. I’ve played for years now, and I’ll continue to play for years – I have managed to do some amazing things in my life because of these opportunities.
Everyone has the same ability, it just requires the motivation and perseverance to get some where with it. The fact that games have inspired me to make something of myself is not offensive to me in the least bit. I just hope that the future years of playing are as exciting and profitable to me as the ones up to now have been.