I was really hoping we’d get the house we bid on in part because it had a yard where I could send the kids. “Go play in the fenced backyard” is a lot more appealling than “go play in the patch of grass next to the parking lot,” even leaving aside people inclined to call the cops on unaccompanied children. In a fenced yard, they’d be a lot less likely to get hit by a car, which is my main concern. I’d love for the kids to go outside and run and play instead of sitting in front of the TV all the time. And that would be true whether they were watching movies or TV shows or playing video games.
But my goodness does media hate people who play video games. Never mind that nearly half of Americans play video games at least three hours a week. Never mind how many different kinds of video games there are. All gamers are the same sort of loser, and it’s not possible to play a little and not be a crazy obsessive. Especially not if you play as an adult. Games are for children, and if you’re too stupid to know that, clearly, you’re a loser and suffering from arrested development.
Well—perhaps not exclusively true. One of the ways Toby and AAARRRGGHH!!! bond on Trollhunters is through playing a casual game called Go-Go Sushi. But even there, the fighting game they initially play is enough to trigger flashbacks in AAARRRGGHH!!! And let’s be real, Toby’s not a character anyone would want to emulate initially, even though he’s good-hearted and all sorts of other positive things. He’s still a chubby loser. And we never see any of the kids who were cool before the show started play video games, even though they’re high school students and would absolutely play video games.
On the one hand, every new medium pretty much in history has been disdained. We have extant quotes wherein people complain that learning to write will destroy people’s memories. Writing, printing, paperbacks, movies, and on and on. I’m just old enough to remember the Satanic Panic of the early ’80s and its connections with Dungeons & Dragons. Heck, it’s even some of the same people spreading fear of video games, if you go looking.
In recent years, though, it feels as though the two most disdained activities are ones that involve using imagination. Oh, there’s a lot more imagination involved in D&D, and certainly that comes in for more heat as far as “losers in their mom’s basement” is concerned. You’re inventing that world because you can’t face the real one, is the attitude, and it’s not a fringe attitude, either. On the other hand, video games usually involve creativity and problem-solving skills to play, and the fact that there are distinct benefits to them get ignored so we can just call the players nerds instead.
Oh, don’t get me wrong—I’ve known some terrible people who play video games, who do actually use the games as a way to distance themselves from actual humans. And I’m well aware of the darker side of the gaming community. On the other hand, is that community really more troubled than the world at large, given what the world at large looks like these days? At least a lot of video games can teach cooperation and not fearing people who aren’t exactly like you?
For reasons I’m not getting into right now, I’m currently in a serious financial crunch and would really appreciate it if you’d support my Patreon or Ko-fi—the money in my Patreon for the month is currently the only money I have left until the first, and it’s not much.