This blog post is not just for my fellow gamers but for everyone including parents and guardians. Before I begin, let me share a few real life incidents that should set the premise of my blog post.
- There have been multiple reports about people killing or injuring their loved ones over not allowing them or stopping them from playing games.
- There were reports of teenagers stealing cars and going on a rampage on the streets by breaking traffic laws and causing inconvenience. When apprehended by the police, they have stated that they were inspired by video games.
- There was a recent report of students playing PUBG in college premises leading to the management barring students from not only carrying mobile phones but also playing the game as it affected their studies.
- There was an old news of a teenager who spent 14-15 hours playing games. He did not eat, drink or sleep. He was later found dead due to exhaustion.
Now, why am I sharing this? Because, we as gamers have a responsibility and it is high time we realize it.
I have been a gamer for a long time, since the 1990s. Those were the days when as a kid I would discuss about Mario, Contra, Galaxian and many more with my friends in school. I have seen the rise of the console market through my very eyes as I could hear my friends talk about hi-end PCs and Playstations but the same could not be said about me. Deteriorating financial condition of my family led to forgetting everything about gaming and concentrate more on my studies.
Call it a boon in disguise, little did I realize that gaming would no longer be a child’s play but lead to a revolution of sorts. Gaming was developed as another form of entertainment, just like watching a movie or going to an amusement park. It gave birth to what we now call as Interactive Media, however, we as a whole have spoiled the fun by turning it as a priority and not as a necessity for entertainment.
It was in 2009, 2 years after I got my first job that I purchased what will be my prized possession for a long time – an XBOX 360. Even then, as a gamer, I realized that I do have other priorities in life. We have families, relatives, friends… and we all love to take some time out of our busy schedules and spend it with them. However, when I read or see news items like the ones above, I feel greatly disturbed.
I would like to ask everyone out there, before picking up the controller or phone, are you doing this because you feel it is going to be the end of the world or are you doing this because you got a free time and want to chill out a bit?
If it is the 2nd one, then I don’t think anyone should have an issue with it but if it is the first one, then you have a serious issue… similar to being addicted to drugs or alcohol.
I remember when I was in school, it was my grand mom who purchased by first video game. Mind you, it was the 90s and as I said earlier, games like Mario, Contra and the likes were still the most talked about subject in school. Sure enough, I was addicted to it and spent countless hours on it.
What’s more, my mom also got interested… and in turn, was addicted to a certain racing game. So much so that her day was never complete without playing at least one level of it.
My grand mom was greatly disturbed, however, she didn’t stop us or say anything against it. However, it didn’t take me time to realize about this, I felt guilty and decided to do something about it. I, then, made a decision to spend no more than an hour on the console. This attitude worked in my favour as I was investing more time in my studies and other extra curricular activities. Of course, there was no talk about gaming again after I turned 13 for that is when due to a heavy loss in our family business, I had to take responsibility of at least finishing my education.
Time passed by, from school to college and then to my first job, my passion for gaming was still alive somewhere and with YouTube becoming the most viewed website on PC, I would spend hours during weekends checking gameplay videos and walkthroughs, and also finding and collecting information about new games that I should be trying if I wanted to start over again. It was in 2009 that I bought an Xbox 360 with my hard earned money. It was like I found a treasure and maintained it that way.
Things were different though as I was working and therefore, devoted no more than 2 hours on the console. It was obvious that I had my responsibilities towards my mom and grandparents. Yet, I kept my passion alive without it disturbing any part of my lifestyle. It has been 10 years since then, and I have managed to maintain that passion without any interference with my personal life or work life.
Why did I share this? Because, we as gamers have been criticized or ridiculed for spoiling our life and therefore, it is time to prove those critics and naysayers that we as gamers do know and understand the importance of setting up priorities in our lives.
So, what can we do to maintain this as a passion and not result in an addiction. (This is for everyone, even if you are a parent or a guardian, it is important that we know the importance of setting priorities.)
- Set or find a proper time slot to play games without any disturbance, say for an hour or so. If you watch YouTube videos of pro-gamers, you will realize that many those videos are posted after a certain time gap which means they set priorities too without any hindrance to their other stuffs in life.
- Remember how as a kid we use to pester our parents to allow us sometime to watch a movie or WWE or play video games, why do we feel shy now? We are matured enough to tell or explain to our parents, our friends or partner to give us an hour. The reason why a ‘war keeps breaking out’ in our life is because we communicate less and assume more. This has actually been the main reason why a lot of crimes related to gaming have been committed. If you are busy with something, have the courtesy to tell your loved ones the same.
- For students, if you have a homework to complete, complete it. If you have an exam round the corner, just for a few days, concentrate on your studies, finish your exams and then get back to your games. You may not play a game for 10 days but you can still come back to it without losing your touch. However, if you fail your exams miserably, and end up wasting a year, you will only be destroying your life and your career. Think
- I see a lot of people feeling stressed over losing a game level. To be honest, I never take loss or even a game notification seriously. I play games for the sheer fun of it. I don’t care if I lose a level, or miss out on a notification of an ‘enemy’ of mine attacking my base that exists in a virtual world. There are millions of the players on the console and mobile, so what if we miss out on something that doesn’t seem trivial. If you are working, concentrate on it… complete and then, once free, get back to your game. No one is stopping you from it.
We have somewhere or the other became a slave to technology, created an impression that we cannot live without it. Technological advancement is required but it was never meant to make us slaves.
The truth is that we are the master and the mobile is the slave, it should do our bidding and not otherwise, that is the attitude we should keep to ensure our continued development and survival from stagnation.
I never cared for rank or glory while playing games, I played for sheer fun only to see myself grow as a pro automatically. Yes, I am bad… maybe, trash also in some games yet, they are nothing but pure entertainment, not to be taken seriously unless I am in a competition playing against better gamers than me.
This is a humble request to all gamers to understand your responsibilities. Let us all work… and yes, play together to see to it that the glory of gaming exists for enjoyment and entertainment, instead of it being a parasite growing inside us and stopping us from personal and professional development.
Gaming is a thriving industry worth billions of dollars. Let us be the contributors and not the destroyers.