Say it with me, out loud: “Hi! My name is (insert name here) and I am a gamer”.
Do you now need a good cry and a long shower to cleanse your soul? Do you feel like you just pegged your identity around the very concept of playing video games? Has your existence been trivialized with a children’s activity?
People crafting their identity around a hobby is not a new thing. It’s a shorthand way to introduce yourself to other people. People do it all the time. They pick a few choice activities they engage in, toss it out, and then normal conversation follows.
Generic Introduction: “I’m a hard working goal-oriented individual that can’t be summed up in just a few sentences. You’re going to have to get to know me first.”
Wow, you’re certainly a fountain of information! Who are you actually? Please tell me at least a couple things that you enjoy doing.
Another attempt: “Hi! I’m currently going to school and I’m a gamer. I’m really into League of Legends and I’m working toward a degree in Business Administration. I also like hanging out with friends”.
While not earth-shattering, at least with that second attempt, I could finally know if I share some interests with the person. They play video games. Particularly, League of Legends. I could then see if I share an interest in that game. If I play games, but not League of Legends, I could ask about that. At least it’s a starting point. I’d also know the person likes business stuff. Maybe I do, too?
Reading the comments of a Kotaku article, you’d think the guy just committed social suicide.
My question: why?
Is it because the person self-identified as a person who plays games? Is that a shameful activity? It shouldn’t be. Lots of people play video games. Video gaming is interactive entertainment. Many people spend countless hours engaging in passive entertainment. Passive entertainment is watching TV. Anyone criticizing video games better not be watching reality television, sitcoms, movies, or sports. There’s no way that passive entertainment is somehow cosmically better than interactive entertainment.
Is it because by labeling one’s self as a video game player first in their introduction, it’s assumed that they have an unnatural appreciation for video games, making them sub-human? That’s insane. People pick random shit to say all the time in their personal introductions.
As a game, let’s pick some random ways people introduce themselves and then see if we can be an asshole about it!
- “I enjoy sports” can turn into “Oh, you have an unhealthy obsession for overgrown boys running around and tackling each other”.
- “I enjoy to working out” can turn into “Oh, so you’re overcompensating for your lack of ability to think by engaging in a shallow repetitive activity”.
- “I enjoy scrapbooking” can turn into “Oh, so you engage in low-level crafts that amount to nothing”.
- “I enjoy working on cars” can turn into “Oh, so you spend all your time drinking beer and hiding from your family in the garage”.
- “I attend church and spend my time with religious activities” can turn into “Oh, so you spend your time with a fairytale that you tell yourself is real”. (Controversy Alert!)
- “I like tattoos and piercings” can turn into “Oh, so you spend the majority of your time thinking about self-mutilation?”
- “I collect ceramic cats” can turn into “Oh, so you must be insane”. Let’s think about that one, by the way. What’s your grandma doing that’s so thought provoking with the majority of her time?
What’s anyone doing that’s so thought provoking the majority of the time? The entire idea of an introduction is to throw out random shit while seeing if the other person has a commonality.
Random Google searching tells me the average American spends 4-5 hours a day watching television.
Empirical evidence suggests that a large number of people spend their free time getting drunk. Getting drunk involves poisoning your body for the sake of escapism.
Thinking someone is deficient because someone labeled themselves as a video game player is insane. There’s no way it can be considered any worse than anything else.
Going back to potential criticisms, finally, one could accuse the person introducing themselves as having lame hobbies if video games is all they have to come up with.
Well shit. Who even has interesting hobbies, anyway?
Let’s all stop pretending as if the majority of the people we know aren’t into just a couple of things. Let’s stop pretending as if the majority of people out there have fascinating hobbies. Thinking of some past co-workers, what did they actually do when not at work?
- Drinks, watches TV
- Raising a baby, plays video games, drinks
- Watches TV, does religious stuff, watches YouTube
- Drinks, watches TV, raises 2 kids
- Works out, parties, works another job, drinks
- Watches TV, participates in community activities, drinks
The majority of people aren’t spending the majority of their free time with mind-blowing activities. Sure, every now and then someone plays in a local rock band, has a personal business, or does a podcast, and those things are cool. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of those co-workers listed above has some type of not-so-typical hobby I haven’t heard about. Maybe we should all pre-think out our introductions to make sure we hit those interesting selling points. Forgetting to isn’t a big deal, though. Most introductions eventually turn into conversations. Stereotyping someone for listing gamer first speaks more of the insecurity of the other person than the person who plays games.
And seriously, if someone freaks out because I mindlessly reference myself as a person that plays games, I’m probably better off for it because then I won’t have to deal with them.