Here’s something for discussion, tell me your thoughts:
Two of my work colleagues were enthusiastically discussing certain reality TV shows today, talking about contestants and judges, and wondering over how manufactured the drama on the shows actually were (um… *sigh*). At the end of their conversation, after they admitted it being a guilty pleasure, I jokingly commented, “Don’t worry, I won’t judge you too much”. One swiftly retorted, “That’s okay, I won’t judge you about your game playing.”
Now I actually found this quite insulting. I was so taken aback, I was rendered speechless, and couldn’t even come up with a response, so as is my way, I silently stewed over this for hours after the event and crafted this post to wallow in my annoyance. But self-deprecation aside, here’s the real upsetting thing: this colleague and I have previously had extensive discussions about games, and they have commented positively on games’ expression as artforms, as well as volunteering their own views on avatars and the concept of self. We’ve talked at length about my passion for all aspects of games, such as their application as a mechanism of escapism, their educative impact, and their creativity in story and design. This colleague has strongly encouraged my writing endeavours with respect to games, having worked in the writing industry previously themselves.
Conversely, we’ve never talked about the importance of reality TV as a mirror to society or as a method of casually effecting political change, so you could forgive me for thinking it was safe to make a small jest about it. Perhaps this was my oversight, and the colleague is quietly writing a dissertation on reality TV and its impact on the average individual, and that their consuming of that media is purely for research purposes. However, I’m going to take a wild leap of logic here and suggest that was not the case.
What I want to know is why is it suddenly just “game playing”? What happened to all that prior acknowledgement of the validity of my interest? The inference I took (given the context of the reality TV conversation) was that it should be seen as something I should be somewhat embarrassed about, and should only do when I’ve nothing more productive and interesting to do. Gone entirely was the respect I thought I’d had for something I’m passionate about and consider to be not only a platform for enjoyment, but also a potential career path. Why is it any less valuable, important or valid than any other pursuit?
Despite a myriad of studies on the subject, it seems that educated, intelligent people still do really believe (deep down or otherwise), that games are just a waste of time and something that only kids should do. Welp, in that case, I tender my resignation as an adult of the human race, and I’m off to play Puzzle & Dragons Z. Feel free to judge, but only if you aren’t excitedly watching The Voice or The Bachelor, expecting that Seth the soulful teenager with a grown up voice will have a successful musical career completely unimpeded by network demands, or that Melissa will genuinely fall in love with Andrew, promises of fame and fortune notwithstanding*.
* Any resemblance to actual reality TV contestants, living or dead, past or present, is purely a hilarious coincidence.