Wednesday, June 6, 2007

From Atari to X-Box 360 And Beyond

I have recently experienced a new phenomenon. That is, the perception on the part of many people that playing video games is juvenile, and something we are expected to grow out of as we age and mature.

Honestly, as a child of the era in which video games became common-place, I have always played and enjoyed the games. Some of my favorite memories of my son's younger years involve playing video games with him. I still have my Atari - although I don't play it, I could because it still works.

But last week I was watching a program on TV in which the host of the show was giving the home-owner a hard time because he played video games, and kept his game console and games in a prominent place in the home. The host remarked about the need to grow up and leave our childhood behind. That really puzzled me as I'm quite mature and responsible, I work in the same career I began 14 years ago, I own my own home, as a single parent I care for and provide for my son, I care for my elderly mother, I survived and persevered through a nasty 20 year marriage and nastier divorce (that seemed to last just as long!)

So my point with that, is that I am an adult, a productive member of society, and my enjoyment of video games does not make me less an adult nor less productive.

That comment was enough to get me started on that train of thought, and then another comment was made a few days later by someone else. Upon hearing that Master was playing video games with my teenage son (some would call that bonding, btw) my Mom commented that oh no, he hasn't grown up yet??!! (The implication that she hadn't seen that side of him before and was sorry to hear about it, and here I've chosen another immature partner.) And here I thought I was sharing something really positive, the enjoyment the 2 of them got from the games, the belly-laughs coming from the family room as they played, the comaraderie between them, and more besides. And yet, Mom saw it in a different light.

So between those 2 comments, I've been pondering a great deal on this phenomenon, and the way our culture/society perceives video games. I find myself feeling sorry for people who've never allowed themselves to relax and have fun, and for close-mindedness that allows them to make judgements about other people without acknowledging that there could be a different and yet equally valid point of view.


1 comment:

  1. When I originally shared this entry on another blog place my Friend Mike shared this comment:

    Well, I for one would like to say. I love to play video games with my son(s). We also play games that we find online. I do enjoy a game that is stratigic in nature. Games like Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell are far from a childs game. But even the games designed for younger children are fun. The only downfall is that I grew up on systems that only had one or two buttons on the controler. I just can't seem to get the hang of 8 buttons and two thumb controls. Its no wonder that my 9 yr old kicks My butt. Being responsible does not mean you have to stop having fun. What do you think they would say if they new I still liked fruit loops and apple jacks????????