By Paris Huckaba | firstname.lastname@example.org
I never thought of myself as a creative person, always struggling with my imagination and fearing what other people may think of me.
I’ve also always surrounded myself with friends who could create amazing art or have tons of super creative ideas. When I tried to do these things myself, it never really worked, so I moved toward something where I could be immersed in creativity without necessarily doing all the hard work.
So, I played video games.
I’ve been playing games since I was a child, but I obviously never thought deeply about it other than a way to pass my time instead of sweating under the sun. I mean, I enjoyed that too at times, but what child doesn’t want to play as a dragon and fly around in a creative world or play as a sneaky raccoon thief that wants to take back what belongs to him? Often times, it’s rewarding.
There is still a negative stigma that surrounds video games and its community, though. People often see it as a waste of time, not a real hobby, or that it’s not very productive. I hear this all the time, especially when I had a job working at a video game store. That people who play games just don’t have much going for them, or that it’s just simply pointless, somehow “anti-social,” and only played by those who can’t venture out of their parent’s house. It’s really something that gets my blood boiling.
This is the complete opposite of what this community is like and what it can do for you. Playing video games IS a real hobby, otherwise there wouldn’t be such a successful industry for them. Video games create a community for all kinds of people, even if you don’t think that you’d fit in to one. It’s there.
Video games expose very rewarding benefits not just for the individual, but for society. Their creative worlds and diversity bring people to form a sense of belonging, or a community. This community is also one of the most generous and meme-filled communities there is, and that’s what people love about them. It generates mostly humor and friendships are created. It gives back to people in need nearly every summer as well through an event that showcases games played to completion in a quick time by everyday players as a fundraising platform in order to donate funds to Doctors Without Borders.
Games also allow better development in creativity and neurological activity. This is because games allow you to play in their world however you want to, based on character creation, using mods to change the atmosphere of the game to how you’d prefer it, and even by playing through the game differently each time you play it, which promotes creativity. With fast-paced, first-person shooter games, as an example, it causes your reaction time to increase, which then leads to better driving, etc., and many other studies have shown that language, reading, math skills, and so on, have all increased just by playing games with complexity, or even just puzzle-solving.
Think of how much better our lives can be with a broader development in science, education, or technology that can happen with the use of video games. Even with the invention of the virtual reality headset, imagine what new breakthroughs can now occur in these fields. Gaming and the way that people game is evolving—and that’s most definitely a good thing. There is still a negative stigma surrounding the video game community, and I think it’s time that people realize that it’s not a waste of time. It is a true hobby. It’s not anti-social, it’s the complete opposite, and it can be good for you.
So don’t discourage it. Gaming gave me a sense of belonging. I found something that I actually love to do more than anything else, and there are a lot of us like that out there. And for that girl who always struggled with imagination, it is an outlet that finally lets my creative side branch out.