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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

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Darren Blair

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Okay folks, time for a rant.

As should be apparent by now, my hobbies include video games. I’ll spend about 20 – 30 minutes every other day or so actively playing, then I’ll also often leave a browser game or three in the background as something to do while I get things typed out. This comes upon a literal lifetime of games, such that I remember gaming on a Commodore 64 computer and Atari console. I kid you not.

I’m well aware of the harsh words towards and allegations about gamers. I grew up when “Doom” was a thing for the very first time, so that should say something about all the controversies I’ve seen play out first-hand. From Columbine to Gamergate, I’ve seen it all. I’ve even had to sit and explain things to relatives and associates who hadn’t the first clue what was happening.

Well, another round of it happened on a religion-themed discussion forum I go to. Someone simply and politely asked what everyone thought of video games, and someone took that as their personal invitation to unload. According to him, literally dozens of young men (early 20s) in the congregations in and around where his daughter is do nothing but play video games. These young men, he claims, have no plans for how to “make something” of themselves. If they do work, it’s just enough to feed their gaming habit. They have no college degrees, no social lives, or anything else like that. He doesn’t consider them to be “men” at all, thinks anyone who plays video games is wasting their life away, and believes that every last one of them needs a good dose of manual labor under a hot sun to “fix” their “problems”.

Yeah.

This got pretty much everyone on the discussion in an uproar. Can he provide more details? Is he exaggerating? Has he actually talked with any of these individuals in person? How does he know what’s going on with each and every last one of them? And so on. Some were afraid that he might be telling the truth, and so were worried about what it meant.

The rest of us were asking questions and trying to figure things out.

Yes, it could well be that a number of the individuals he’s observed are just as he described. Lord knows I’ve known a few myself. But with as many people as he’s claiming are just like that? Doubtful.

As a few of us tried to explain to him, it’s more likely that for at least some of them, their circumstances haven’t been the greatest. Things haven’t turned out as they hoped. A lot of them could even be straight burned out from all the effort they’ve tried to put into getting their lives back on track. They may be among the many whose lives have been upended by the recession or other unforeseen circumstances, and escapism is all they feel they have left. I personally was there at one point; remember, the recession left me working odd jobs for 13 months just to put gas in the car, and “escapist” entertainment helped get me through.

I’m still waiting on his response as I type this, but hopefully something got through: you can’t always be so quick to judge someone else. Take a few minutes to actually deal with people before judging a group as a whole. Otherwise, you could just well be making things worse for the both of you.

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