Womengamers.com recently posted an article by Fizgig (pseudonym, of course) about being afraid to reveal to your hobby to you colleagues and friends. “Why don’t I tell people at the university where I work that I play videogames?” Fizgig wrote. A university teacher, she would hide her hobby. (At last week’s E3, ESA chief Doug Lowenstein brought this article to the attention of the industry at large in his State of the Industry Address.)
Fizgig focuses on the shame of women gamers, but there is still a prevailing fear among adults that games are not a serious hobby and a waste of time. She makes a connection between the objectification of women in the industry and the corresponding resistance of women to share their interest in gaming.
But, as she notes, her own fiancé was reluctant to reveal his interest in gaming. Gamer shame is an equal opportunity disorder.
I have been “out” as a gamer for a while now. And Fizgig is on the way there. She doesn’t go into people’s reactions to her hobby, but I can guess. Most people are genuinely interested.
At the high school where I finished interning, about half of my department gamed in one fashion or another. There was one teacher who was a serious flight sim nut. Another was your standard console gamer. A third confessed to playing a lot of
And the age range of this group is from early 20s to mid 40s.
My other non-gaming friends find my hobby (and the fact that I occasionally get paid to write about it) interesting, but in general just another hobby. They put it on the same level as watching movies or reading mystery novels. It’s a harmless distraction of no real importance. I am not a freak – though their lack of gaming knowledge does limit the types of conversations we can have about the subject.
In short, I think that the fear of ostracism, mockery or pity is pretty overblown. There will always be those snobs who think gaming is pointless, but these are the same people who don’t watch TV and talk about it endlessly. Games have been part of the background of my generation for as long as I can remember, so it’s not like you are unveiling that you are a LARPer.
Games may not be mainstream yet, but they aren’t in the shadows. Gamers shouldn’t be either.