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I don't have a wood shop...

It's been a few weeks since my last entry on this site, and there's been a good reason. No, it's not because there hasn't been anything interesting to write about, I certainly didn't take advantage of many good opportunities to write about tech news. It has been for a simple, somewhat silly reason. The new Warcraft expansion launched.

I hear the groans now, all the way through the ether. People screaming "Oh no... he's one of THEM!" Well, sorry to disappoint, but yes, I am "one of them". But, some clarification is in order. I don't abandon my family to play WoW, I get my work done, I don't call in sick, etc., etc.,. However, it does bring up an interesting new phenomenon in our modern society. Gaming as a hobby.

It's long been a staple of adult life to fill our time with hobbies and pastimes that give us something to do beyond work, but yet challenge us a bit mentally or physically. Video gaming has been around only a few decades, but it has grown in to a multi-billion dollar industry, employing hundreds of thousands of people, and producing more content than any single person can see in a lifetime. It's a staple of our life in this century, and that won't change.

The question is though, does it qualify as a hobby or is it just 'entertainment'? I believe that for a long time, video gaming was considered entertainment, because it involved looking at a screen, that mainly had one other purpose, bringing us television entertainment. But to classify something as interactive as video games as entertainment, I think does it an injustice. Certainly, early video games were very limited in their interactivity. You had very simple controls, very simple graphics, and often had to play alone. But the video games of today are sometimes full body experiences, with expansive worlds to become immersed in. And more likely than not, games today have a social element baked right in. Not every game is as social as an MMO (Massively Multi-player Online) game like World of Warcraft, but even game consoles like XBox focus users on the "community" aspect of being an XBox player.

So as I look at the distraction that has consumed a small portion of my time these past couple weeks, I realize that I don't work on cars, I don't putter in the garden, I don't have a model railroad, and I most certainly don't have a woodshop. But I do have a hobby that engages my mind, allows me to be social and work toward goals, and accomplish all the other positive aspects of having a hobby. Just because mine involves digital pixels doesn't really make me a lot different than a lot of other people out there.

Comments

  1. Even back in the day (in some ways, especially back in the day) when the interactivity of games was limited, there was still a lot more to gaming than the games themselves. At least, if you were a member of the "glorious PC gaming master race". ;-) Back then, you had to really know something about how a PC works to get half the games you had running in the first place. Even today, a big part of the PC gaming hobby is researching components and building a PC that can run the games you want to play (and will run them for the next 3-5 years).

    I wonder how many people, like myself, got started in the computer industry because of video games?

    And, of course, with LAN parties for PCs and multiple controllers on consoles, gaming has long been at least as social of a hobby as reading books.

    What really gets my goat, though, is that a lot of people consider gaming to be a childish pastime. On the one hand, this mentality is merely annoying: many people will look at a grown man who enjoys playing video games and assume he is just an overgrown boy.

    on the other hand, this mentality is a source of mass idiocy. This mentality is the entire reason why it was so controversial when a modder revealed a hidden (i.e., inaccessible aside from hacking) segment in a Grand Theft Auto game where the main character has sex.

    Suddenly, people were upset about this. This is a game where you drive around a city in a stolen car, beat, kill, run over, etc. and flee from the cops. The entire point of the game is that you are a criminal and the game is a sandbox to allow you to live out whatever criminal fantasies you may have been harboring.

    But hide a sex scene in there that a hacker might be able to get access to, and, suddenly, the game is inappropriate for little Bobby.

    ARG!

    Anyway. Game on, my friends. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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