Why I Game
My parents were actually the first to introduce my brother and myself to gaming (and they may have regretted it at some point). Gaming not in the entertainment sense, but in the educational one where they had bought several different CD-ROMs and installed software into our shared computer that sat within our playroom. My parents encouraged us to play all the different grade levels within the Jumpstart series. If you don't remember these games, you were totally missing out.
I recall exploring these digital worlds and accomplishing a variety of mini-games throughout them. My brother and I would challenge ourselves even further and play grade levels ahead of us. This experience transitioned into upgrading our gaming even further. We convinced our parents, like most children, to buy the latest and greatest consoles like the N64 and Playstation. We each got our own individual Game Boys and when the next newest handheld gaming device launched, we would again beg for it. Gaming became a way for our parents to distract us, but it became our way to escape. I think they recognized that gaming would stimulate our minds in a way that other mediums did not.
Fast forward to today, I'm about to turn 29 and I still game pretty much on a daily basis. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to gaming whatsoever, rather I would say it's my hobby and a pastime. I don't game for more than 2 hours a sitting and while others may sit and watch a tv show or read a book, I love being able to entertain myself in a more interactive digital format. I would say I'm not the best player nor expert in any game. I simply enjoy the challenges gaming brings (which I'll get into), and the ability to play with others and work to a common goal.
When I met my husband, I was also never turned off by his gaming. I would say he has a much stronger relationship with it as he can game for hours on end, but I would never say he prioritizes gaming above me. He's truly an introvert, and gaming allows him to not only escape into different types of worlds but also connect with all sorts of people around the world. I often hear him talking through his mic and conversing with close friends, different teams, and strangers all around. Although he doesn't expend the energy by going out to bars on the weekend with friends, he truly takes the time to simply play a game with friends, and honestly, it's no different than the former experience.
There shouldn't be a stigma against gaming. It's truly a positive, mind-stimulating hobby. You learn to create solutions to problems, or you find out about different experiences with simulations, or you open your imagination and creativity even further through building something entirely new. Games are a way to go outside of certain boundaries and interact with a challenge hands-on in a digital form, and that's what I truly love about it. It's not what people think as a waste of time and marked as "bad for you".
Interestingly enough, my grandfather who is almost 90 has an Xbox and he uses it to exercise his mental health daily. He always tells me about what new game he's already completed or where he's hitting a roadblock. I think this surprises a lot of my friends when I mention this, but if you met my grandfather he's at a point in his life where he's the healthiest he's ever been. I believe he hasn't had any dementia or confusion, for one - because he has great genetics, but secondly, he avidly exercises his mind.
I hope to only continue this hobby myself well into the rest of my life and you bet our daughter will be introduced to gaming at an early age. We don't have plans to move her away from this hobby, and if Ken had his way - he would have raise an eSports athlete if he could. We're honestly pretty excited to raise a fellow nerd! :)