For as long as I’ve been a gamer, there has always been an underlying sense in society that it’s a hobby for “nerds” or is a “waste of time.” In my opinion, gaming is much more than just something people do to waste time – at it’s best, it’s an art form.
There’s no denying that there are more productive ways to spend your time than gaming. However, the same could be said about any other hobby. It’s funny that people associate video games, which by their nature require mental engagement, with laziness, yet think it’s completely normal to watch hours of TV every evening.
A good game can take you to places you’ll never get to visit. It can open you up to experience you would never usually encounter. And it can make you think of things in a completely different way.
So why do people look down on it? I think many people associate gaming with just shooting games. These are obviously a popular genre, but focusing on them completely ignores RPGs, strategy, puzzle games, simulators and much more.
But what makes me think gaming is an art and not just entertainment?
I would challenge anyone to sit down with a game like Skyrim, a good gaming headset and mouse and some spare time, and NOT consider the world an artform.
But it’s not just about whether games are art or not. Here are some other benefits to this unique type of media:
- Games can open people up to interests they never knew they had. I was never interested in history at school, but playing Age of Empires was the start of a life-long fascination with ancient times.
- Games can provide a competitive outlet that’s completely safe. E-sports are a real thing, people – and they are here to stay!
- Games are inherently social when you play them online. I’ve made genuine friends from gaming that I would never have met without playing online games such as CS:GO and Overwatch.
- They can develop reaction times and concentration.
These benefits, of course, depend entirely on the game being played. But the same could be said about any hobby or media.
The good news is that gaming is becoming more accepted as a way to spend your free time. Yes, it’s still important to exercise. Yes, excessive gaming is bad for you. But there’s nothing that compares to sinking deeply into a challenging, thought-provoking game.