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Gaming, More Than Just a Hobby

Written by Sensei Sensible

Gaming.

It’s a past time that is undertaken by many people but not always well understood by those that don’t partake in the hobby. A video game to some is just a waste of time, a negative influence on our youth and the reason society is doomed. Well possibly not the last one, or that drastic but you get my drift.

For the rest of us, we see gaming as it is and what it is for each of us individually and that’s something I wanted to talk about.

For starters, 2020 was a shocker of a year for many, with 2021 not starting much better and most of the team here have been hit quite hard. Be it work, health, life or worse, we’ve taken the hit and done the best we can to keep on moving forward. Now as a group of adults, and many of us parents, we have responsibilities that see us forego many regular social aspects of life. Throw in COVID and most social aspects of life have become non-existent for quite a while. Phone calls have now become a thing of the past and these have been replaced by the likes of messenger, snap chat and good old texts.

So where has a lot of our social interaction come from?

Gaming.

Gaming has filled a void and allowed us to keep in contact while partaking in something not always humanly possible. It’s been a common interest for a long time for many of us and has brought in many others who hadn’t previously considered gaming as an important aspect of life. The great thing is that everyone is accepted here in these digital worlds.

Screenshot from the game mode Tetris Effect: Connected

Gaming has become more than just a bit of fun with friends (or a waste of time as many of us have been told), it’s now become a social space for those without one, a coping mechanism for those that need a shoulder and even an escape for those stuck inside. I’ve also seen the positive aspects of gaming in play with mine, and other kids as they were able to socialize and still enjoy the extended school holidays across a period of social isolation and exclusion. It’s been tough on many, but gaming has allowed some of us to be closer than ever.

Onto my personal situation. Even without the happenings of 2020, I’m married to a shift worker and this has seen me spend regular evenings at home with nothing to do and no one to talk to once the young kids have gone to bed and gaming has provided a means to keep in contact with family and friends. It’s provided some adult, and not so adult conversation, laughs in the tough times and some decent chatter with family.

It has also seen me forge friendships not previously possible, and interact with those with the same goals in mind to create the community that you see together today. So it’s not just COVID driving a passion for gaming, but general life for many of us as well that drives our appreciation and passion for the medium.

Key art for Gears 5: Hivebusters

Image: The Coalition

It’s been more than 12 months since the beginning of COVID, so why do I write this now. It’s not just about my appreciation for gaming and the people behind it (although they do deserve a lot of credit), it’s also about the acceptance of all into the environment and keeping this a safe space for so many who need it. It’s about looking after a medium that has a positive impact on so many lives and as gamers, to make and keep it is a safe space for people to return to. Some people may need it more than you know.

So, as a gamer, a parent of gamers and one just looking for a place to escape and connect I ask that we all help continue to foster this positive and safe community for all. This is especially true when I put my gamer dad hat on. It’s tough to monitor everything that goes on when your child plays games but through open communication, instilling the positive gaming environment culture in our kids and even enjoying a game with them from time to time, it will assist in continuing to build that positive environment. Plus, it’s not about the indecent acts with someone’s mum, or out and out profanity, it’s the friendly competition and ‘good games’ at the end of the day. Not all of us are or will be Pros and even then, winners and losers can still do it respectfully.

Just remember, we all know that games can be frustrating at times but that’s when you as a gamer change the game, find another challenge or just switch it off and do something different. There’s enough things to be frustrated about over the last 18 months without ruining one of the fun things in life. A friendly t-bag now and then never hurt anyone but a hate filled spray can cause more damage than you would know as you may never know who’s on the other end of the mic or their current situation.

So, whatever you play and however you do it, enjoy the games, the platform and most of all, have fun. If you feel frustration getting the better of you then grab some friends, create an LFG or do what you can to get a few gamers together for something a little bit more relaxing, like slaying zombies or playing Golf with your Friends. If you get truly stuck, reach out to us and we will happily find something to play with you.

You just have to ask.

Screenshot from the game Sea of Thieves

 


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