Sunday, December 30, 2012

Video Games & Adult Men

From Houston  News Radio KTRH story about Adults Taking Off Work to Play Call of Duty.
The past two days I have done post on my concerns regarding video games and young children and teenage boys.

I'm sure that this post has the potential to offend some adult video game players. So read the post, and present your comments on why you disagree or "what I'm missing."

But when it comes to adult men who play video games, some of the same points from other post carry over. Like kids who play video games with violence, I question for adults whether, although permissable is it beneficial to be subjected to first-person shooter style violence (under any circumstances, even if you are killing zombies). And like teenage boys playing video games I question the social consequences of hindered relationship development (and sustainability) caused by the massive quantity of time these games consume.

But my concerns with adults extend beyond violence and isolation. My concern with video games and adult men is that the interest in playing these video games is a substitution for other unmet desires.

Video games are not just about relaxing or "mindless escape" like watching a TV show or a movie. It seems to me that instead, there's a sense when playing these games of a sense of accomplishment. And yet, the irony is that for all the accomplishment that is experienced in a game (beating the game, getting to a new level, unlocking a new weapon or character, etc), is not really true accomplishment at all.

A video game player might be able to admit this, but the question is why does this male feel the need to get a false rush of accomplishment?

And maybe this is where there is some opportunity for the conversation to meet in the middle. This topic in itself might open up the opportunity to discuss how families (spouses, parents, etc) honor and don't honor men for their time and contribution to families. It might be a statement of how the workforce treats people (men and woman) who have long aspired to professional accomplishments but instead feel like small cogs instead of valued contributors.

But beyond family and work, it also might be about the calibration of men's dreams to be something greater than the feeling of accomplishment, by finding ways to actually accomplish. I'm not talking about ending poverty in Africa, but instead wondering what can make an adult video-game playing man transition from taking a day off work to play a video game (after waiting in line at midnight to buy it) and staying up late night after night, to doing something productive and meaningful.

I use meaningful here in a broad sense. Meaningful anything that involves hanging out with people and friends, moving (any type of exercise or recreation), expanding your mind in some way (reading, studying, cultural pursuits), a hobby with true end accomplishment (baking, woodwork, art), or even resting (however; physically, spiritually, emotionally).

In hierarchy of time well spent almost everything seems to come ahead of video games in my book, and I am truly fascinated by the amount of time some adult men playing video games. This is something that is new to this generation. I can't picture my father or grandfather's generation doing this, and I can't justify or excuse this phenomenon.


superdave524 said...

I used to play a lot of RPG (role-playing games)on the PlayStation that I (grudgingly) shared with my teenage sons, and your observations contain a lot of truths; however, men and boys have always found ways to "meaningfully" waste time. Before there was Halo, there was Missile Command. Before Missile Command, there was pin-ball. Before that, there was Solitaire (as the Stadtler Brothers had it in "Flowers on the Wall": "playing solitaire 'til one, with a deck of 51". Of course, just like there's a difference between revolvers and bazookas, there's a big difference between solitaire and Halo...

dissertation sample psychology said...

Before there was Halo, there was Missile Command. Before Missile Command,