9/11 is a time for reflection and in that reflection reminds us of the sheer magnitude of the world around us. It is also a day which reminds us that there are always current events happening, and that we often are uninformed on worldly tragedies. I am probably projecting, but that is how I judge myself to be often ignorant of world events. Instead of reading a newspaper or online news I spend my time writing about and playing video games, as many of our readers do. To rationalize with my choice and reflect upon my reasons I have been thinking about why we as a community, game.
One of my first true memories of why I game was on September 11. I remember where I was when it happened, but that is not all that important; rather what I did when I arrived home from school sticks out in my mind. I was really young when the tragedy occurred and I believe that although I hate the date myself, I was in 5th grade. I came home from school and found my mother crying, and I could not help but be confused because although the tragedy was announced, I was too young to truly understand what had happened. Seeing my mother in tears brought me to tears and I recall a brief period of time where I simply sat down baffled. I eventually got up and the day went on as normal, with the news on in the background.
The story seems mundane and it is nothing heartbreaking, but I would imagine 99% of Americans my age have a similar story; except their story may have ended with a different coping mechanism. I went into my basement and popped on my PS2. I played Tekken Tag Tournament (TTT) for a solid 4 or 5 hours that night and never stopped to watch the news or learn anything about the attacks, I immersed myself in the TV and pulled myself away from the real world.
Today, I still game with a similar fervor to my past self and still play as a coping mechanism. Gaming is, as most things in life are not just for the plain purpose of having fun. We are too evolved for that to be the end reason for playing video games. I played 4 hours of TTT that day because I was too young to face the crisis. My brain was nowhere near mature enough to know I should have comforted my mother so I did what was safe; I gamed.
Over time I have grown as a gamer and I now game for different reasons. I no longer game because it is safe, but rather because it helps me grow as a human being. I have played video games to help deal with breakups, to come to terms with family loss, to learn, to be amazed, to participate in a community, and for so much more. Gaming is so versatile and fosters such a tightly knit community that figuring out why we game is important to not only our growth as a gamer, but to our growth as human beings.
We could grow our being through other means, but we do not. Every day we choose gaming over everything else life has to offer. Sure, we have hobbies outside of gaming but we choose gaming as one of our main activities. We do so because it offers an experience individualized to each and every gamer. We each can take different qualities out of the same experiences, and more importantly are able to interact with another person’s artwork, which they may feel fully different about than we do. We each game for different purposes, but I refuse to believe we game with no deeper purpose.
I game for so many reasons that I could not possibly list them, because many of the reasons I play video games are still unknown to me. I know I game for comfort, for coping, for exploring, for interaction, and for philosophy. But why do you game? Why do you choose gaming as an activity over other possible pastimes? Please comment below and we can discuss and learn from each other.