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  • Gamers Don't Live in the Real World

    "Gamers don't live in the real world."

    Say what?!

    It's true, many people have a hard time differentiating between "players" and "gamers". A player being a character in a game, a gamer being the person behind that character.

    What is the "real world", anyway? According to Merriam-Webster it's "the existing state of things, as opposed to one that is imaginary, simulated, or theoretical".

    So, when we read, watch a movie/TV, go to a play/musical, imbibe/toke or otherwise alter our perceptions of reality we're no longer existing in the "real world", right?

    Some people suggest that playing online games isn't part of the real world. To some extent that's an accurate summation -- especially if you're playing a game where you don't interact with other players, your choices are limited and the endgame is always the same.

    But what if you're playing a game that provides a platform for social interaction, the choices are unlimited and there really is no endgame, per se? The game itself might not be the real world, but the choices and the relationships you make are indeed real.

    So do gamers live in the real world? Yes we do. We are a diverse global community ranging from students, working adults, business owners, artists, family people... I could go on, but you get the idea.

    It's also interesting how some people associate the word "gamer" with "loser who lives in their parent's basement". I know people who live in their parents' basements and not all of them are gamers. None of them are losers. People who connect the two need to get out more and live in the real world as it is today.

    Sometimes I like to lose myself in books or watch a movie. I occasionally drink and sometimes partake of whacky-backy (for medicinal purposes, of course). Sometimes I like to game. But out of all these things, the latter three take up far less of my time than the first two.

    A gamer is not someone who spends the largest part of their day playing games (although occasionally we do). They're generally someone who indulges in an entertaining past-time that has the side effect of honing skills that might otherwise become dull from lack of use, i.e. reflexes, hand-eye-coordination, quick-thinking, strategic planning, social skills, etc.

    But that's my own personal definition of a gamer. I defer again to M-W for their definition: "a person who plays video games or participates in role-playing games" and "(especially in sports) a person known for consistently making a strong effort."

    Is sports part of the real world? Of course it is, but if you compare the skills I listed above, they pretty much utilize the same ones. Therefore, I think a gamer is just as much a denizen of the real world as an athlete.

    So why goes the word "gamer" elicit such ridicule from non-gamers? It seems that drinking with friends is a much more acceptable past-time than working with others to accomplish a challenging in-game task (such as questing or raiding). Don't look to me for an answer as to which is more preferable, though -- my fave way to spend New Year's Eve is drinking with friends while playing online games.

    Lastly, over the past couple of years I've found it highly amusing at how the handful of people who sneer at us for being gamers, spend countless hours themselves indulging in gambling apps, word puzzles, angry birds, even porn games. The hypocrisy astounds me.

    Let's face it, most of us are gamers at heart and would happily partake more often if it wasn't for the people around us who think that gaming is Satan's playground. But whether you game or not, just try to enjoy the life you were given and let others choose to enjoy theirs in their own way.