In It’s Defense: Why Video Games Aren’t Just For Kids

For many people, video games are a getaway from all of your worries and problems. They transport you to different worlds, and tell magnificent interactive stories that entangle the viewer(s) into place of unforeseen wonder and beauty. Not only have they introduced main media to such characters as Mario, Master Chief, and Donkey Kong, but they have also become the fastest growing media of all time, with games selling up to and past one billion dollars worldwide.

But in some people’s eyes, including Kathy Lee Gifford of the Today Show, this love of gaming is just “weird.” When a viewer sent in a letter asking for advice about her 30 year old…I’m assuming husband…and if it’s ok that he (and millions of others) to play video games when they reach that age, Gifford’s response was priceless…and I quote, “That’s weird. Xbox.” Firstly, I would like to congratulate her on knowing what an Xbox is. For the fact that people who work Teleprompters RARELY have a one word sentence, she must’ve come up with that fun fact all on her own.

The three personalities go on to explain that it is ok to play with their children, but other than that, they need to be doing something more than just that. I do agree to that last statement, but most men play games for a recreational use, and don’t devote their entire lives to shooting pixels at other pixels.

Secondly, according to a recent study, 53% of gamers are between the ages of 18-49, while 29% are 50 and older. You can find more fun and interesting facts about the video game industry in the link above.

More and more, talk shows and television personalities have expressed their opinions on how awful video games are, including an infamous interview on CNN where a personality verbally dismissed a game (Mass Effect) for being too sexual, then saying that she has never played the game. A lot of members of the media believe that games also create terrorists, or uncivilized lunatics. However, in another study, violent video games are shown to help stop evildoers from going out and committing these horrendous crimes.

Based Kathy Lee’s comment it’s not reaching to say that The Today’s Show members probably don’t know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to gaming. I’ve never seen the Today Show, but from the clip I saw, it reminded me of the Finding Nemo seagulls, always yapping and repeating whatever someone else on the show has said. I think that makes this playing field pretty even.

Let me make one thing clear: I am a twenty year old male, who has been playing video games since I was around 7. When I was little, I played the games just for recreation. In middle school, they were an escape from all of the people who messed with me because I was “weird.” In high school and to today, I play not only for fun, but for completion. More so, I use it to release some stress, and to keep communication with good friends. I am a gamer, but i do not lock myself in a basement, day in and day out, with no social interactions with anyone besides the characters that I am playing with. I do plan on continuing to play when I’m older, and I hope by then I can be classified as “semi normal.”

Lastly, I would like to give a personal example. My father is a hard-working man, works 9-5, and brings home money to help support his family. But some nights, he would go in out basement, and play some Call of Duty or Portal 2, not because he’s devoted to playing these games, but simply because he enjoys playing them and helps release stress. Real people play video games for a multitude of reasons, so pigeonholing the majority of a multibillion dollar community is incredibly irresponsible and ignorant. I think video game mogul Shigeru Miyamoto said it best during a 2005 interview, “Most people think video games are all about a child staring at a TV with a joystick in his hands. I don’t. They should belong to the entire family.”

Of course, these are completely my opinions, and if you have your own, please leave them below. Thanks for reading.

  • Lauren

    Personally I would love to see a video game system in every home, especially with children. Yes there are studies showing that games can help hand eye coordination and all that jazz, but in all honesty I just think it is a great way for families to bond. I know that when I was growing up my family and I would sit around our NES, Super Nintendo, and then N64 playing duck hunt and mario games together for hours and they’re some of my fondest memories. Systems are great for bonding, give an outlet for healthy competition, and are just fun.

    I understand that in many ways gaming is seen more as a “hardcore,” addictive way of life to many people who didn’t grow up with it or aren’t immersed in the culture, but I think with the Wii and kinect many people in video games are trying to create this family bonding again. When I was watching the Microsoft press conference at E3 this summer I will admit that I am among the people who rolled their eyes when they brought out all of the kinect games, but in all honesty when the father / son duo came out to play that Sesame Street game I was sold. No I don’t plan on playing this myself, but it was adorable to hear the little boy telling his dad “good job” and things like that when they were playing. You can’t look at something like that and believe that video games are a bad aspect of our entertainment lifestyle.

    With all that said I am definitely not saying that systems should only be used for family use because I am pretty sure I would stab my parents if I tried playing with them today. As fun as it is to go down and show my mom how it is done to make it through a level without dying in the newer mario game she was playing on the Wii I would not think twice about keeping her (or my dad of sister for that matter) from touching one of my controllers on the other systems (Note – I wouldn’t actually stab my parents. Games did not make me violent). On the other hand, if they wanted some single player games to play with to beef up their skills before playing with me than I have a plethora to suggest.

    The point I got away from making is that gaming should be and is for anyone who is interested. It is just like watching tv or films, reading, etc… Something that is used to expand the mind, help with creativity, or just help escape into all the fun to be had for a little while. But to each their own; I won’t get on my high horse and trash a certain TV personality for drinking sangria on air at 10AM this morning (in her defense I guess it was 11 something her time).

  • Lauren

    So I was watching ksdk at noon and they had a report about the falling youth population, and of course their images for this were kids playing video games. Thought you would find that comical.

  • *sigh* dont they know that videogames are a significant part of today’s media? Dont they know that Call of Duty: Black Ops has made over ONE BILLION DOLLARS, while the top two selling films at the box office last year can’t combine to make that? News media are so inconsiderate to the gaming people and culture that it might as well come out and say that they are “gamist” (yup thats a word now). Sad, sad, sad.