I was completing an interest survey for a local professional organization awhile back and I was asked to list my hobbies, so I did…
As I jotted-down the list of activities I love most, I was struck by an interesting thought: where is my favorite hobby on this list? “Gaming” skipped my mind and yet I think about it all the time. When I’m not playing games I usually find myself listening to gaming podcasts, reading gaming-related articles, watching gaming-related videos, thinking about what I’m going to play when I am able to play, and thinking about what games are coming up.
But, like so many professional forms that I’ve filled out before, I left “Gaming” off of the list. Why?
It’s a difficult thing to explain why gaming is such an ostracized and “niche” hobby when so many of the people in this country partake in it. According to the ESRB’s website, 67% of US households play video games. (Play is a crucial word in that sentence. They aren’t talking about households that own gaming devices; they are referencing the number of households that actively participate in gaming.) The average gamer is 34 years of age. 34, people, not 12! Although 12 happens to be the average number of years that adult gamers have been playing video/computer games. That’s a little under half of their lives.
And yet, how many of you have publicly and professionally announced that you are a gamer?
There are people in my life who don’t understand the appeal of video games, and that’s okay. However, non-gamers: inform yourselves. If over half of the population of the US plays video games and the average age of that population is 34, do not act surprised when you hear that I am able to work in a professional field, be happily married for over three years, be the father of a beautiful baby girl, and be a gamer. Gamers have infiltrated the workforce and we look, dress, and talk just like you.
The next time that you apply for a job and your interviewer asks for your hobbies, are you going proudly inform them that you’re a gamer? Or are you going to continue to hide your favorite pastime so that the ignorant masses who believe gamers are a niche community of pre-pubescent, zit-faced, teenage boys who aren’t capable of having social lives can continue to hold their prejudices?