Gaming, Hobbies and Time

A tweet was appearing whilst I scrolled through Twitter a lot just after New Years Day. Yeah nothing new there. I get that but this tweet has reminded me why I sometimes don’t understand why people can’t be left to live their life with their hobbies.

The Twitter user @CurtisScoon posted on the 31st December 2017 “I’m sorry but this whole “gaming” trend is weird to me. When do adults have the time to be “gamers”? If you’re over 25 and doing this shit you better be making a living from it.”.

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So I guess a lot of us better hang up our controllers because we are over 25 and obviously can’t find the time and aren’t being paid for this. /sarcasm

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For starters, gaming is not a trend. You have a couple of options for what a trend is. You have the data analysis/statistical trend. Now I don’t think this is exactly what @CurtisScoon was referring to. I mean data analysts and statisticians look at long term trends in time series analysis which can look at things like global temperatures, employment figures, price indices, pollution levels and so on. Not exactly similar to gaming. Another idea of a trend would relate to shorter term things, like fashion trends which last a season, daily social media trends, trends in visitors to a website or blog, trends in hobbies can occur like crazes (Pokรฉmon cards back in the day for example, highly popular and then fizzled to the collectors and those interested in trading card games). Games within gaming can be a trend but I don’t believe this is the context in which the tweet referred to. I mean games popularity comes and goes, there is a trend and a popularity which changes over time as people move on to newer games, or games which are perceived to be better, or just new releases which have been hyped prior to release. So I believe in trends within gaming, but not that gaming itself is a trend.

Next bit, time. When do adults have the time to be a gamer? Well, I could ask when do adults have the time to do any hobby? When do adults have the time to read? Go to the gym*? Paint? Do arts/crafts? Do DIY? Watch the latest TV show? Go to see a film? Why are these hobbies any more valuable than gaming? If you enjoy something, then there is no reason to imply that your hobby is better than any other. Let people enjoy what they want to. I enjoy gaming of the video and board variety, but I also enjoy cross stitch as previously mentioned as well as other crafts. I read, I go for walks, I take photographs, I volunteer, I watch films and TV programmes. At no point do I criticise someone for having other hobbies as long as they enjoy it. I don’t expect everyone to like what I like as that is personal choice and preference. Just respect the choices. I find the time because I want to do something I enjoy. Ok some of the time it is difficult to make the time, but even 30 minutes here and there is something and can make you happy. That is important. That thing called work/life balance is pretty important and gaming forms part of my balance part. I may not be great at work/life balance, I realise looking at my life from time to time, but this helps give me some balance.

Lastly, if you are over 25 and doing this you should be earning a living from this. When did a hobby have an age limit? An upper limit to be specific. I mean certain things have lower limits which is fine. I mean you can’t go skiing as a baby, you shouldn’t play with Lego too young as it is a choking hazard, DIY is realistically only sensible if you are old enough to operate the tools you need. Why should there be an upper limit for being able to be involved in gaming assuming you aren’t paid for it? I enjoy games and gaming enough to play them and write this blog and just in general talk about them. I’m definitely not making a living from it but I enjoy it. That still makes me happy. Besides which the average age of a gamer in the US is 35, with 72% of the video game playing population being over 18 years old (Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry).

I am an adult who finds time to be a gamer. I am unpaid financially for it and, therefore, not making a living for it. That doesn’t mean it lacks value. I get value in a different way. I get to experience stories and characters which can bring joy or sadness, show me fear and overcoming it, show me love and show me family. Games and gaming can have various positive effects (some references at the end), despite the reports of negative effects which have plagued the media in previous years. Positive effects include social benefits, improving of reaction times and co-ordination, spatial visualisation improves as well as improved perception and attention. I can increase these skills by gaming, and by enjoying myself in my hobby.

So Mr Twitter User, I should give up gaming because I’m old (since 25 is the limit for gaming here) and not making a living from it? According to him, my answer should be yes. Am I going to? No. I’m an adult. I can make my own decisions, make my own choices and I can find the time. Will my priorities change in time? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean I will give up gaming at that point either. It may change the time I spend gaming, in fact it probably will as that has happened before, but that doesn’t mean I will necessarily stop gaming. Hobbies have a value no matter what age you are.

* I’m defining going to the gym as a hobby here in terms it being something people spend time doing, time which is found somewhere. To be honest, I am not really sure on if it would be defined as a hobby elsewhere but I hope you understand my point.

References:

Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, Entertainment Software Association. Link.

Chiappe, D., M. Conger, J. Liao, J. L. Caldwell and K.-P. L. Vu. 2013. Improving Multi-Tasking Ability through Action Videogames. Applied Ergonomics 44: 278-84.

Eichenbaum, A. E., D. Bavelier, C. S. Green. 2014. Video games: Play that can do serious good. American Journal of Play 7: 50-72.

Green, C. S. and D. Bavelier. 2012. Learning, Attention Control and Action Video Games. Current Biology 22: R197-R206.

Li, R., U. Polat, W. Makous and D. Bavelier. 2009. Enhancing the Contrast Sensitivity Function through Action Video Game Training. Nature 12: 549-51.

More references on the benefits of gaming can be found in journals if you search.

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39 thoughts on “Gaming, Hobbies and Time

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  1. Very well said! I usually use โ€˜readingโ€™ as a type of activity to compare to gaming as they are both creative creations that we take part in – but some people look at you like youโ€™re crazy if you suggest books and games are comparable! Also, people on Twitter will do anything to create a bit of controversy- just block them and move on ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I just saw this tweet as people were commenting on it or sharing it to reply to it. I would agree with you on moving on but thought it was something that was worth talking about from the positives of gaming. I know what you mean about reading and gaming, they are both creative and having characters that you can connect to.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to be, especially in my mid-20s, made to feel ashamed of my hobbies by a portion of my peers. I’ve never heard a “good” rationale for the claim that folks my/our age shouldn’t play video games, though.

    I agree that plenty of people get value out of games through exposure to story and theme, along with other artistically and otherwise. Some folks use them to cope with depression or other issues. Companies have definitely skewed their focus since their inception to include (and usually aim for) adults. Times have changed!

    In short, good for you and keep finding that time for the hobby you love. Nice piece! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m sorry you used to be made to feel ashamed of your hobbies by some peers. I’ve had this before as well and it is horrible. Times have changed with gaming but sometimes the old stereotypes and viewpoints come out. Definitely need to keep finding time for hobbies, gaming and others.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would very much like to know what this gentleman’s hobbies are.

    I’ve heard something similar from other adults that dismiss my main hobby, but in the same way they can’t understand gaming, I don’t understand grown ass people going and spending $200 a pop per weekend to get drunk, sick, and feel awful afterwards.

    If you ask me that is a far bigger waste of time. I’m a 35 year old male, married, with 2 kids, AND I go to TKD and write. I don’t sit at home and play games all day, I try to get an hour or two a night if I can, but I rarely do so when my wife and kids are up; unless I’m playing with them of course.

    It is easy to make time for something you love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would interest me too, I wonder why he feels that whatever his hobby (or hobbies) is, is so much more valuable than gaming. Something that brings a person joy and that they love should be respected. Not everyone has to like the same things, it doesn’t have to suit everyone but people can still love it and game no matter what age.

      Personally I have never understood the go out and get drunk, ending up sick and/or hungover. Of course that may be due to the fact I don’t drink and personal circumstances that meant that wasn’t appealing even when I reached the legal age to drink. If that’s what people want to do then that’s fine for them, if they enjoy it and can afford it. I would just want them to respect that gaming (or another hobby that people dismiss) is the choice of an individual as well.

      Like you say I do a variety of things as well. Even if I could spend all day playing games I don’t think I would. Since I would still want to do other things – crafts like cross stitch, going out for walks and to take photos, write, spend time with friends, do whatever else. But if I can make some time to do this I am going to as it makes me happy even if it is just in short periods depending on the day and what schedules decide.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favorite thing to do when people call gaming a waste of time? Absolutely agree with them.

        Logically speaking of course it is a waste of time. It accomplishes nothing, it doesn’t put anything out into the world and our pursuits would be better spent taking care of most anything else.

        However, so is everything else that isn’t immediately contributing to your survival. Hobbies bring us joy, they make us better people by giving us escapes, helping us with our sorrow, and all the other things that any other hobby would do.

        I think a lot of older people simply can’t understand it, because they didn’t grow up with it. To them it is still a child’s play thing, but it’s much more than that. Anybody who reads a fiction book or watches movies and TV, and then turns to gaming and says that is a waste of time, is missing the point entirely.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That man is just crazy. Since when does a hobby have an age restriction? I am 25 at this moment and I enjoy every moment when I can play a video game. It is something to escape daily life and do something I love to do the most.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you, gaming shouldn’t have an upper age limit as that doesn’t make sense. As long as you still enjoy it, carry on (besides you gaming means you add to your blog and I enjoy reading your blog). Gaming can be such a wonderful escape and has so many positives to it.

    Like

  6. Great post! Whatever I choose to do with my precious time on this world is my own business. If some idiot on Twitter doesn’t value a hobby I love, no biggie ๐Ÿ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes exactly I enjoy this and choose to do this whether someone judges it to be unworthy of my time or not (especially some random Twitter user), but it did raise (for me) some interesting thoughts on how value is assigned to hobbies. I also found this amusing that it was posted during the festive period where people may play more games (with more time available) and family about to play together.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve always believed that as long as someone isn’t hurting anyone, their time and what they do with it, is their own business. There was a time when these sort of comments would bother me, but you know what? I have some games play! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well written and clearly expressed; this is a subject that has been on my mind a lot as of late. You wrote to the effect of aging bringing a change in priorities and that gaming for you (much like for me) won’t just go away – at least as long as you don’t want it to. I’m only 26 (not too far from the “cut-off” of 25, lol) and already I find that between work, a girlfriend and life, gaming has taken a back seat where it used to ride shotgun. The lack of “time” to game is a hot topic of conversation with my friends too, a few of which are newly married. It’s a thing that we, as gamers, eventually face. It’s also a thing that the retired garage band member faces every time he or she picks up their guitar, reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Or the same thing that the once-upon-a-time star soccer player feels when he or she is on the way back to work from a business lunch meeting and spots a group of kids kicking the ball around on a freshly cut field of grass.

    The Codex: Online, my video game review blog, is my answer to that change. The manifestation of a life time full of fanciful journeying and exploration and a desire to share those adventures. I still play video games, but when I can’t, I write about them instead.

    I play games. Being transported to an exciting and fantastic new world that I can explore is a thrill I’ll never get over. I also love to read and cook and dance and run. On occasion, I even pick up my guitar and strum a chord or two, reminiscing on those good ol’ days.

    Thanks again for the great read ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      My time with gaming has changed from child to early teen to late teen to beyond. I think it will continue to change but the fact that I still enjoy it means, even if it is less of a priority, if I have time and I can, I will still game. Lack of time is definitely a common theme that I see, with me, also with friends and with other bloggers. Then we all reminisce about the days where would could game all weekend and evenings (or whatever we did in those days).

      Writing about games is definitely a good way to keep gaming in your life and be able to spend a bit longer in that world. Sharing our love of games is wonderful, especially within the blogging world.

      I hope you can still find time to play games, cook, read, dance, run, play guitar or whatever else. As much as I am still finding some time to do play games, do arts/crafts, read, take photos, walk and whatever else I want to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll just leave this C.S. Lewis quote here because it’s amazingly relevant:

    >When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

    Point being, when you grow older, you should probably stop caring about what others think about you.

    Whoever tweeted that is an idiot who probably has no passion in anything. Funny how playing video games is childish but staring at a sports game for 6 hours straight every night watching multi-millionaires play catch or watching trash television that’s poison for your brain is socially acceptable. I’d love to know what this guy does for fun.

    Personally, I’m glad that gaming has crept into the mainstream. It’s far from niche anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That quote is completely relevant here towards the original Twitter user that prompted this discussion. I’m also glad gaming is enjoyed by more and more people and that it is something that can bring people together.

      It is odd that some people still believe that gaming is not as worthwhile and considered as something that only kids should do, and yet it can be so worthwhile, show us incredible stories and develop skills. Gaming isn’t something that we should be embarrassed about or try to hide these days.

      I do wonder what he enjoys. I would still say it is no more or less valuable than any other hobby, which much to his probable disliking would include gaming. What I found odd was how strongly he felt that gaming wasn’t worth anything unless you are paid for it past a certain age. I have no strong feelings against hobbies that I don’t personally gain enjoyment from, if people like them then I am happy for the people who enjoy them. Just because it isn’t for me (for example, football either playing or watching) but I am not going to criticise anyone from enjoying playing or watching football if they are over a certain age and unpaid for it because that criticism would make no sense to me. People enjoy it and that is good.

      Like

  10. Good article and so very true. When I walk my dog after dinner I see all those houses with people lounging on the couch watching Telly. And thatโ€™s a better way of spending what free time you have then?

    Iโ€™m 54 and still game daily. And write about it. But wait… maybe if youโ€™re over 2 times 25 other rules apply, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha maybe there is a different rule once you get to 2 times 25! People have different hobbies and that’s part of what makes us interesting. I just don’t see why one hobby should be accepted as fine where gaming apparently should have an upper age limit if you aren’t being employed in that industry. I mean we as gamers see stories, kind of like TV programmes/films allow, but in a more interactive sense as we can direct the story to an extent so why would watching TV/films be fine but gaming not.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. My husband and I have been gaming since we were single digits. Our first few years together, we hung out everyday playing Halo 2 and adventuring in Final Fantasy XI.
    When we were pregnant with our first child, we were told gaming had to go.
    These same people would watch tv for hours or participate in fantasy football. It constantly made us shake our heads.
    I don’t understand the obsession with adult life needing to be a miserable one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Adult life definitely doesn’t need to be miserable and whatever that brightens it up is worthwhile. That’s so nice that you and your husband have been playing together for years and have both been playing games for some time.

      Like

  12. I love gaming and still playing and I’m well over 25 not by much though ๐Ÿ˜‚ I use gaming to relax and get away from reality same with reading a book. Nothing you enjoy doing should have an age limit. Just do what u want todo and not listen to anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha well if your wife tells you to stop to do other things then that is a different story but at least she isn’t saying you must give up gaming completely. It’s all about getting some time for the things you enjoy, gaming included.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Glad I read this. Recently I have been wondering if I am too old to be playing games, (not quite 25 but getting close). I constantly see people I used to game with put down our once shared hobby, and then brag about how they watched a full season of a TV show in a week, and I wonder why that is seen as a more respectable hobby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There isn’t an age limit on when you should put down the controller and change what you enjoy. Watching TV shows versus gaming to me there isn’t a hierarchy but it is what a person enjoys. Don’t put pressure on yourself to give up gaming if you don’t want to. By all means change what games you play or how you play if you wish to, but don’t say just because you are nearly 25 (or whatever age) you should be giving up gaming. Enjoy what you enjoy, even playing games.

      Like

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