No Sense of Shame
The latest issue of Wargames Illustrated has a light-hearted article on the embarrassment of being a wargamer: this is something that I’ve seen a few times recently and I can’t say it’s a problem I’ve encountered. I’ve never felt the need to conceal that I’m a gamer and I’ve never had a genuinely negative reaction to my being one.
When I started gaming, my parents had heard all that nonsense coming out of America about how roleplaying turns you into a devil-worshipping, suicidal psychopath, but were openminded and actually looked at what gaming was and what it involved. Having been in the military, my uncle doesn’t understand the attraction of “playing at war”, but has never been more than bemused at my hobby.
Generally, when gaming comes up in conversation with strangers, something that most often occurs at job interviews when I’m asked about my hobbies, the usual responses from non-gamers are either that they have a relative who is a gamer or intrigued enquiries; not everyone wants to be a gamer, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who takes offence at me being on. Even when I took the trouble to write to a Christian publisher of a pamphlet that included a section on the evils of gaming, I got a pleasant letter back from them agreeing with my points and promising to modify the article from one decrying the medium to one cautioning to check the message.
Indeed, today, with gaming ever more mainstream than its been since the early ‘eighties, there really should be no reason for anyone to feel embarrassed about being a gamer or to find it difficult to explain their hobby. Even when you take into account the frequently muddled impression of what roleplaying is in shows like The Big Bang Theory and the way in which they thrive upon the worst stereotypes of gamers and ‘geeks’, the hobby is in no worse a position than any other pastime or group in society, given the lazy way in which the media research and report on them.
Given the many positive aspects of gaming – the community, literacy, numeracy, the positive effect on mental health – and the good that so many gamers have achieved in education and for charity, there really is no reason not to be proud of the hobby. So, let’s drop the negative commentary, even if intended for humorous effect, and recognise that being a gamer is a wonderful thing to be!
From → Opinion Pieces