Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Phenomenon

I have my amateur psychologist's hat on this morning.

I think it's fairly widely known that the popular interest of video or online games has largely passed me by. This makes me somewhat of a minority, quite a small one, in fact. It's not that I NEVER play any sort of game, just that it's extremely rare, I have to be very bored, and then I'm very picky.

There was a time there were a few I liked, Super Mario, for example, and Bookworm, when it first came out. But modern video games got too difficult for me, I don't have the patience to go through the learning curve to gain enough ability to get any enjoyment out of it, and the Bookworm type things get old fast. I don't have what it takes to get addicted, I bore too easily.

I have a subscription to Acer games. When I bought this computer it came with trial games, and trial periods thereof, and the boys liked some of them, so I said I'd buy them. The cheapest way to do this was to sign up for buying one a month at $6.99, and this suited everyone.

After a few months I decided it was my turn and I'd have a look to see if there was anything that appealed to me. I found a game called "Entangled" which claimed to be a detective game. Well, that sounded good. Can't go wrong at $6.99. You can imagine my disappointment then, when I discovered that the bulk of the game involved "Find the hidden object", like a sort of messy room version of "Where's Waldo". Not what I expected at all. I don't remember Holmes, Poirot or Morse rummaging through a pile of junk to collect "A button, two tuning forks, a postage stamp, a frog, a pretzel, a diver's mask.....".

Let's be honest, I'm better off with a crossword puzzle or a chess board. Call me dull, call me a dinosaur, I really don't care.

I REALLY DON'T CARE. I'm not bothered what you think about my rather old-fashioned attitude to games. I'm not forcing it on you. Nor am I preventing anyone else from enjoying it.  I buy my kids games, and I give them generous amounts of game time.

It's a matter of taste, of choice, of preference.

So why is it, when in the course of conversation I happen to mention that I am not into games, the diehard gamers all go on the defensive about their hobby? 

I don't call them names, or make fun of them, I am talking about my own lack of interest. How does my lack of interest affect you?

I could understand a certain amount of hackles rising, a few years ago when, several times I begged my Facebook contacts not to send me game requests. It was, after all, a direct sign of annoyance. On the other hand it was a fair thing to be annoyed about as I opened my feed and 80% of it was game requests. But then FB made it possible to prevent game requests, and the statuses of friends' game achievements (because I really don't care) and it all went away, which is great. Now those who play games can do so without me having my feed fill up with reports about it, and I don't have to bother them by pleading with them not to ask me to join in.

But in the course of general conversation it goes like this. Person mentions a game they are/were playing, I glaze over, have nothing to offer the conversation, smile weakly and wait, hoping for the topic to change. Person notices. Person asks me if I'm a gamer. I say "No" in what I hope is a neutral tone. Person then tries to justify their hobby, by saying it relieves stress, or whatever, as if I was criticizing. No matter how much I try to look as if I support their choice, the justification continues as if I was being negative. I'm just looking blank. But I may as well be accusing them of dangerous behaviour, because their tone becomes one of complete and utter resentment towards my lack of interest, plus this weird urge to try to convince me that IT'S OK that they play games. I never said it wasn't.

This is not the only example of this phenomenon. I see it all the time in other areas of interest, habit, or choice. Perhaps the topic comes up of gardening. This time I'm the interested person, and it's the other who has no interest. But the justification happens in exactly the same way. When they discover I garden, although  I don't dwell on it, I am treated to a l-o-n-g explanation of why they don't, or can't, as if they need some sort of get-out clause to give me. I feel like the garden police. I stress, it's not just the words, it's the attitude and expression. It's the urge they feel to explain their lack of interest to me, with a most excellent excuse. It's as if they feel guilty about not gardening. Why?

It's all bizarre. We're all different, we all have different priorities, preferences, tastes, etc. We don't need to justify it. The piece you saw at the top explaining to you why I don't play games much, I don't go around telling people that when they ask me if I play games. I just say "no". No is enough, honestly.


  1. Perhaps it has something to do with the urge to conform; if you aren't part of a group, why aren't you? the people you are talking to feel you should be.

  2. You sound as though you have met my neighbor. LOL

    Excuses do seem to be the commerce of communication these days. I am totally with you on your little rant/rave, yet another thing we have in common. Personally, I would much rather use this wonderful communication tool called the internet to help further humanity at least a little bit in my own meager way, than to sit and waste time being distracted from life and other things that I 'could' be doing. Even doing non-game things is a distraction, but I certainly do not go around to my gaming friends justifying why I do what I do. Either they get it or not.

    Maybe they see words as expensive or something? I don't know--and you know how much I love to know and follow my curiosity. ;) ~ Blessings!

  3. Well, I game. Been gaming for a very long, long time. We do need to be fair and present the other side; there are a lot of people who refer to gaming as a waste of time and in saying so, are attacking the gamers as being lumpfish or something. I have my reasons for gaming and they are, really, nobody's business.

    On the other hand, I also blog and run a web site; I have been accused of wasting time with those things as well. Just as there are those who don't game - there are a lot of folks who don't blog and don't see a point to it, apart from wasting time or being self-centered.

    My mother watches Coronation Street and some show about an Abbey; I consider those time wasters but that's my point of view and I'm free to have it.

    Everybody's hobby is someone else's waste of time.

    1. You know what, I've even been told that my current "thing" with the online courses is a waste of time.

      If I spoke out to that remark and justified it, that might make sense (I don't bother actually) but this happens with no provocation, no accusation. It's like....... auto-justify. THAT is what baffles me.

  4. I loved bookworm but I raced through it and then it was done and not fun anymore. I currently play a game on my phone called 7 little words. It gives me one free word puzzle a day. Takes less than 5 minutes to complete and then I am done until the next day. I have yet to find a really great hobby that keeps my interest. Well other than the cats, but I am not sure that is a hobby. If I had homeless people standing at my back door I would probably feed them and post about them on facebook.

    1. Yeah, cats could be a hobby. People watch birds, don't they? I'm not absolutely sure what the definition of a hobby is. Maybe you just know one when you see one.

  5. Because with gamers, it's a religion. And all we want to do is to convert our friends to join in our fun and experience the glory.

  6. Facebook games that I have tried all have one thing in common. They start out fun and fairly easy then you get to a certain point and you either have to have 100's of friends from which you beg things or you have to pay real money to get past a certain level. The game I was referring to on my status is that kind. It took me maybe a total of an hour over a week to get to level 20. Then level 20 you have to pay real money to get past it. So that is the end of that game because I refuse to pay money for facebook games.

  7. I don't game either, but will admit I enjoy "words with friends" because, well, you's scrabble.. and I like that. But as far as video games go, I'm hopeless.. I have zero interest in them either. But those who enjoy them more than make up for my lack of enthusiasm.

    My free time, what little I have, is spent reading, watching a little TV, or with my family and friends, just doing stuff..

    Each to their own I say.. we all have things we enjoy, we don't all have to enjoy the same things, but a little respect for each others choices doesn't hurt. I have friends who look at me like I have 3 heads because I love to curl up with a book and *gasp* READ!!!!

    *shrug* whatever..

    1. I tried words with friends, and kept it up for a whole week! I have no staying power, that's my trouble.