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Why Do Adult Men Still Play Video Games? Here's Our Theory


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Why is it a waste of time if you gain pleasure from it? I don't understand that argument, what should I be doing instead? Watching people in matching costumes kick a piece of leather about? Working for some cunt who exploits my labour and holds me in contempt in their private tyranny? Trying to acquire a private tyranny of my own? Top Gear? Beating off to idiotic Stefan Molyneux videos?

I get bored of sculpting, painting, making music, occult rituals, writing poetry, writing code in Visual Studio, flying kestrels, swimming, fucking my missus in the mouth, parachuting and what's wrong with videogames?

 

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Indeed, why is something a waste of time if we gain pleasure from it?

 

Sitting in front of the telly eating ice cream is immensely pleasurable. So is playing video games.

 

But time put into both of those things are equal in terms of value, for sure. I would count time spent stepping out of your front door doing anything else as more valuable to me as a human organism, personally.

 

But it's all subjective. I don't rank passive pleasures as being a 'good thing'. I still enjoy them obviously, and waste my time with them obviously, but I know I'm capable of much more with my time.

 

I don't expect that to be a popular view on a forum which is the cream on top of the ice cream, but so what? 

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8 minutes ago, Soulstar said:

I'd love to see a Dave Firth representation of that outburst zoom, it would be excellent.

Had a quick Google. He's wearing an AFX t-shirt so he's already one of life's winners.

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7 minutes ago, Mr Cochese said:

Pickford's right though. I could write a similar article about how I feel about football, but it wouldn't make football fans rethink their entire lives. Who gives a fuck?

 

Presumably the editor, who, when tasked with picking an article topic to generate clicks, has correctly surmised that getting someone to spend ten minutes vaguely rewriting another article will pay off handsomely.

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When you take the reduction of considering an enjoyable activity to be a waste of time to its eventual conclusion, everything we do is a waste of time given that the universe will just shrug its metaphorical shoulders and get on with the business of existing.

 

Doing something solely for your own enjoyment might not be productive, or beneficial to others, but it's only a waste of time if you have something more important that you could be making a contribution toward.

 

And with the greatest love in the world, you, dear reader, do not. Your life is essentially of no consequence. So have yourself the evening off and don't worry about it all.

 

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47 minutes ago, chris on the moon said:

I'm impressed at the amount of you that can just enjoy video games because you like them, and not have to put up with yourself thinking "This is stupid, this is a waste of time, I could be doing so much more, I hate myself so much".

 

Life is short. Fun, whatever that may be for you isn't a waste of time, work that isn't a work of passion definitely is.

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I've just spent 3 hours playing AC4 Black Flag for 3 hours for the first time. I was doing what I was told, I was on my own, and really enjoyed it. Don't feel I need to justify it at all in the same way I wouldn't justify reading a book, watching the telly or going for a walk. Gamers can get twitchy when people critisise gaming, but the critics are the ones missing out, not me, and I don't care about their opinion. People can write any old crap on the internet, It gives people I would never normally come into contact with a voice that I unfortunately hear. So I just choose to ignore their crap.

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I think we are getting there, albeit very slowly. Games are becoming more emotionally engaging. 

 

I had tears in my eyes last night as I finished off Uncharted 4 as I was that emotionally involved in Nate and Elenas story over the last 8 years. Games can get you in that way. 

 

The biggest problem for me is that far too many video games involve killing things. 

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11 minutes ago, ZOK said:

Indeed, why is something a waste in time if we gain pleasure from it?

 

Sitting in front of the telly eating ice cream is immensely pleasurable. So is playing video games.

 

But time put into both of those things are equal in terms of value, for sure. I would count time spent stepping out of your front door doing anything else as more valuable to me as a human organism, personally.

 

But it's all subjective. I don't rank passive pleasures as being a 'good thing'. I still enjoy them obviously, and waste my time with them obviously, but I know I'm capable of much more with my time.

 

I don't expect that to be a popular view on a forum which is the cream on top of the ice cream, but so what? 

 

I think the reason the majority of people who are passionate about games feel that way is because of the potential of them. Whilst I've very rarely been told a compelling story by a game, and even when I'm given agency to create fun ideas it is often heavily constrained, I've had moments with games that felt very different to the experience of reading a book or watching a movie. A very personal, connected feeling that conventional narratives have never offered. It's not something games offer very often (Chrono Trigger and the original MGS stick out), but there's something there that isn't possible in fields other than games. I think a lot of the passion about games stems from chasing that feeling and hoping to find it again, and an associated excitement about being around at the start of something and the possibilities of a new form. I'd agree that most games are no more stimulating than sitting eating in front of the TV, but most books are exactly as worthless because the publishing industry is as shit as the movie, tv and games industries are. The only reason there are more books worth reading is because they've had hundreds of years to churn out very occasional classics, whilst there are very few games which haven't aged and don't rely on swathes of bullshit from some other medium which was imported to try to make the game seem artistic. Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls are the only games I've ever played that I would confidently say are stories that could only be told by games that are unique, interesting and worthwhile. But that doesn't mean the form is inherently flawed or pointless.

 

That's assuming that you're comparing the idea of the value of games in comparison to other entertainment or relaxation. Because comparing entertainment and relaxation to creative or altruistic pursuits seems kind of redundant given the hugely different spaces they occupy in people's minds and priorities, and the vast variance in those ideas and priorities between people.

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Games have always been emotionally engaging. Some anyway. Same with films. Some are popcorn blockbusters with violence all over the place, some are small character based pieces.

 

There is no need for gaming to gain any kind of acceptance. Those who like them, like them. Those who don't, don't. I can't stand Rom-Coms, doesn't stop millions of people from liking them and they don't care about my opinion.

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They're a sociable experience too, I pop onto COD on an evening and its the same crowd playing, you have a bit of banter in the wee hours of the morning. Like ships passing in the night I've spoken to quite a few nice people, the game itself being like some virtual world cowboys and indians. Log on, jump in a game, see a mate..hey man, how you doing. It's not all raging teenagers and lunatics. Or sometimes I'll play something thought provoking like Soma, that game sat with me for weeks even after I'd finished it, cracking story, really good sci fi. Calling it a time waste is ignorant and insulting, gaming is bloody great.

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6 hours ago, ZOK said:

Indeed, why is something a waste of time if we gain pleasure from it?

 

Sitting in front of the telly eating ice cream is immensely pleasurable. So is playing video games.

 

But time put into both of those things are equal in terms of value, for sure. I would count time spent stepping out of your front door doing anything else as more valuable to me as a human organism, personally.

 

But it's all subjective. I don't rank passive pleasures as being a 'good thing'. I still enjoy them obviously, and waste my time with them obviously, but I know I'm capable of much more with my time.

 

I don't expect that to be a popular view on a forum which is the cream on top of the ice cream, but so what? 

 

Craven scum.Wasting your life like this while knowing it has no value to you as a human organism.Adorno would read this cretinous filth and tears would stream down his face at the wasted potential of you.

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6 hours ago, ZOK said:

Indeed, why is something a waste of time if we gain pleasure from it?

 

Sitting in front of the telly eating ice cream is immensely pleasurable. So is playing video games.

 

But time put into both of those things are equal in terms of value, for sure. I would count time spent stepping out of your front door doing anything else as more valuable to me as a human organism, personally.

 

But it's all subjective. I don't rank passive pleasures as being a 'good thing'. I still enjoy them obviously, and waste my time with them obviously, but I know I'm capable of much more with my time.

 

I don't expect that to be a popular view on a forum which is the cream on top of the ice cream, but so what? 

 

One of the most significant aspects of human existence itself over other animals can probably be boiled down to our general search for meaning. So in this sense, playing a video game and experiencing discovery in either a virtual world like this or the real world holds just as much inherent value.

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Hey, I'm no-one to judge. I just spent an hour playing Slither.io, which is about as much of a waste of time as it's possible to get.

 

And now I have to go to vegfest in the pissing rain to hear Marshall Jefferson. Find meaning in that, if you can.

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52 minutes ago, angel said:

They're a sociable experience too, I pop onto COD on an evening and its the same crowd playing, you have a bit of banter in the wee hours of the morning. Like ships passing in the night I've spoken to quite a few nice people, the game itself being like some virtual world cowboys and indians. Log on, jump in a game, see a mate..hey man, how you doing. It's not all raging teenagers and lunatics. Or sometimes I'll play something thought provoking like Soma, that game sat with me for weeks even after I'd finished it, cracking story, really good sci fi. Calling it a time waste is ignorant and insulting, gaming is bloody great.

 

Playing COD is the epitome of wasting your life.

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I've been playing, tinkering with and making games for over 30 years of my life at this point. I've also got enough interests outside of games that when this subject comes up in conversation I can make a fairly robust defence of games by relating them to something important to whoever is pontificating about them. One thing that comes up time and time again is this weird blindspot about the fact that games are things made by actual human beings. Even though logically, how else would they exist, a lot of the naysayers seem to have this nebulous concept that games just spring into existence without any kind of creative activity at all (also crops up with digitally made art and occasionally with electronic music too).

 

Usually, unless I'm talking to someone who just can't imagine anything outside of their own experience, I can give someone pause for thought just by explaining that games are things made by actual people. From there it's only a short leap to relating them to films or music or whatever.

 

But then a lot of other stuff that's meant a lot to me over the years from comics, punk and hardcore music, b-movies, pulp / crime / science fiction has been dismissed out of hand by someone at some point and I'm getting to the point where I can't really be arsed explaining the obvious.

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It's no wonder and certainly nothing to be shaming players about, that games provide relative to the capitalist world of work, appealing environments for completing tasks in, also giving regular performance feedback and fair, well considered reward systems.

On top of the obvious and irrational sexism on display in the article, I also take issue with the demonisation of games here. Editorial positing reasons for people playing games as negative, should instead be framed as celebrations of games - vaunting what the 'real world' should be taking as inspiration from them.

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This morning at my son's football training, I conversed with some other grown men, other Dads that are in their 40s. One of them explained how he was happy to be away from his family this weekend and spending it fishing. Then another said the following words, "my Golf has more torque than a Porsche". 

 

After I'd died a little inside, I thought to myself 'yeah, but my Dragonslayer Great axe is +5 and I am tearing it up in PvP' and decided that I was the better person. 

 

I didn't read that article. 

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Anyone that questions the story telling merit and the strength of the videogame medium should go away and play 999 (which is arguably more a visual novel with some puzzles thrown in, I must admit) but the kerblammo moments in that and the way it tells the story is simply not possible in any other form and it's bloody amazing because of it.

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