When I think about games, the first word that comes to mind is "entertainment", because, let's face it, that is what games are made for; to entertain people. It's the same reason movies, music and television shows are made and, in my opinion, it is this sentiment that should stand at the forefront of what gaming is all about. It should be fun, it should be a form of escapism and it should help ease some of the stresses of our daily lives rather than adding to them.
To put it simply, gaming is something that is meant to be enjoyed above all other factors.
However, I am also aware of the fact that the gaming industry has grown to a point where it has almost created a worldwide culture of sorts - one that has, in a sense, elevated computer entertainment into something more akin to a way of life than just a simple pastime. With this transition, we've also seen the growth of a global community in which people like myself share their thoughts, views and experiences regarding games as well as our observations on the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, as with all things that grow, the development of this global community also brings with it its fair share of growing pains.
Rather than remaining as nothing more than a fun pastime, gaming has dug its roots into many other aspects of our lives. Some people use it as a means of income, others see it as a competitive sport. Gaming has even affected politics to varying degrees and has become a word that is not uncommonly seen on the evening news. Gaming as a whole has sent out ripples that have drastically changed our global community in more ways than some of us may realize, but I also feel that in many ways, it has done so for the worse.
To me, it just feels like we've allowed computer gaming as a whole to permeate far too deeply into our personal lives. We envelop ourselves in daily news or discussions about games that as a whole have taken on a fairly negative tone. We deliberate and form intense rivalries with those who don't share our views or ideals or segregate ourselves from our fellow gamers based on unnecessary brand loyalties. Gaming has even added a financial stress to our lives as we desperately try to compete and keep up with ever-changing software or hardware demands or to follow trends that, to a degree, have been built around a form of social, class-based peer pressure. We become angry or frustrated. We fight bitterly and insult each other. We've even developed a sense of entitlement and demand perfection from developers, going as far as to degrade or ostracize those who don't meet our ever-growing demands or those in our community who don't share our expectations.
Even I've become wrapped up in all this hype and drama and because of that, i find myself asking if it is truly necessary, or if we as gamers have simply become far too serious about the pastime we love. Have we forgotten how to just have fun without bringing all the other unnecessary baggage along for the ride?