Anti-social stigma of games

In one of my last job interviews (yes, I’m looking for a job as a UX researcher- wink, wink), the interviewer acted surprised about my passion for video games. She told me that not many people have to courage to tell others that they play games. That was shocking to me as I know there’s a whole new paradigm about games.

Video games are a form of entertainment for any type of people, not just kids. There are games out there that are aimed at adults (Grand Theft Auto). Grandparents are playing Wii Bowling and winning. However, the stigma that games are just for kids is still out there and within me. I still feel uncomfortable when playing games on my computer/tablet/phone while others look at me. It seems like playing games give the wrong message to the people around me.

Playing games might tell others that you are:

– Wasting your time
– Anti-social
– Lonely
– Incompetent
– Irresponsible

Why? Why do we have “bad press”? Is it because of the players that die after many hours of gaming without sleep and water? Is it because the word “game” still makes some people think about kids? Furthermore, why playing pool twice a week with your friends seems more socially accepted than playing COD with your friends twice a week? Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are moving forward into accepting video games but I still feel the pressure from my peers even when my career path asks for being up-to-date with games.

Research is needed to learn about how people feel when playing games around friends/family. In the meantime, lets give the people opportunities to feel that they have control of time (wasting time). Let the games be more socially accessible, meaning that real-life friends don’t need to invest in a new console or buy expensive video games to interact/compete with each other. Let video games be part of mainstream social activities. This is done my lowering the learning curve and giving the players the tools to communicate effectively within the game.

Gretchen Ortiz