From the day I began playing video games, my parents and I have been at odds with one another about the merits of gaming. In gaming, I saw a world of opportunities. Not only could they help me to relieve stress from my everyday life, but they also provided me with new and interesting ways to interact with others and challenge myself in a myriad of new ways that would have been impossible to experience in the non-gaming world. However, my parents did not share this love for gaming as I did. On the contrary, they consistently reminded me that I was wasting my time and should be focusing on other aspects of my life, such as my studies or swimming. They believed that the games consumed too much of my time and effort, unbalancing my life and distancing me from reality. To a certain extent, they were right. I did spend too many long hours on online games, often sacrificing my weekends to the games which so enthralled me. I also occasionally prioritized the games over other areas of my life which deserved more of my time.
However, my parents neglected some of the intrinsic benefits of playing video games. As I briefly touched on before, games can serve to relieve anxiety and provide an excellent outlet for negative emotions. Furthermore, games can provide online forums for interactions between diverse people, such as in the case of World of Warcraft. Although the game centers on the storyline and fighting, players are constantly in contact with one another, possibly exchanging different opinions on guild chat, learning how to utilize the online economy to their advantage, or gaining other general insights that can be applied to real-world situations. Nonetheless, my parents retained their negative views on gaming, thereby ignoring the intrinsic worth of it.
When it came to my friends’ opinions on gaming, there stood a sharp divide among them. This divide arose from the separation between gamers who only enjoyed console games, and those who enjoyed other types of games like MMOs. To most of my friends, playing massively popular console games such as Call of Duty was perfectly alright. However, when one ventured into the realm of online MMOs such as World of Warcraft, he or she might as well have committed social suicide. A small group of closer friends disagreed with this notion. These select few believed that, in moderation, any type of gaming was acceptable because one should do whatever makes one happy.
Thus, many of my friends and my parents have disapproved of my gaming habits throughout my life. Even those who supported me in my choice to game often believed I played games too much. However, I contend that games do retain merit and can teach important life lessons, even if my friends and family cannot share my passion and respect for gaming.