Holed up in a dark basement somewhere. Hasn’t showered in days. Surrounded by empty bags of chips and cans of soda. Afraid to go outside and see the light of day. Held captive by a computer screen, completing tasks that have no merit in real life. Cannot hold a conversation that isn’t via text message. Homework taking a back seat to the game.
This is what most of my family and friends picture when they hear the word “gamer”. And to be perfectly honest, during my first experience with LOTRO, I fit this stereotype in a way. My roommate left our room around noon on Saturday, when I had just begun my quest. He returned two and a half hours later to find me still playing in the complete darkness, wearing only my boxers, not showered, hadn’t eaten, and seemingly glued to my computer screen. In fact, I’m writing this post under the same conditions. Too much information? Sorry.
Even though I may have been the target of some ridicule throughout the rest of the day because of this, it still did not take away from the sense of accomplishment that I got from finally reaching the stables in West Bree. I had devoted much time and concentration to this endeavor and I was not going to let anyone discount that. I may have missed the meeting time of 1PM, but I still got there eventually.
My family was somewhat surprised to hear that I had selected this class for my writing seminar, especially since I have never played online games before in my life. But how bad could a class on LOTR possibly be? I also knew that the word “gamer” to them carried somewhat of a stigma, as even my brother and I constantly playing FIFA in our spare time was sometimes frowned upon. They believed that all my time spent playing “silly” video games could be spent doing things much more productive and beneficial to both myself and others. And that’s probably true. But just because I enjoy video games doesn’t mean that I don’t get my homework done and that I can’t hold a conversation, in fact on Saturday I was playing LOTRO as part of my homework!
Who am I to judge someone for doing something that they seem to enjoy so much? And the same goes for other people. There are plenty of other things, “guilty pleasures”, that people enjoy that do not really benefit society, such as watching reality TV. As long as a healthy balance between work and play is found then how important is what that form of play actually is? I have enjoyed my time spent gaming thus far and will continue to do so throughout at least the rest of the semester.
-George de Roziere