According to a study done by Pixwoo, a gaming social network, the average gamer is approximately 30-35 years old. (**More stats are cited here on the average gamer, if you’re interested.) Interesting, since the stereotype is either an obnoxious 12 year old kid or a grown man living in his mother’s basement, but the survey shows that both of these are far from that.
Statistics aside, I remember seeing a post on facebook a while back accusing gamers of “not growing up” and becoming a man (or woman). This accusation bothered me. What about gaming makes so many people think it’s childish? Can’t we game and have a perfectly normal life? Is gaming just a hobby? Are hobbies childish, then? Is anything that we get immersed in, enjoy, do in our free time, etc. childish?
I think it’s seen as childish partly because of the stereotype associated with gaming: having no life. The reality is so much different but for some reason people associate gaming with people who can’t socialize, work, or survive on their own. If we look at the actually picture of a gamer the situation is so much different.
Myself as an example, I’d an full time college honors student taking anywhere from 16-18 CH a semester, I work 10-15 hours a week, I’ve been active in clubs, I volunteer, and do a slew of other activities. On top of all of that, I also game at least once a day for several hours a day, if I can. I don’t think that doing so knocks me down a few maturity levels and automatically makes me a childish person. As I said in a previous blog post, I game because I love all the different aspects of it: the story, world, community, character building, etc. etc.
Maybe it’s the addictive quality of video games that makes it something people perceive as childish? We picture gamers who can’t, don’t want to, or won’t get up and pursue real life interests just because they’re gaming. Which, I also think is a common misconception. You can argue the addictive quality of video games (WebMD has an article that points to it here, but they also state that 80% (approx.) of people can game just fine). However, I think that less people are “addicted” than everyone seems to assume. As for the children and adults that are addicted, however, I think there’s arguably a lot more to the situation than statistics let on. But that’s my opinion.
Overall, I think video games are a modern hobby/past time that just happens to have a lot of negative connotations. I think people need to push past their stereotypes of gamers and understand that there’s more to it than just hitting and killing things.
I’m not childish, less educated, or less than anyone for spending my time gaming in the same way that not all jocks are stupid and not all people who knit are old ladies. I think those who judge gamers need to push past their stereotypes, preconceived notions, and judgments and recognize gaming as something a mature, responsible person can do and not be considered a child for doing it.
**This article gives a small critique of the study.