I distinctly remember a promise I made to myself in high school. No matter how old I was, I would not stop playing video games.
Arguably, that is a very minor and silly promise to make. You can blame me for being naive or perhaps a bit of an idiot. Both would probably be true.
At the same time, “being a gamer” isn’t so much about taking time to play video games, it’s a mindset–a philosophy on life.
A year ago I read Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal and I found it to be very interesting. I would highly recommend for those interested in video games or the gamer mentality.
I’ll let the book speak for itself and while I don’t necessarily agree with everything, I think it makes some good and salient points.
As for myself, gaming is an important venue for mental stimulation and emotional release. I have a hard time “turning my brain off” so when I have a stressful day, or I’m bogged down with “petty problems” that I don’t really care about, I need something to distract me. I need a “solvable” problem. I need something with rules that I can understand. I need a video game.
Over the years my gaming habits have fluctuated depending on social availability, financial endeavors, and just plain free time. I have moved from console games to computer games and now find myself playing more games on mobile devices.
Once or twice I have thought back on my declaration of gaming and wondered if I think I’m going to stick to it. When life gets busy the less important things slip to the back burner. Yet, you don’t have to play games regularly to be a gamer.
If you’re wired to be a gamer, you don’t easily lose that mentality. The games change, the manner of gaming changes, but I don’t think it’s just a switch you turn on and off. Games appeal to us for a reason. (McGonigal talks about that in her book.) You can change the manner in which you fulfill those needs, but they still exist–and those needs, wants, desires, or mental processes are how I would define a gamer.