Gamers Over 35: Have Video Games Improved Or Hindered Your Life?

Remember when you were a kid and your parents said things like, “don’t sit so close to the TV; you’ll go blind one day”? Okay, so maybe all parents didn’t say that but in my experience, growing up in the 1980s, the majority of parents certainly believed that television was a serious stumbling block for children. And as video games were an even more hardcore extension of the TV experience – i.e., now we’re even MORE riveted, now we sit even CLOSER, now we’re there even LONGER – most parents were concerned about the long-term effects of the new hobby.

Now, upon reflection, they were certainly right about the possible physical consequences of video games. As it encouraged kids to be less active, well…bad things happened. Too many kids went from being thin, vivacious bundles of energy to these soft, fat, slow-moving slugs. Yes, it was a shockingly fast transformation and, coupled with horrendous diets driven by hot lunches that should’ve been outlawed, it all contributed to the health crisis in which we currently find ourselves.

Granted, video games aren’t solely responsible for this crisis (really, no one element of society is “wholly responsible” for any widespread ill), but there’s no doubt that any activity that lessened real activity was a direct contributor. It’s like social media and the explosion of social anxiety among younger individuals. As it turns out, “communicating” through a screen, as opposed to true human interaction, has utterly trashed social ability. Of course, one could make a similar argument about the long-term effects of video games; the “awkward gamer” label wasn’t just a stereotype.

But what came first, the chicken or the egg? Were gamers awkward and socially inept before the games, and they were drawn to games because of their nerdiness? Or did video games turn otherwise outgoing individuals into mumbling, shuffling dorks? Oh, once again, both ideas are true to some extent. Playing video games was very much a solo hobby back in the old days, and even though multiplayer required a person sitting next to you (which is more real social interaction than 12 hours of screaming at someone through a microphone), the majority of the time, we played alone.

This all being said, if you’re over the age of 35 and you still play games, we have just one question: When you look back, what do you see? Do you think games had a profoundly negative impact on your development? Did you only realize this later, and then had to battle to fix yourself? Or, on the flip side, are you only seeing positives? Perhaps games allowed you to cope with other life difficulties, for example; after all, ALL hobbies are escapes. They should allow someone to feel a little bit better about everything, in general. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, is there?

There are some who will credit video games with saving their lives, in fact. Maybe it kept them from going down the wrong path. Maybe it led them to fulfilling careers in the computer science, graphic design, or general tech industries. Maybe it just gave them years of memorable entertainment they wouldn’t trade for a million dollars. All of these outcomes are perfectly feasible. I certainly wouldn’t want to part with my gaming memories. At the same time, I know I used games as a crutch occasionally; something to fall back on when things weren’t going well. It might’ve given me an excuse to avoid issues, as opposed to facing them head-on.

What about you? Ultimately, what’s your take-away after decades of gaming?

3 thoughts on “Gamers Over 35: Have Video Games Improved Or Hindered Your Life?”

I’m approaching 35 and I’d say they definitely improved my life. I never sacrificed other parts of my life for playing, so I don’t feel like I missed out on anything. 🙂

It has helped and hindered but thankfully, I know when it hinders now and I can stop it. 😉

When I was a kid, I really didn’t know so yeah, I’d say gaming probably got in the way too often. I’m way more balanced in my leisure time now.

Oh, I’d say they’ve helped more than hindered. There have been a few instances where I knew I should’ve gone out instead of staying home to play video games, but those are getting rarer and rarer now. In fact, I basically never sacrifice other activities for games.

I guess you could say I finally grew up. 😉

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