As a gamer, I live in a bubble.
So many events are happening every day in the world. Natural disasters, technological advances, people struggling to find food, water or shelter… Yet I rarely ever think about these things. Because they don’t affect me personally.
Rather, I spent the entirety of yesterday watching the Smite Summer Finals, as different eSports players from around the U.S. and Europe competed in an all-weekend-long LAN event. The day before that, I was researching parts for the gaming computer I would like to build. And as always, every day I spend at least a few hours playing one video game or another.
Although I do understand that much of my intense focus is due to my current unemployment status, I also recognize the same intensity in many of the gamers I have met in this community. Events like E3 or Twitch Con evoke such strong responses that Twitter is overloaded with people posting pictures, linking videos and talking about their favorite new releases or the latest developments in technology.
Heaven forbid that we should have to give up our favorite Twitch streamer for an hour, or be forced to wait on playing Rocket League with our friends, because of something from the real world taking up space in our brains!
Yet gaming is a passion, a real thing that has been around for a while but only recognized recently. Companies make millions of dollars off of selling more advanced consoles every year, as well as releasing more interesting and immersive games to draw their consumers in. Professions like “YouTuber” and “Livestreamer” became more viable with the rise of gamers like you or I wanting to watch let’s plays or walkthroughs of games we cannot get our own hands on yet.
The words that we use and the amount of time that we spent online are not always understandable to our friends and family. And people may never understand the reasoning behind why I would rather spend a Friday evening playing through a particularly difficult quest on Skyrim than go to a noisy, crowded bar.
Yet while they may not understand the culture we have built up, that does not mean we should shut out the rest of the world in favor of our own. We are a part of the real world too, with all its dangers, joys and necessities. Gaming is a passion for many of us, and even a job for some of the truly lucky. Yet even a passion must be set aside in some instances.
We cannot live as ignorant people when we have so much knowledge at our very fingertips. There are places in the world where people hunger and thirst on a daily basis, yet still want to go to school so they can learn. Just even thinking about trying to explain something like Twitch or E3 to those people makes me feel a little sick.
Don’t get me wrong – I am certainly not ashamed to call myself a part of the gaming community. I will not stop turning on my Xbox after posting this, nor will I stop planning for my dream gaming computer. I will still tune in to watch the end of the Smite Summer Finals, and I will never give up my passion for gaming.
What I am suggesting is that maybe we need to look beyond ourselves for even a small moment every day. We are all part of a bigger world, and ignoring it in favor of a virtual one will not be beneficial for gamers, even if it is sometimes more desirable. We should keep up our community, but also understand that we need to connect with the world and people around us on a real level. We should reach outside our bubble of improving our KDA in our favorite MMO every once in a while, because that is not where we really reside.
At least not until the Oculus Rift gets an update.