Geek Critique – Reading and Games   Leave a comment

I’ve known one of my oldest and dearest friends since I was 8-years-old. It’s extremely rare for us to stay so close to people throughout our lives, but for 15 years, nary a week has gone by when we haven’t hung out, played video games and cracked jokes. Being five years younger than me, he’s the closest thing I have to a younger brother, and he’s one of the most awesome people I know.

He doesn’t read anything I write. He doesn’t read the Geek Critique. He’s not even in the Facebook group.
The reason isn’t because he’s uninterested in the things I write about. He’s been a life-long gamer for even more of his life than me. He’s not so interested in sci-fi or other traditionally nerdy things, but (in case you haven’t noticed) I do mostly write about video games.

No, there’s a much simpler explanation to why he doesn’t read the things I write: I write them. Ergo, he would have to read them. And he doesn’t want to.
This has always been a difficult thing for me to understand.

I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t reading. My mom read to me from the time I started talking, whether it was books, letters or even the backs of cereal boxes over breakfast. I vividly remember sitting on my Dad’s lap and reading the list of supplies I’d need for kindergarten.

And yet, I suppose, I can find a way to understand.

Let’s draw a comparison.

Just about everyone has a favorite movie or a favorite song. Film and music are extremely accessible, easy and cheap forms of entertainment. Everybody does it.

Everybody is, at least, tangentially aware of what’s going on in these industries.

Not everyone has a favorite video game. Games are more expensive to enjoy, both in how much they cost and how much dedication they take.

They’re a much denser option, and not everyone has the time, patience or desire that it takes to reap the rewards of a game.

Reading is the same way, now.

Our culture currently ties the very notion of reading to our public school system, and as a result, reading is related to working and studying rather than having fun or relaxing.

It’s not a leisure activity for most people, and I’ve met people who boast (proudly!) about how they haven’t read a book since they got out of high school. Reading has more correlations to video games.

They take a lot more time to digest and they require a skill that not everyone wants to put in the effort to learn.

They’re both niche hobbies, far less mainstream than an enthusiast of either would prefer.

However, in my (not-so) humble opinion, video gaming and reading both have the potential to be a much more engaging experience than a movie.

You have to put more into it, but you can get a lot more out of it. They’re deeper, they engage your senses in a totally different way, and (at least for me) they tend to be much more memorable.

Reading certainly isn’t going anywhere.

It’s still the most efficient and direct form of communication we have, and I don’t think we’ll ever stop writing.

And of course, no matter how many people out there play Facebook games, we’ll always have the more enthusiast-oriented video games that fuel the passion of hardcore gamers.

We can accept what our hobbies are, and we can take pride in ourselves for putting the time it takes to reap the rewards of them.

As for my friend? Well, I hope you read this one. After all, I based my entire point around you. (Narcissist! Narcissist! Narcissist!)


Posted February 23, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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