Why grown men take video games so seriously....
These days age is a relative thing...
60 is the new 50....or 30 with the right cosmetic surgeon
40 the new 30...
Of course at the core of all of it is the simple truth that most men are in fact .... 12 years old
Nothing really changes for human males after that age.
Oh sure we get taller and girls aren't icky any more but we're still 12.
At 12 most boys want a Ferrari, a Corvette or a Monster truck and at some point their mommy
At 30 we still want.. a Ferrari, a Corvette or Monster truck and "come to momma..."
The only difference is the context.
So how is that a grown man can spend hours happily staring at his TV with a game controller in his hand?
When we were kids, play was more important than anything else and the more competitive it was the better.
It's no different when we get older but the games get more serious and the toys more expensive.
Remember at his core a man is really 12 years old with the requisite attention span to match.
The games we choose to compete in as adults don't' address the instant gratification that our inner 12 year old demands.
...and we need to address them.
Men of means can satiate their desires with a purchase. Those less fortunate have to turn to other avenues. Either way, the child must be placated.
Which leads us to gaming.
As technology has matured so have the games.
We're not limited to clunky controllers and pixilated opponents to challenge us anymore.
We can be the hero, drive the fastest cars and blow away the other team with one well placed shot.
All without consequence, other than the scoreboards.
But it's just a game, a waste of time when more important things could be done.
Perhaps but when you examine the goals of most people in the developed world you find common themes.
Money, power, recognition, control of one's own destiny.
All of these are not ends, however, they're means.
The ultimate goal is to have the freedom to play whatever game we choose anytime, anywhere, without consequence.
The sad fact is that most of us will never reach the ranks of truly self-sufficient and play the way we want to.
We'll never get to command an army against the evil hordes or test the limits of a Bugatti Veyron on some deserted stretch of highway.
Still, the child clamors for attention.
This is why gaming has become so popular amongst those who have long since left their childhood behind.
Among my generation we know the corporate ladder is a fallacy and promises easily broken thus denying the child. We reject that which denies our inner 12 year old an embrace the things that make us whole.
Career, only important if you can master the game and not be its pawn, we need to play not be played.
Family and friends, in the context of the inner 12 year old these are your BFF's, your lifetime playmates
Philanthropy, really we'd just like more people to play with and we don't like to see our friends sad.
In the end it all comes down to meeting a deep rooted need to be that carefree 12 year old if just for a few moments. It's a need to free ourselves from the entanglements of our own survival and relish in the realm on the inconsequential.
If you can't have the Ferrari, at least you can blast your friends in Battlefield 3...