Heads up! If you’re a high school or college student who is writing about this topic or teacher/professor looking up a student who may have written about a similar topic, if you finish this article then I thank you. In 2023 where ChatGPT and quick solutions are the norm, thank you for your time. If you’re just a random reader who chanced upon this article then thank you as well.
Everything here is written from the heart. Typed-in on my RGB keyboard with 3 sets of custom keycaps mishmashed together while my gaming laptop and the just-released ROG Ally handheld gaming PC is beside me. Gaming PC on the right side (water-cooled by the way). Gaming consoles to the left from the Playstation 5 (with the bright pink custom cover), an Xbox Series X and one of my multiple Nintendo Switches. No, I don’t have games on my phone right now. That life nearly bankrupted me… sort of.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I am one of the various gamer archetypes we have in 2023. And I am the owner and chief editor of Back2Gaming and I will tell you why video games are not a waste of time.
TL;DR: Video Games are not a Waste of Time!!!
That section title was a statement of facts and not segment title that will head into an introduction and I repeat: video games are not a waste of time. That statement alone, said to another person who is the least bit familiar in the gaming space, would have meaning. While gaming has reached a point where we are looking at a potential $300 billion industry by year end (up from an initial projection of $165 billion), there is still a large part of the population that dismisses gaming as just a leisurely past time (or a complete waste of time in some circles).
I’m not here to hate on people for their views and we’re all past the point where gamers are being thrown in the toilet in schools for extolling the virtues of The Legend of Zelda. But the point remains, communication is a two-way street and just because us gamers acknowledge the reality of the values of gaming, there are still those that choose to accept that reality.
When you searched for this topic you were faced by numerous positive outcomes for gamers, right? You will find articles dating back to the early 2000s and the 2010s stating the positive virtues of gaming for those era.
In 2023 not much has changed, but the perception, the potential livelihood and the industry a whole has developed. Looking at it from a professional standpoint, you can be a game developer, a video game art director, a narrative director, an esports professional, a video game journalist, a content creator specializing in one or many video games or an entire platform, the list goes on and on. But all of this is a destination of sorts. You might be 8, 12, 15, 16, whatever years old and you were just scolded by your parents about your gaming habits. Or you’re just looking for an essay about the topic.
Fact remains: playing video games is not a waste of time, but how you show it is more important because ultimately, that’s what people around you see.
You, the Gamer
There’s a big differnce between me telling the positive effects of gaming versus me defending gaming with its positive effects. I’ve done this in a public setting, telling students how gaming is a career choice. I’ve also done it in a private settings with parents, concerned about their kids’ video game habits. And this is what most people who have in a situation where they were pigeon-holed and wanting some validation. Some of us choose to say that “gamers can be esports professionals earning millions” or “gamers become programmers and make games and then make millions.” They defend themselves by grouping themselves with other.
But you’re not part of those group. At least not yet. The most important bit here is if someone tells to “stop wasting your time playing games” then you have to realize they want your time. As I’ve mentioned earlier, this is a 2-way street and understanding where they’re coming from is key in knowing what kind of gamer you are and what kind of gamer you convey.
If you’re great at school, great at sports, spends time with your friends and family but still manage to reach global top 100 rank in an FPS leaderboard or have completed Platinum run in a Playstation game and still have the time to have online friends as well, then people are not going to say much against your lifestyle. But even if you are the most helpful guy on reddit and has and you’re also top 100 global in certain games, none of that is going to matter if you’re an asshole to people around you. Oh, you’re only 8? You can’t be an asshole? Yes you can. You probably just stomped away from mom when she took your Nintendo Switch and was told to go to your room.
Its all about managing relations and time management and while this is hard for kids to really understand, teens should know this better as you try to find that social circle that fits your lifestyle. Ultimately you, the gamer, need to understand its about working on your image. Gaming is just a casualty in your choices. You can swap-out another hobby and you’d still be the same person and the results would be the same.
Make the World Care
I have this one friend named Jayson whose also in the computer industry. My best friend Randollf is also an avid gamer. We’re all the same age and hang out together but Jayson’s treatment of Randolf is different as how he treats me especially when talk games. While Jayson likes games as well, at our age he’s not really into it anymore. So when we meet, despite me being the gaming website owner, his first reaction to Randolf is to make fun of his liking of Megaman. And he does that literally as a derogatory gesture.
Us, despite bring friends, usually treat others in certain levels. I am very outgoing and I do believe I command attention. But my friend Randolf isn’t as outward as I am with my gaming habits back in high school. He wasn’t an outcast or anything, just quiet with most people. And this I feel is also a common stereotype for most gamers. With the advent of the content creator era, a lot of us are now being heard. Back2Gaming, this website, started in 2008 just basically being a literal web journal about the games we played on a day. In a time where Myspace and Multiply was dying and Friendster didn’t really have space for expressing yourself, forums and messenger apps were the internet hang outs back in the days. But in the early 2000s, we were just some high school kids huddled around the campus talking about who can smash more buttons during a Final Fantasy VIII summon sequence.
Games were a bonding topic for us. Even my high school crush was asking about who was in my bedroom poster and what game was it and was it good. I had a Yuna and Rinoa poster by the way, but I love Tifa but they didn’t stock her posters back then since Advent Children wouldn’t release until 5 years later.
But going back, some of aren’t blessed with such a social circle. I do feel that in 2023 at least, everyone would have at least played Candy Crush and has a semblance of the feel of being hooked on a game. Mobile phones have really made them more accessible and have really eased the gamer stereotype. All we have left is the “hardcore” gamer stereotype. While some of hardcore gamers can get really passionate about their games, some gamers just don’t really share with the world they play games.
Remember when Ronda Rousey first said in an interview that she was a mod for a Pokemon forums? She’s really making money with Pokemon content today but if she hadn’t said that, would it have mattered if she made a passing statement that she was a gamer? Of course not. She made the world care because she was passionate about it. It was extra icing to her already brilliantly-iced cake. So how do you make the world care about yours? You start off with making those around you care about what you like as well.
Now I know both my points above have been leaning into being social and being outwards with your hobby but you may be there saying “i’m quiet and in don’t care about the world” or “my friends just don’t like gaming”. And to be honest, I really don’t have an answer for you.
Choose Your Destiny
To be completely fair and honest, everything I’ve said so far is from my experience. This is no TED talk about some scientific findings about how games unlock 300% of our brain. Nope. This is me, sharing how I grew up with gaming. Want me to go back further? I have pictures of me with my 1 yr. butt hanging out while my dad plays on the NES and he was varied as we have photos of Contra, Super Mario Bros. 3 and Battle City for the NES while I grew up watching. And growing up, they were very supportive. Even when me, my younger brother and younger sister with punch each others heads off on whose turn it is on the Playstation, our parents just ended up buying another. We weren’t rich or anything as well. Life was simple back in the 90s and both my parents were working.
Games was just a way to keep us at home. But of course I’d end up learning about fighting games and arcades so I end up visiting arcades in malls. This was at a time when my parents would lock up the Playstation because we were killing each other back when we only had one unit. Then my friends started playing basketball which had us waking up at 6am and playing until 11am on weekends. It was a healthy elementary and high school life growing up.
But along this time I really didn’t have any aspirations related to gaming. I wanted to be a chemist. Then I got into college and I wanted to be a defense lawyer so I ended up doing 2 years of Computer Science so I could do coding work to pay off law school. Sad to say I didn’t proceed to studying law.
But while all of those was happening, I was finishing games like Bioshock, The Witcher 2, and a whole lot more. They were my books and movies of the time.
I treated games as a past time. An experience you can let go and pick-up again. I didn’t know my business today would revolve around video games and gaming hardware. I’ve played competitive esports on-stage and have made some fantastic plays in modern AAA games.
My dream was to be a chemist. Now I’m writing this as the proprietor of a marketing services business called Back2Gaming. I never left gaming. And it never left me. And it won’t leave you as well. The beauty of games is that you can drop it off and pick it up anytime. You’re not on the clock for anything, especially if this isn’t your career.
In the words of Mortal Kombat, you have to choose your destiny and pick your battles. You can’t convince everyone that your hobby is the best but you’re not obligated to do so. What you are to them is far more important.
The phrase “video games is not a waste of time” is brought up in many scenarios and sometimes is so easy to say some of the examples below:
- The video games industry is a large industry worth more than Hollywood
- The video games industry a technically diverse landscape that has a lot of job opportunities
- There are content creators our there earning thru video games
- Esports professionals earn millions playing games
… and so much more but there is always a but here. Its how applicable these things are to you.
I always go to my “but you’re only 8 yrs old” example as a preamble to these realities. Despite how real they are, they are not applicable to you until they are and you’re probably a young adult by that time dealing with social pressures for your habit.
The essays about video games is a vast topic but video games worthiness of your time is one that should truly come from your heart. It doesn’t matter if you’ve played every japanese RPGs in existence or you’re one of the bros that spent far too much time only with Call of Duty or NBA 2K. You’re only wasting your time if you’re not progressing thru the game. But at its core, if you’re not having fun, then and only then, is video games an actual waste of time.