Escapism, we all seek it, a moment wherein we can forget albeit momentarily, the worries and pressures of every day life. Yet ironically enough there are some methods of escapism more socially acceptable than others. If I stayed up all night to watch a MMA event or even the Olympic games, it would be socially acceptable. However if I stated that I had stayed up all night playing World of Warcraft, it would not be seen as acceptable. Hell it becomes even less acceptable, if I then stated I had stayed up to role play on World of Warcraft all night.
Each of these three things, are completely and utterly harmless, yet each are viewed with a different level of acceptance. If I told my work colleagues that I had spent £40 on a ticket to watch a premier league football team play, they wouldn’t give it a moment’s thought. However if I mentioned I had spent £40 on boosting a character on World of Warcraft to 100, I would be treated as a blithering idiot.
What I wish to know is, why is there such a social stigma to video games as a form of escapism? Why is it alright for me to spend hundreds of pounds a year on a season ticket, or even thousands of pounds gambling in Las Vegas, yet for me to spend less than a hundred pounds a year on a video game, or on a selection of video games, not socially acceptable?
In the past, gaming was seen as niche, as something that only children did, and generally as a waste of time. Gaming however has changed throughout the years, and there is a larger number of players now than ever before, both children and adults. Yet it is still treated with a certain stigma. Only certain games are socially acceptable, others are not. Certain genres are acceptable, others are not. Yet, rather ironically, a film, made on a huge budget by a world known studio, is set to be released next year. A film, that is taken from the story of a video game, and which has only been able to come to light, because of the popularity of a video game.
When the Warcraft movie came out, the critics couldn’t wait to completely spit on the entire movie, yet other films that were similar to it, received more praise. Personally I enjoyed the movie, but that’s because I went to see it with no preconception of what it would be like. Sure I am a fan of Warcraft, but then again, I’ve been a fan of characters in other movies and then have completely regretted watching the movie.
It is honestly immensely frustrating to be judged by my peers purely because my form of escapism differs to theirs. The funny thing is, I share many of their interests, I like football, MMA, boxing, rugby, professional wrestling, and gaming. The last two are treated with derision, I’m often asked how I could watch that tripe, that if I know if it’s “fake”. To which point I ask them if they realise that every movie and tv show they watch is fake. At this point I get a mocking answer, and therein is where I make my point. I know that it is choreographed (professional wrestling) and that the shows are scripted, that does not mean I cannot enjoy the stories they tell, the same logic applies to movies. Apparently to non-wrestling fans, this logic does not apply.
We all have different forms of escapism, as long as they are not causing any harm to anyone, or are not illegal, then they should be accepted for what they are, a different form of entertainment and not derided. Besides, any one deriding gaming has to remember, there are currently more adults than children playing pokemon go, a video game, for mobile phones and tablets…
Until next time,