Thursday, April 11, 2013

White Boy Video Game Confidence

     If you're reading this, I'm assuming you know enough about me to know that I tend toward the nerdier side of things. I've been known to play a video game or two, and I am intimately familiar with trading card games, and fantasy role play games a la Dungeons and Dragons. I've thoroughly enjoyed things that I am ashamed to talk about in certain company. That, in fact, is something of a dividing line, I've noticed, between myself and some other people who frequent such activities, most notably, I would say, video game fanatics. I love the fun I can have playing these sorts of games, but I do, however, have, in my opinion, an understanding of the popular perceptions of these types of activities, and, while I won't lie about my involvement, I will certainly exclude them from conversation with some people. Although, I have known many people who are so preoccupied with their massively-multiplayer online games, their card collections and such, that it clearly starts to affect their interpersonal relationships.
     I coined the term "white boy video game confidence" years ago, although I certainly recognize that the overly-emotional dork hormone sees neither race nor gender. Many friends of mine have either gone through a phase, or live their lives vicarious though pixels and paper, and when they try to interact with real people, relationships are difficult to build and quick to splinter. I have had a friendship end with Nintendo 64 controller whipping down a flight of stairs past my head, seen very lonely people lash out at others in defense of fantasy realms of limited interest. Internet forums are filled with the angry rantings bred out of spirit and pride in fictional characters that lead to apparent resentment of nonfiction. I think I would be satisfied in simply chuckling quietly to myself when I watch these interactions, content to watch one person stroke their ego with game knowledge, and the other person laugh at them at why they care so much.
     But I see so much self-perpetuating social isolation as a result. If I could offer a bit of advice from someone who has seen the isolation that comes from focusing entirely on games, including video, card, and paper-based, you will not impress real people by that being the only thing you are outgoing about. I can even understand if you have no interest in making friends with people who don't play the same games as you, but you can hold yourself back in so many facets of your life if you treat video game confidence like real confidence. It can keep you out of the running for a promotion, it can make it almost impossible to find a mate, it can drive wedges in long-established friendships, not to mention the natural procrastination that I KNOW comes from the hobby turned obsession. I've caused fights with my wife, and both my parents, and had to mumble through excuses to teachers and professors due to gaming. If there's anything I would like to share with my friends who love their games, it's important enough to repeat, don't treat video game confidence like real confidence.

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