Love gaming? Then read on with a smug grin because you totally get why it’s awesome. Don’t love gaming? Give us a chance. In about 3 minutes you’ll be adding a PS4 to your Christmas list.
This industry’s moved on guys. It’s not all gun/football/pseudo-Sonic games out there anymore – and that’s not all that’s changed. It isn’t *all about the boys* either! Women are increasingly represented – not just on screen as tight-assed Tomb Raiders, but as players, designers, makers and fully-fleshed characters with brains as well as boobs and serious skills.
Still not convinced? Then here are a few reasons why you should give gaming a go.
Gaming needs you
As I’ve said, things are changing – but slowly. Too slowly. There’s still a hella lotta geeky white guys in the industry, giving female characters boring pin-up roles – or no roles at all. The new Uncharted: Lost Legacy is a very recent example of an adventure game in which the lead role is a lady – two ladies, to be precise. They’re strong, swaggering, and not all squeaky-clean: in fact, they’re covered in mud most of the time, and weren’t on the good side in previous games in the series. If you want more women like these representing your gender in gaming, start playing – and if you enjoy it, why not consider a career in it? The more women are represented in gaming, the more woke it will be – both on and off screen.
It can be hard to see the world from another’s perspective, especially when you’re upset/irritated/utterly convinced of your own righteousness. Gaming is the easiest and most enjoyable way of seeing life through a different lens. This in turn can help you look at things a bit differently IRL, as it were – an invaluable life skill. Next time you get told to try ‘walking around in someone else’s shoes for a while’, point to your P4 console and say (smugly) ‘I just did.’
When the going gets tough, the tough get gaming – because what greater escape is there than plugging yourself literally into another world: one that could not be further removed than the one of homework, school shoes, floppy fish fingers and Nadia’s bitchy comment about your fringe.
Believe it or not, there are actually games which deal with being a teenager, and why it’s savage. Gone Home, Life Is Strange, What Remains Of Edith Finch are all written from a teenage perspective – and while comparisons between your own life and the life of Edith, an American whose family is stricken with a curse only she can uncover might be, well, tenuous, it will make a change from hating on your brother for knocking your entire makeup bag into the bath.
Is the spice of life, and the spirit of gaming. Indeed I would go so far as to argue that these days, saying you ‘don’t like gaming’ is the equivalent of saying you ‘don’t like television.’ You might not have liked what you’ve seen so far, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in ARK: Survival Evolved for PS4.
So many games now are part of or connected to social networks, playing them is the 21st century equivalent of hanging out in the local playground. You can play with people, swap tips and points, and chat all in the safe space of the game world, with people from the other side of the world or from school.
Trump, terrorism, North Korea, smaller toblerones – it’s a mad, mad world out there and you’ve no control of it whatsoever. Playing games is a great way of reducing everything to a small screen, and a console over which you have complete mastery.
…is the mother of success, and there is no safer space to practice failing than in the cosy space of gaming, where even if your lives are numbered they are, ultimately, infinite; and where the only consequences are your cousins shouting and wresting the console off you.
I mean, I’m resorting to sweeping gender stereotypes here, but it’s 2017, not 2070 and as such the number of gaming boys still outnumbers the number of girls (see my first point) – leaving any girl who can chat patrolling Shadows verus Orobases in Persona 5 with significant sexual advantage…
Like a film, gaming is both relaxing and entertaining. UNLIKE a film, it is interactive and requires not just hand-eye coordination, but logic, strategic thinking, spatial awareness, emotional intelligence and the ability to analyse the situation and respond accordingly. You don’t need to have all these skills to game, but gaming will grow and sharpen them the more you practice. So next time your parent challenges your gaming habits, you can point to this list and explain that you are simply expanding your cognitive development and enhancing your soft skills. WINNER.
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Image: Hailey Hamilton