The Anti-Gamer Bias

This article, brought to me by a Magic: the Gathering player in my Twitter feed, got me thinking about the bias against gamers in society. The article was about a woman who went on a date, only to be shocked that the guy was a world champion of Magic! (The one and only Jon Finkel)

According to her, the fact that Jon was still playing and had met some of his best friends through the game were strikes against him. She was repulsed by the fact that he was dedicated enough to become one of the best at this game.

The bias just shows.

Why should gamers be stigmatized by their society, just because they have a particular hobby? Of course, I can’t force that woman to like gamers, but her attitude just doesn’t seem fair. I’m sure she would behave differently if the guy in question was, for example, a sportsman or an artist.

Gamers are looked down upon, apparently because games seem to be a trivial activity. But if you really think about it, every other pursuit can be made to sound trivial.

For example (warning: sarcasm ahead):

Basketball: So you’re practicing putting balls through hoops, and then you pick the balls up and start over?

Golf: Now you’re just knocking balls down some holes.

Singing: You speak the same words over and over to yourself, accompanied by a tune?

Stock exchange: Watching numbers go up and down the whole day seems really fun.

Writing: You type some words, then type some more words, then type some more words, …

So who is to judge whether one hobby is more “acceptable” than another?

The point is that we have hobbies because we find enjoyment in them. That’s all. Hobbies are how we express our physical, mental and intellectual abilities. As long as our hobbies do not infringe on other people’s rights, all hobbies are acceptable.

And anyone who says otherwise is just a biased snob.

I’ll end this article with a personal anecdote. Last year, a close friend came to visit me in Japan. Near the end of his visit, he wanted to buy Gundam plastic figurines, which he loved as a boy. But he was not sure whether he should buy some or not.

“I want these, but it would seem childish for an adult to play with them, wouldn’t it?”

“Who cares? Are you going to let other people judge your preferences?”

The guy went home with 4 boxes of plastic figures.