Gaming is one of the biggest hobbies and even careers in the world. People play games for fun or learning while others record videos about the games. In this article, I will focus more on gaming itself and not so much the side of how to make gaming videos. Gamers come in all different ages, genders, religions, locations and shapes. The backgrounds of people who are gamers make gaming that much more fun.
Backgrounds of gamers can play a part in the type of games that people play. There are all kinds of combinations for different categories relating to the type of games and type of gamers. You really need to look at the game’s website to get all the pertinent information prior to buying.
There are many online platforms where you can buy games from such as Steam or Humble Bundle. Those sites will give you the description, videos by the company, pictures, user and non-user tags, reviews, website, company and their social account(s). Be aware the game’s website might not show you everything you need to know. As a minimum, a gaming company will show a short sales pitch description, small amount of pictures (5 at best), one or two videos by them and their social accounts. The most they will provide is an informative description, their social accounts, user reviews and videos by them.
Let’s dive right into what is perceived as negative about gaming. The majority of the negative things about games come from the real-life people on those games, the type of games and the types of games for the wrong person. A game can be poorly made but it’s not always the case where the game itself is bad. It could be where it was the wrong type of game for the wrong person. This is where the categories come in. Maybe a game has a bit of violence. That doesn’t make it bad; it just makes it the wrong type of game for a seven year old. Or maybe you bought a puzzle game for a person who loves action type games. So the action loving person won’t enjoy it, but that doesn’t make the puzzle game bad!
The types of games are endless from nudity, drugs and alcohol, horror, gambling with money and more. These different types are wrong for youth gamers as well as wrong for people who don’t like seeing such things.
Gaming has good and bad sides just like everything else. The key is how good and bad are those sides. For example, some games have a bad side with players that like to fight a lot. This is common in games. Understand for a lot of gamers this is not a big deal; however, for youth who are new to the game or even gaming in general this can be frustrating. There are times when you want to avoid the bad sides all together. There are times when the good outweighs the bad. If this happens and there are no problems with the game itself; then the bad side is just that one little fly in your room which is no big deal. Caution: If the bad outweighs the good, I would strongly recommend avoiding that game.
Another aspect that people will nag a game developer or creator about is representation. Should I say, a lack of representation which is not limited to race, body type and message in the game. If you are able to customize your character, then of course you will not have a problem with representation. There is a problem in some games where they don’t represent strong and smart females, minority females and males, big, small, tall, and short females and males. Notice how I didn’t put “males” after female for strong? That’s because males in games are ALWAYS represented as strong and smart.
In games that show a male strong and smart, he will mostly likely be white, tall, thin, movie star looking and buff. You will rarely see him be a minority, short, chubby, not buff, nerdy looking, while still being strong and smart. You see this even LESS for females. Some females in games are also white, tall, thin and strong while showing skin like no tomorrow. You only see THESE females in MMORPG games (Massively Multiplayer online Role Playing Game) though. RPG games are meant for fantasy worlds where you mostly fight people and monsters. Of course the females’ stats will be strong but they won’t look strong.
In most games, when they add a character for you to play they always add a white male first, then a white female, then a black male, and then a black female. They don’t even really add people who are mixes of races or in between. When it comes to the black characters they only add one shade of “black” or “African American” and not every black person on earth is that shade.
In games, the majority of the characters are always thin and tall. You don’t really see characters that are short and thin, tall and chubby, short and chubby, etc. There are a lot of people who aren’t thin and who aren’t tall.
Then lastly, there is the mental message that goes with the gender, race, and body type. What do I mean by the mental message? Some games send an indirect message about that character being strong and smart or something else. While for other games it can be a mental message either on purpose or not. For example, in the game you play and you see a minority female who is short, chubby, nerdy looking and her traits are to be a goof ball, naive, and dumb. It could send a mental message to you that people that look like her are just like her. They’re not smart, they aren’t thin, and are not tall. They did poorly in school, etc. etc. So you start thinking those things based on not only seeing this in that game over and over again, but when it happens in other games too.
The worst part is NONE of these things are true. Yes, some people aren’t thin, tall, and maybe not that bright; but not EVERYONE is like this! You do have short chubby minorities who are smart as all get out! You have all kinds of combinations of people who ARE smart! Of course, all these things about gender, race, body type, and messages aren’t just in gaming; they’re in movies, TV shows, ads, etc. What’s interesting is that some of the creators who make the games, movies, TV shows, ads, etc., are minorities themselves and they make up the population of the earth. (Search “world population by race 2016” and click the first three links if you don’t believe me.)
Quick disclaimer: I AM NOT BASHING ANYONE! Yes, I was shouting that. This section of the article is telling you what I know, read, hear and experience in gaming.
If you don’t believe me go look at today’s TV shows, movies, ads, and games. A show to look at for good representation is Milo Murphy’s Law. Two games to look at as a reference for good representation are OverWatch and Atlas Reactor. Now in these fields it has gotten better for representation specifically gender, race and just now starting body type (specifically in this order). Some games even add robots and creatures as playable characters to avoid having problems with representation. This removes the problem of users wanting a character to represent their actual or preferred gender, race, or body type because now there is a character most users can agree on. After all, you can’t please everyone.
Alright, now that I ranted and got the bad stuff out of the way; let’s get into the good parts of gaming! You have gamers as young as three years old and as old as 90+! No matter your age, race, gender, religion, culture, or location gaming can be good for anyone. Gaming can not only be fun, but beneficial and educational.
A benefit with gaming is it can help youth have more confidence in themselves and be more social. If they play an online multiplayer game and talk to other players around the world, this can help then get used to talking to other people besides family and they gain confidence in what they’re saying. They can go from an introvert to a social fanatic! It can happen fast or slowly. Even if it’s not a game but a place for gamers, artists, fashion designers, car enthusiast, etc. to chat; it will still help them be more social. Keep in mind though, typing to someone and then voice chatting to someone are two different experiences. Youth can be very social when typing but very shy when voice chatting.
This is how I am. Before I was shy when talking to people I didn’t know whether it was online or offline, now I’ve become more comfortable with it because I know how to handle myself and have confidence in myself. But when it comes to voice chatting online, I’m the quiet person on the chat. Counterproductive right! You might even forget I was in a call with you! Before when the people at the bank said “Hi” I wouldn’t say anything, now I actually respond and say “Hi. How are you?” After that I don’t really expect to talk with them so I’ll be quiet again lol. See what I mean? After socializing, in general, over time you get better at it and become less nervous and more confident in yourself.