Just a Game

Everyone who plays a video game has heard the expression “it’s just a game.” Well, as an avid gamer, I find that phrase to be insulting and far from the truth. This mentality keeps people from achieving anything in life, including in video games. This expression is usually not alone, either. When trying to explain that you take this game seriously, there is always the person who says “gaming is a waste of time!” or “why don’t you do something more constructive with your time?” Combined, a barrier is created between video games and life, and that detracts from what you can learn from a game.

Video games are one of the only things that have the branding of “it’s just a game.” For some reason it is ok to be mad about a football game, screaming at the television when your team doesn’t do well. Knowing the statistics on all the teams in your division and watching a day of sports games is acceptable. Why don’t people at the bar just tell each other “It’s just a game” when their team just lost?

Pictured: Just a soccer game.

People get extremely serious about Chess and Poker, but those aren’t just games. While gambling and money aspects of some games elevate them to a more serious level, there are always casual players. There are even established rules and leagues for beer pong, which is a game designed to be fun while you drink. Yet despite this social realization, video games are still left in the dark.

This rift in gaming and social acceptance leads to a lot of awkward gamers who really have a lot to say, but not about the Eagle’s game last night. I am not a huge sports fan, however recently I have been listening to sports radio just to keep up with office politics. As anyone who has seen my work and guides, it is abundantly clear that I have plenty to say about League of Legends. This gap is being bridged by larger and larger gaming communities and ideas such as Barcraft, where there is a lot more public exposure. This, again, is awkward for non-gamers at the bar, but at least human interaction is taking place within the community. The irony is, of course, that playing video games typically teaches you much more about life and lessons than watching sports.

Helping bridge the gap between games and society.

I have personally experienced many examples of how video games apply to life, but the most recent and relevant to League of Legends is a lecture in one of my senior college courses. A gentleman explained to us his credentials in team development and how he had lectured at Harvard and other prestigious schools. He then proceeded to give a lecture on League of Legends. Well, it wasn’t really on the game, but he talked for 50 minutes about teamwork, synergy and leadership. He even used the term “carry” when explaining someone doing the work in a team. What he spoke about was exactly my experience in organizing and leading a team of my friends through a game.

The point to all of these explanations and examples is that anything you put your time into shouldn’t be treated as just a game. Whether your hobby is League of Legends, football, mountain biking or cooking, taking it seriously teaches lessons and values. If you are devoting your free time to something, make it worth your while. Video games are not “just a game” if you choose to be passionate about your performance. This column will be devoted to how you can take lessons you learn in video games and in life and apply them to each other. Take a step back from your games and see what you have learned in your games and until next time…



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