Everyone has passions, and everyone has friends and family who don’t understand that passion. Obvious example: I love video games, and I’m passionate enough to want to work for a living in the field of video games. Not everyone I know understands why. And that’s okay – some of you will regard this as a cardinal sin, but I have never liked comic books. And I have friends who regard comic books as the be-all and end-all of entertainment, truth, and justice.
But every now and then, someone will come along who will try to understand your passion, and it’s not always easy to explain. So I decided to write up this list of reasons why video games are important – important to me, important to all gamers, and even the world. I’m not saying these reasons are unique to games – in fact, many of these could easily be shared with books, movies, comics, etc. So when someone does want to understand, you can point to this list and say, “All of these reasons and more. But this is a good place to start.”
1. Games are art – and art is important. There are some who will argue that video games aren’t art, but you’ll always find that what they do consider art is superficially different from games. I figure, if it’s made from the imagination, it’s art, and video games certainly qualify.
2. Games spark my curiosity in a way that few other things do.
3. Games allow me to explore fantastic, imaginative worlds.
4. Games allow me to explore OUR world without leaving my house. Frequently, nowadays, games are based on real locations, past and present, and recreated in exacting detail.
5. Games teach me about exotic nations and cultures.
6. More and more, games teach me about the history of the world.
7. Games introduce me to incredible alien creatures and races that fascinate me. The Quarians from Mass Effect come to mind.
8. Games are filled with interesting characters to meet and interact with.
9. Games provide an escape when I need one. I try not to rely on them for this, but when I need a short vacation from my problems, video games are an ideal destination.
10. Video games invoke my creativity. I enjoy writing about games and making videos about them almost every day.
11. Video games keep me mentally active. I REALLY enjoy figuring out a tough puzzle, or outsmarting enemies instead of outshooting/outfighting them.
12. Games are something I can share with friends and family. I enjoy Call of Duty with my friends, SSX or Rock Band with my brother, and Resident Evil or Legend of Zelda with my father. I haven’t found a game to share with my mother yet, but I’m positive there’s one out there!
13. Games allow me to have experiences I can’t have in real life without massive expenditures of time and/or money.
14. Games allow me to live out long-held fantasies. Like being a rock star, or a hotshot space fighter pilot.
15. Video games have given me a wealth of happy memories that I enjoy reliving from time to time.
16. A video game, specifically Mega Man 2, brought me and my oldest friend together.
17. Video games have taught me a wealth of things about the hardest subject to learn about – myself.
18. Video games bring gamers together. Almost everywhere you turn, gamers are discussing their favorite games, online, in person, dissecting and sharing their favorite moments with wonderful enthusiasm.
19. Games create relationships that can last well beyond the life of the game itself. I know of several couples who wouldn’t be together if it weren’t for games.
20. Games can bring large groups of people together and unite them in a common goal.
21. Games can rally gamers to get behind important causes.
22. Games can bring gamers together to share outpourings of love, whether that’s by witnessing the joining of two fellow gamers’ hearts or to mourn a fallen friend.
23. Games inspire gamers to create incredible works of art.
24. Games also provide ample inspiration for gamers to show off their musical talents.
25. Or, sometimes, games even inspire gamers to make more games.
26. Games have been promoting healthy behavior like exercise for a while now. Some gamers have lost extreme amounts of weight thanks to video games.
27. Video games have been found useful in physical therapy. Activity-promoting “exergames” have been used to increase resilience and empowerment in patients.
28. Gaming concepts like “leveling up” are being used to treat depression and help people recover from injuries and trauma.
29. Games are being used to improve medical education.
30. Games improve brain functions. Gamer brains are faster and more efficient than non-gamer brains.
31. Video games can improve social development for autistic children.
32. Games have long been proven to improve hand-eye coordination, a skill that comes in handy in many important professions.
33. Video games have been shown to help rehabilitate stroke victims.
34. Video games can actually improve your eyesight.
35. Games can reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
36. Some video games can even make you a nicer person.
37. World of Warcraft has been studied by public health experts to learn how diseases spread, as a glitch once created a virtual pandemic.
38. Video games can teach players basic skills we can use in real life, like timing, organization, and resource management.
39. Importantly, video games can teach players how to manage money.
40. Schools are using principles of video games and game design to teach children critical thinking skills.
41. Games have enabled players to actually save lives.
42. Video games make a SHITLOAD of money. They’ve made more money than movies for a while now.
43. Gamers can make money playing video games. In fact, it’s entirely possible to make a living playing video games.
44. The entry barrier for making games is getting smaller all the time, allowing anyone with a great idea, talent, and free time, to publish and sell a game, which, in turn, could inspire others to imagine and create more games or other art.
45. Millions of games are totally and completely free. Anyone could enjoy thousands of hours of entertainment without spending a dime.
46. Governments are using video games to help with city management, traffic flow, supercomputing and more.
47. Video games can help players learn business skills like multitasking, reading the market, and situational awareness.
48. Games can improve your decision-making skills.
49. The U.S. Military has been using video games to help train and recruit our soldiers for years now.
50. Games are changing the world for the better.