People who don’t play games are weird!

In his article, Identity and Information Technology, Steve Matthews discusses the way in which social networks, in real or virtual space, work, stating “In choosing to present myself outside the mainstream…I do in the first instance exclude the possibility of relationships with certain kinds of people.  There are many contexts where such exclusion may take place,” (Matthews, 2008).  One such context is the rejection of video games.  Whether single player (L.A. Noire), local multiplayer (Mario Kart), online multiplayer (Call of Duty Team Deathmatch), or MMORPG (Star Wars Old Republic), video games are a social activity.  They permeate our society via the news as well as pop culture, and they foster relationships which may not have been possible without their existence.

So why do so many individuals, (for the purposes of this blog post) primarily females, reject video games so vehemently? Many of the women studied in the article Women and games: Technologies of the gendered self rejected gaming because they believed that playing video games for pleasure was a waste of time that could be spent being what they called ‘social’, (e.g. going out with friends, spending time with family) or ‘productive’ (e.g. cooking, cleaning, studying).  What these women fail to realize that playing games is inherently social because of the ubiquity of video game technology in our society, and that video games are just as valuable as any other recreational activity.  However, Royse, et.al. report that “Non-gamers also speculated that players came addicted to computer games.  These women viewed gaming as an asocial and solitary activity and believed most gamers to be interpersonally inept.” (Royse, et.al., 2007).  They also attempted to differentiate themselves from other women who play games, by aligning themselves more heavily with traditional social expectations of females, which to them, means to “include interpersonal activities which are ‘interaction based’…Non-gamers viewed gaming as a ‘solitary’ activity which attracts individuals who lack interpersonal skills,” (Royse, et.al., 2007). Royse, et.al. postulate that “by comparison, then, non-gamers imply their own interpersonal competence.  Ironically, despite non-gamers’ interpersonal competence, their self-definitions construct a gendered-split-sphere arrangement that is quite long-established,” (Royse, et.al., 2007). Strangely enough, these women do not feel that they are placing themselves in traditional female roles, and insist that they challenge these roles and that they, too feel the effects of sexism.  It is surprising that they placed a focus on cooking, cleaning, shopping, and family as a priority over gaming, and viewed games as masculine, as well as a socially undesirable activity, when many women play games, and many individuals play games socially.  These women, according to the study, had little understanding of gaming technology, and were unable to see how games or gameplay had any bearing on or value to the real world, which leads me to believe that they have yet to stop and think about it.

There has not been much research done on rejection of gaming in men, because video games are much more pervasive in the male community, but I will say that the Virginia Tech gunman a few years back rejected video games, and we all know how horribly that turned out…people who don’t play games are weird.

Matthews, S. (2008). Identity and information technology. Information technology and moral philosophy, 142-160.

Royse, P., et.al. (2007). Women and games: Technologies of the gendered self. New Media & Society, 9, 555-576.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Petej
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 08:00:27

    I’m def not a woman and yet I never play games – video games that is. It’s not that I reject games or something, I’m simply not interested at all. Games bore me to death. Am I a bad person?

    Reply

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