Despite video gaming becoming more and more popular each year, there is still a shocking amount of ignorant people willing to talk nonsense. They often make up the weirdest things, as well as insult a titanic number of gamers. When one considers how much money the global industry is worth, it is peculiar how dismissive some people are, especially those in the entertainment industry. This subject became more and more relevant to me, because in the last few years I have been asked why I am spending more time watching gaming videos/streams.
For nearly a year I have struggled to use a computer; this is due to wrist repetitive strain injury (RSI), which escalated into extreme left shoulder swelling, then neck, then back pain. I have had RSI for 17 years. I learnt how to manage my condition, but an accident last year resulted in a domino effect upon my body. This combination of issues resulted in months spent in bed resting, unable to do very much, even holding a book was an issue. Hence lots of people asking me how I fill my time, specifically about coping with boredom. With speech recognition software I am able to navigate the web, which allows me to watch gaming videos and streams.
Initially I found the process frustrating, because for the majority of my life I was a hard-core gamer. I wanted to play, not watch. Though the reality of my situation required self-control. Over time being in constant pain eventually becomes the norm, so thoughts like, “Since I am in pain all the time, I might as well play…” creep in, but giving into temptation and playing undermines the healing process.
Benefits To Watching Videos
Maybe the viewer has intends to purchase the game, but wants to check the game-play out first. Whilst I used to subscribe to gaming magazines, seeing a game played whilst being reviewed is more informative.
For some people cost is not a big deal, for many it is, and we shouldn’t forget that gaming can be expensive. Add to this the issue of multiple platforms, maybe a person cannot afford to buy everything, most of us have a limited budget, and there are so many great games.
Learning about a game via watching a skilled player can be both informative as well as quite impressive. Never mind how watching failure after failure can also be entertaining. This is the same as watching professional sports, despite what some people might think about gaming being different. Given the massive growth in e-sports I think this aspect of gaming is gaining ground with more people.
Some games are hard to get hold of, having only been released in specific regions, or are extremely old. I also think that watching old classic games has value, especially for game designers, but spending time learning how to play, let alone master, every old game is too much of a time sink.
Most can agree that watching anything entertaining is valid, from a certain point of view. Since tastes are broad, the idea of watching someone else play a game should not seem weird. Obviously if there is a charismatic person involved, or a good amount of group banter, the entertainment value can be amplified. With so many games attempting to be like movies, having high quality cut scenes telling a story, this further validates the point.
Being denied direct access to one of my main hobbies resulted in me feeling left behind. Especially given the fast-paced nature of the Internet, as well as the social bonds, just a short break can feel like ages. By keeping up with videos covering game play and patch releases, or discussions about a game’s new meta, I felt at least somewhat still connected to games that I liked. I am sure being able to ask questions of an expert in real time is helpful to all in a community.
Being bedridden for a long time can result in a feeling of isolation. Whilst people came to visit they had their own lives to get on with, in particular work, and with most people working during the day I couldn’t expect much company for huge periods of time. However, watching videos/streams provided a social outlet, and with speech recognition software I could even be involved in a communal activity in real time. This really helped, and I have explained to doctors why despite the long-term pain, I think this is part of the reason I am not depressed.
Video Problems For Me
It is worth noting that not every type of game video is appropriate for me. Videos that have jump scares are really something I need to avoid, since anything that makes me move suddenly causes more pain, and also is likely aggravating my injuries.
There have been a few times when I became so invested in a fast paced game that I found my muscles twitched as I wanted to move the character. Thankfully this is a rare occurrence, and tends to only happen with very fast-twitch games. This is related to one of my favourite areas of psychology Mirror neurons.
I am reminded of a story I wrote about in my Way of the Exploding Fist article, about how I watched the game play against itself for hours. Watching the games timing over and over made me analysis the game, and it actually led to me being a better player.
Technology is improving, and I think the industry as a whole is progressing, albeit in a pondering schizophrenic monstrosity sort of way. I am sure real-time interaction will become more common place, and easier. However, I have come to appreciate how gaming accessibility for disabled people should be prioritised more, but I will write more about this subject in another article.
Returning to the initial point about the validity of watching videos, I am sure you can now appreciate why for me it really has been a big deal, as it is likely for others. I appreciate that I have a good chance of recovery, whilst others have more permanent circumstances. Yet several people have not just been confused by my answer, but they have actually argued the point. Makes me consider whether collecting a list of ridiculous conversations about gaming would be an amusing and maybe even productive use of my time.
Have you had any such conversations? If so please leave some anecdotes, I am most intrigued.