Before 2013 officially ends, I thought I’d join in on the wonderful tradition of putting together stretch goal resolutions and other general false promises by coming up with my own list of resolutions for the year. Fortunately, after a December of stuffing my face with chili and bacon (call that whatever holiday you’d like), I knew better than to start 2014 off with a lie about healthier eating. Nope. Instead, my resolutions list has only one item: play more games.
I’ve been on a recent run of playing and immersing myself in a bunch of different types of games. Video game titles ranged from NBA 2K11 on the PS3 (yes, I still play a three-year old sports game) to Skyrim on the PC, to Monster Hunter Freedom Unite on the PSP (still both the most frustrating and rewarding game I’ve ever played in my life). I also enjoyed riddles and challenges including having to physically solve and open a locked puzzle box containing a Secret Santa gift (this actually happened) and doing my daily newspaper’s Sudoku, KenKen, and crossword puzzles. I’m very competitive, and I love the way games can be a social catalyst for friends, acquaintances, or even complete strangers.
So…why play even more games?
In general, I feel as if too many people are quick to judge “gaming” in the same way animated shows are simply viewed as “cartoons” for children i.e. negatively or with an unfair stigma attached. I need only point to the many continuing articles and back-and-forth in the media about the correlation between video games and real-world violence and desensitization. At the same time, on the other side of the coin, “gamification” has become a positive force even in K-12 education. There is an increasing amount of support for the serious advantages of playing video games that I’m glad is gaining more of a presence.
But the scope of “gaming” is larger than simply grabbing a controller and turning on a video game system. One of the biggest gaming enthusiasts around is Wil Wheaton who is currently hosting TableTop, a YouTube video series that features him playing board, card, dice, and role-playing games with a group of celebrity friends. (I highly recommend checking out the series on the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel – it is awesome and well-produced and no one even paid me to say that.)
Wil prefaces each episode of TableTop and has delivered conference keynote speeches with anecdotes from his personal life about how gaming had and continues to provide bonding experiences with his family. Ultimately, I think he preaches a fantastically simple message that just about sums everything up (in addition to Wheaton’s Law, of course): We are ALL gamers, and that’s a good thing.
If it were socially acceptable to make resolutions for other people, I’d tack on my New Year’s goal to each of their lists. Everyone should be playing more games, regardless of your demographic. I’m convinced there is a game for everyone. Games have the social, scientific, and educational benefits, but best of all – they’re serious fun! And who couldn’t use a bit more of that in their lives?
What are your favorite games? If you had to recommend any three games to a complete stranger, which would they be?
So play some games and have a fun, safe, and happy New Year! Stay tuned for a follow-up post highlighting my new favorite board game…