Living with Gamers

Summer is officially here. And while I love it for the certainty of sun-dried clothes, fruit drinks and incessant summer outings, there is one thing that won’t grow on me no matter how long I’ve been immersed in it – that G word. GAMING.

I suppose it’s not hard to tell that I’m not a fan, much less a “gamer”. You can’t really blame me. I’ve tried. Many times. And after many years, I still try to “get with the program”. But it just isn’t as appealing to me as reading or blogging – or tinkering with my iPhone settings.

This shouldn’t be an issue if only I don’t live with 2 boys who might as well been born with gaming devices on hand. It used to be that I only had to accept that a PlayStation is a must-have electronic device. Now, there are just so many avenues for gaming that shunning it completely is near impossible. You have consoles, desktops, tablets, phones, phablets, TVs etc. What’s a non-gamer to do?

I remember a few years ago when we bought our first family desktop, I was all excited about all the possible things that it can do to enhance our home life – my home life. I intend to use it as our radio, newspaper, calendar, encyclopedia, recipe book and entertainment center. So naturally, I was looking for specs that will fit those requirements. And since my intended use aren’t very graphic/video intensive, it seemed like an easy choice.

But no. Gamer #1 naturally wanted to go looking for top desktops for online gaming – not an easy feat, especially if you’re on a tight budget. We ended up shelling out a relatively large sum for a piece of electronic hardware set. If you’re a gamer yourself, I’m sure you would relate to the need of a faster CPU for graphics-intensive games. Then you need more memory, larger HDD storage, larger screen – the works. But wait, there’s more! If you’re heavily invested in a next-best-thing gaming experience, why not add all imaginable peripherals too? Game controllers? Yes, please! Joysticks, game pads, steering wheels, flight controllers – you name it.

And don’t start me with the actual gaming schedules. The only time gamers aren’t “gaming” are possibly when they’re at work (?), in school (?) or maybe driving and eating. Every other spare time (even waiting in line) is spent playing some sort of “pass the time” game.

Conversations with gamers? Ugh, don’t even count on it. They can’t take away their eyes on the screen and the only response you’ll get run the gamut of nods, ‘ahs’, ‘ohs’ and grins. It’s confusing because each time they smile or frown (and get frustrated) for that matter, you can’t tell whether it’s because of you or their game. How annoying is it that  you’d have to repeat every thing you say because they “didn’t catch it” the first time. Conversations with gamers? Don’t even try (or at least not when there absorbed in their own world).

Gamer #2 – cute as he may, has also caused me a lot of headaches too. I’m starting to think this “gaming complex” is hereditary. Must be the genes then. It’s challenging enough for someone who goes to regular school to keep the gaming distractions at bay but it’s definitely a lot harder for a homeschooling kid who knows that these devices are just an arm’s reach. 

Thankfully though, I have learned to manage. I have come to understand that gaming in itself isn’t evil. Like most things in life, it’s the  fear of the unknown and the misunderstood that stops us from appreciating its benefits while being wary of the adverse effects of unbridled gaming. The key is in striking a healthy balance between fun and responsibility. Living with gamers, while challenging shouldn’t be an unwinnable level but a wonderful adventure that keeps on leveling-up.. and remember, if all else fails, you can always push that restart button and try again. :)