Is Gaming A Waste Of Time?

Get outside and enjoy the weather! Turn that bloody thing off! Don’t you get bored playing games all the time?

I’m sure most of you’ve had one of, all of, or something along these lines said to you at some time or another.

I’ve frequently heard people (my mum being the main culprit, co-workers 2nd) tell me that its ‘such a waste of time’ to sit in playing games. But when I ask them why, they can never really back up the argument.

I like to point out that just because they may see playing a computer game for 6 hours straight as a waste of time, I actually happen to love it. I actually happen to have massive amounts of fun playing computer games with or without my closest friends. Some people see it as antisocial. What’s antisocial about 10 friends all meeting up to play Halo? Yes its hugely geeky, but antisocial it is not!

Gaming lets me experience brilliant story telling, breath taking artwork, and gripping immersion. It gives me hours upon hours of experiences to talk about and share with my friends and on here.  How can that be time wasted?

So why does ‘gaming’ have this “time wasting” stigma attached to it? After all isn’t playing computer games just another form of entertainment. And by that logic, could you not also argue that most other forms of entertainment are a waste of time. Reading a book? Watching a film? Writing a blog? All these things I also do. But no one ever tells me I’m wasting my time with these. If I sit in and watch all three Lord of the Rings films all weekend no one tells me that’s antisocial, that’s boring or that’s a waste of a weekend. In fact, I think a lot of people would say “Oooo that sounds great, I love sitting in and having film marathons”.

The people that tell me things like this may sit at home and watch every single episode of Eastenders, which I personally would see as a waste of time, because I don’t like it. But I wouldn’t tell them they were wasting there time. If they enjoy it, then that’s great. Why can’t I be left to enjoy a game without someone telling me I’m wasting the day.

All this got me thinking a bit more. How much time do I actually spend playing games? I just so happen to be signed up to http://raptr.com/, if you don’t know, Raptr kind of keeps track of all the games you play, and how long you have played them.

Time

I have been a member on this site since 5th January 2010. I had only registered my Xbox gamer tag to the site initially, although I have just added my steam ID too.

Since 2010, I have tracked 1,470 hours of Xbox loving! That’s about 61 days worth of playing which sounds like quite a lot to me. Battlefield 3 came out on top as the most played game with 159 hours. But in total that’s roughly 9 and a half hours gaming a week, since signing up. Which, on average is less than 1 and a half hours a day. I don’t believe that there are many people that would spend less time than this a day doing something that they enjoy, i.e. watching TV etc…

Rank

Breakdown!

So, am I really wasting that much time? I don’t think so. Even if I did agree that gaming was a waste of time, 1.3 hours a day (that’s what it calculated at) isn’t exactly an astronomical amount. In fact  it’s a tiny amount. It’s less than 10% of my time.

Have you had people tell you similar? Do you feel like you waste time by playing games? How many hours to you clock a week?

– Will

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7 thoughts on “Is Gaming A Waste Of Time?

  1. Dara O’Briain very cleverly turned the argument back on the non-gamer by pointing out that chances are they’d watched a DVD box-set recently. Well that’s sitting on your bum for a good ten hours and not even interacting…

  2. I’ve had many similar comments made to me over the years. The irony is that most of the time they come from people who spend as much or more time than I spend gaming either watching rubbish TV programs or living on facebook playing Candy Witches or what not (which they somehow don’t seem to think constitutes being a video game) or refreshing their status page every 30 seconds in case they miss out on knowing what their friends had for lunch.

    I spent a few years regularly raiding in World of Warcraft, which constituted approximately 12-16 hours a week playing online with a group of around 20 really great guys and girls in Voice chat, enjoying the game together, chatting and having a great laugh, yet according to some people this is a sad and antisocial way to spend ones time. Sitting in front of the telly watching the X-Factor eating crisps or being out every night destroying brain cells in a noisy pub where you even hear yourself think is apparently a far more worthwhile pursuit!

    With the possible exception of the collective disgruntled spouses out there who have lost out on quality time with their significant other due to video gamnes, I think this attitude to gaming is a ridiculously outdated and stereotypical one. Ultimately, isn’t everything other than eating, sleeping and reproducing a waste of time ? Waste your time however you see fit I reckon! 😀

  3. My 14-y-o third son is trying to get me to enjoy gaming. I can’t even get started with that; I reached level 2 in Prince of Persia back in 1986 and wondered why on Earth should I give it another minute. Back then I was a rock climber, a nature photographer, a carpenter, spent a lot of time running and had already wrote a short story collection. I still manage to do some of those. There are some other things I used to enjoy which I am currently unable to get to, because of the little amount of time left after attending my responsibilities -watching movies for instance. If I had a couple unused hours a day, I would rather spend them finishing my third novel, fixing some toys for my two younger kids or making some fine piece of furniture by hand, perusing Finnegans Wake, running on a mountain trail, bouldering close to a nearby creek, inmersing deep into Wikipedia or even having sex. I put aside most of those activities because of work -and five children. I cannot imagine having a free half an hour and preferring the virtuality of a game instead of all the (real) fine stuff I happen to consider an essential part of the world.

    • That’s really cool that you write, what kind of stuff do you write? I’ve always thought it would be great to write a story. But I’ve never really known where to start, or what to write about.
      It must be tough finding ‘free time’ with kids, but then I guess your free time is spent with them.

      • Hi willsgrr, thanks for asking and sorry for the delay. I write both fiction (sometimes fantasy or sci-fi, but mostly realism) and essay, which makes for most of my income. I blog sparsely, once in a while in English, but mostly in Spanish. About time spent with kids: its payback time. My dad spent a lot of time with me, encouraging a wide contact with what, back then, was called reality and did not happen in a screen. I reckon that has changed and wil change a LOT more. I do not intend to resist, but I want to remain critical, and remind my children (and theirs) that life gets its quality from inmersing yourself in conscience, not running away from it. If gaming helps you in that endeavour, be my guest. And please do try writing. Try to describe a contradicion, for starters; invent a character for each position, and you’re off. Good luck!

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