What do you do for fun?

What do you do for fun?

Well, sometimes I go horseback riding, or hunting, or go out to the bars. What about you? What do you do for fun?

Last night, I fought a mighty colossus. It must have been over 50 feet tall! First, I had to figure out how to climb up on the massive creature, by climbing the nearby colosseum and jumping on his head. Then I had to hold on tight, and hope he took a break from flailing wildly around and trying to throw me off, so I would have a chance to stab him right in his weak spot! Phew. It was one of the toughest yet.


Ugh, I mean, I like to play video games. Sometimes.

Although it did not occur, the possibility of the above conversation presented itself too me. Much of my free time had been occupied by Shadow of the Colossus recently, and upon being asked by someone I hadn't seen in years what I do for fun, I wondered what their reaction would be if I described my most recent virtual battle.

Granted, I don't know this person's familiarity with video games, but it's probably unlikely they're as involved with them as I am. This strongly reminded me of The Brainy Gamer's recent series of posts on not being afraid of "game shame," and trying to defend the value of "play." I really think Michael Abbott nailed at least part of the issue, when he identified that it's not just games that are seen as childish by the mainstream, but the idea of adults having fun and playing, whether it be a physical game, a video game, or just running around in the yard.

There is an embarrassing amount of game shame, in general, despite the proliferation of things like the Wii, and a variety of games aimed at a more mainstream audience. I've often thought twice about playing a portable game in public, or when many other people are around. To be fair, I think some of the poorly written encounters in video games are embarrassing in their own right. Thinking carefully about sitting through a cut-scene where a poorly-voiced scantily-clad elf throws awkward sexual innuendo at you while your girlfriend's sitting next to you on the couch.

Perhaps more importantly, why is it so rare for people to describe their game experiences, especially to non-gamers? On one level, I think it's because people without a background in video games will have no idea what you're talking about, so it can possibly be a dead-end conversation. At the same time, not all games are easily describable to others unless they have a vested interest in that game/genre.

Maybe the best approach is, when asked what I do for fun, to not just say I play video games, but explain why a particular game is unique or important. Explain how the art style, music, and grace of the colossi in SotC contribute to an overall melancholy mood, and a fear for the safety of your main character. This is something that's rarely achieved in any game. Or I could always turn on some personality mimicry and appeal to the other person's sensibilities.

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