Would you?

I’ve been thinking about the impact a simple computer game can have on a life, in particular my life. 

I’ve recently started a new job (well… it’s been over three months now, so not as recently anymore…) and during the job hunt beforehand and the various interviews, whenever I was asked about my hobbies I never ever mentioned that I was a gamer. I said that I liked to read and watching movies, that I had two cats that get a lot of my attention and that I love to cook and bake. In short – stuff that is socially legitimate. These hobbies are all true, too, but my biggest hobby – computer and sometimes console gaming – was totally off the record.

Why?

Because to an HR person, playing computer games doesn’t look good and it might threaten your getting the job. 

As I see it, when it comes to the touchy topic of gaming there are three groups of people:

  • Gamers
  • Non-Gamers who accept that gaming is just an activity like going to the movies or doing some sorts of sports.
  • Those people that see you as an addict, because something they don’t understand can’t be healthy.  

This last category is the worst. I once had a “friend”, who wouldn’t even let me explain to her what gaming was all about. She saw me as an addict, like a junkie or an alcoholic, that most definitely needed to go see a self-help group, a psychiatrist and a doctor. She wouldn’t even consider that gaming was an alternative life style. Needless to say, we are not friends anymore. I would like to point out, though, that I do have a couple of non-gamer friends. These are the ones I’ve known for a very long time and while we are very different in our lifestyles, we accept and love each other for who we are. 

I absolutely agree that there is the possibility for addiction in gaming. Especially for kids I agree that their parents need to monitor them and talk about gaming, so that they learn to be responsible about it. It’s like with drugs or alcohol – if you make it a taboo, it’s all the more interesting. 

The more I think about it, the more examples I find that World of Warcraft has enriched my life. I’ve met many different people both in person and virtually, that I would have never met under different circumstances. Some of these people were mere aquaintances, pleasant to hang around with for a while but then both parties moved on. Some became friends for a while, some even lovers. Some broke my heart, some helped mending it. Many were from different countries. (Hell, I moved to a different country myself and then back again!) Some shared their wisdom with me and gave me new insights to life. When I was playing on an English server, I had the possibility to practice talking and writing in English.

The adventures experienced give me lots of stories to tell and many jokes to share. Many jokes are found in everyday life that relate to WoW – granted, mostly only my partner and myself understand them, but we’re having a blast then. (My favourite running gag is to point out sheep and say: “Oh look, Powerofdoom and Coltoon must’ve been here!” They are both mages… Yes, I think this is terribly funny!) 

Most importantly, I’ve found the love of my life through WoW. We would’ve never met without WoW and the Internet. 

Contrary to the view of society on gamers, I also have other hobbies. I read books and discuss them. I watch movies or TV shows and discuss them. I’m interested in politics. I have pets and take care of them. I cook myself and I do it from scratch. I don’t even own a microwave. I have a full-time job at a fashion and accessory company. 

I know many gamers like myself, that just happen to have gaming as a hobby. 

… and still I wouldn’t dare to name gaming or World of Warcraft as a hobby in a job-interview… Sad, isn’t it?

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