I have been playing video games since I was six years old. My aunt set me up on her Super Nintendo, to get me to leave her and my mom alone. I have been hooked ever since. I would ask to play every time I went to her house, and when I was eight years old my mom bought me a Super Nintendo for my birthday. She took me to the store after school and let me pick out a few games. Since then I have always had a gaming system or two. Right now I have three of my own, and yes I am a girl.
When most people hear the term "gamer" they typically think of a teenage boy playing in their parents basement and think they play all day everyday. In reality, most people play; it acts as a release for the stress of their every day lives. I usually play when I have had a very long day at work. If running doesn't do it, I will pop in a game and play for an hour or two. That's it. I rarely play all day, unless a new game has recently come out that I have been waiting for. I want people to know that video games can be more than a way to lose yourself for hours in a make-believe world. They can be a massive stress reliever.
The game I play most to relieve stress is Tomb Raider. I have both games for the Play Station 4, and have pre-ordered Shadow of the Tomb Raider coming out in September. No matter how many times I play, I discover something new. They pack so much content into those games and you always find something you've never found before. No matter what people or mainstream society think, it is way more than just shooting people.
I've heard it all before, violent video games lead to violent behavior, and is some cases that is true, but those are so rare. The truth is we only hear about the extreme cases, because that is what makes good news. No one wants to hear or cares about the cases about someone who just plays them to unwind after a long day.
I've also heard people say "those games with turn your brain to mush." I have two Bachelors degrees, made the deans list and played a few games while I was in college. I control my life, not video games, and I don't let them take over and get in the way. I am responsible enough to say, "ok, I have to get work done now." I never missed an assignment, class or work because I was too caught up in playing Zelda.
When I was a child, my mom bought me my Super Nintendo and set a bunch of ground rules for me. I was only allowed to play for two hours a day, and only after my homework, and chores were done. I had to show her my homework first. Now this was before all the video game controversy we had today because it was in the nineties, and they hadn't reached the popularity and market they have today. When I was home sick, I wasn't allowed to play. She would say, "if you're well enough to play Nintendo, you're well enough to go to school." Maybe my self discipline in my playing comes from her.
Video games do not have to be this thing that people use as an excuse for violent behavior. Every time I see someone use the excuse, "he played violent video games a lot and that is why he did those terrible things," I get so frustrated, because that is not why. Everyone refuses to look at the person and their innate and psychological tendencies as possible factors and reasons. Scapegoat.
Video Games are my outlet when I get angry or frustrated with the world, and I feel like that is the same for most people. When my life gets crazy and overwhelming and I feel like I am losing control, I turn to something where I have complete and total control. It gets me back to where I need to be, grounded.