“I just don’t understand how you can play these silly games.” she said, her voice heavy with the concern that she may be dating a child.

We’ve all heard it before. And when I say ‘we’ I mean the gamers. And it’s not just our partners or parents, it’s pretty much anyone who hasn’t committed to video games. I say committed because that’s very much what it is. A commitment to learning a new a language and lingo. A commitment to ever evolving hand/eye/controller coordination and game physics. A commitment to a sect of humanity where the social dynamic revolves around your virtual personality. In the video game world, it’s not about who you are or how much money you have. It’s about what you do!

Despite having billions of players worldwide, and the industry generating billions of dollars. Gamers are still viewed by the rest as these anti-social dreamers who live in their own worlds. Here’s the thing though, these days, those worlds are filled with real people interacting and evolving at a consistent rate to achieve one simple goal. Getting better at their game of choice. And isn’t that an interesting thought? What can mankind achieve if we all put our best collective efforts into solving a problem? A theory that game designer Jane McGonigal has been trying to communicate.

The problem is that it is very hard to describe to a non-gamer what gaming is all about. There is no shortcut to gaming. As a n00b (gaming slang for a newcomer) you will never be able to jump on to the latest Call of Duty and rack up high scores and multi kill-streaks (another gaming term that you don’t know) straight away. You might as well be trying to win a piano competition against millions of Beethoven’s. It takes literally YEARS of practice to achieve gaming mediocrity, forget excellence. The learning curve is steep. First comes the lingo:

Phrase: Clipping error
Gamers know it as: An in-game glitch which results in erroneous collision detection between two objects, perhaps causing a character to walk through a wall or fall through a platform.
Non-gamers think it means: A bad haircut.


Phrase: Escort mission
Gamers know it as: A type of mission, in which the player must ensure the safety of an NPC throughout a gauntlet of potentially fatal dangers.
Non-gamers think it means: Going out to find a prostitute.

And then you have the things like fundamental game mechanics. In other words base control systems that determine how the game is interacted with. This is something gamers take for granted now simply because it’s second nature to us. If you want to perform a rather fun, but infuriating for gamers, test then ask your playstation pal to teach you how to play one of their games. At first we will be thrilled at your ambition to join us on the right side of the force. We very excitedly plonk a sixaxis controller in your hand and switch on a game which we think will give a taste of the good gaming stuff without over complicating life. Something like Grand Theft Auto. We will say it’s amazing, you can go anywhere, drive any vehicle, purchase in game designer wear for your character, do anything really. What we usually forget though, is that you literally can’t figure out how to walk. 30 minutes in and just watch your gamer friend turn into the worlds worst back seat driver as you hold the joystick in one direction shouting “WHHEEEEEEE!” as your character spins in circles. Cue the exasperated gasps and eventual reclaiming of the controller because he/she just can’t bear to watch you walk in to walls anymore. But remember this, we get angry because we care. We want you to experience what gives us so much pleasure. But unless you start from scratch, or have a god given gaming gift, it’s a mission and a half.

Video games are a mass-market industry, and despite that, nearly half the population just won’t give it the time of day because there is hardly any mainstream coverage of it. There are no celebrities to interview, just a nerdy teen year old with glasses and an acne issue. There’s no cool guy allowing a social acceptance of gaming because they do it too (bless you Frank Underwood, you may be evil but you play games!). Then again even if big print and news gave gaming coverage they could only engage the audience from an economic standpoint. Take the recent news about Twitch.tv and how Google wants to buy them for over $1 Billion. Ok, so that’s pretty cool and all because it’s lots of money. But how about this next statistic? During peak internet hours in the US, Twitch.tv accounts for 1.8% of ALL INTERNET TRAFFIC! That’s fourth place behind Netflix, Google & Apple. Can I get a massive WTF?!?! Not soundcloud, not Ebay, not Wikipedia, not even Twitter makes the internet buzz during that time than a website whose core function is to stream live video of people playing, you guessed it, video games. Now most people would say:

“Wow! That’s awesome for Twitch, they should partner with internet heavyweight Google.”

But the gamers and gaming community actually couldn’t disagree more. Money is not the gamers concern, the authenticity of their culture is. #RIPtwitch went viral within minutes of the possible acquisition news going public.

Video games are a big thing now. Very big. Game sales trump movie box-office sales considerably. Oscar winning writers & actors are frequently hired to create games. There are unbelievable stories and technologies going into games. And you guys are missing out because you’re just not trying hard enough to learn how to use a gamepad! Seriously! Mobile games, which almost everyone plays are essentially what we hardcore gamers used to play on the old consoles back in the day. The base essence of enjoyment stems from those simple games. Your journey has already begun, now evolve and expand. This is not just something for little kids. The average gamer age is 34. It’s not just for men. Over 40% of gamers are female. The gaming market is almost $100 Billion till date.

We the gamers would like you to know what’s happening in our world, because whether you realise it or not, it’s actually your world too. There are amazing things going on in the gaming sphere. Come be a part of it, you’ll have fun (we promise not to shout at you if you give it a fair shot)!