131: Games Are For Kids

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Games Are For Kids

"A friend in my workplace has recently bought The Orange Box and can't wait to play it. His wife is going away for a week, and he plans to get stuck in as soon as she goes. "Why wait?" I suggest. He looks embarrassed and mumbles something about how it would just be easier to do it while she's away. I say nothing in reply and feel an inward empathy."

Mark Patience describes the terrors of being an adult playing "a child's game."


that age-old debate thingy. But really, it is one of the things that make gamers more a-social towards society.

Also, if you own a DS, i'd rather use that when someone's somewhat later than usual, so i can use the sleep thingy of it, by closing the thing.

i would harldy describe a game that has you slaughter countless creatures and people as a childs game. There isnt an age limit on games...aside from ESRB, but thats just a suggestion really. Whats he suposed to do...watch the news and do taxes? Games arent for kids, they are for everybody.

But if you look at the opinion of the masses, what would you think then?

Also, the masses are generally very misinformed if they have never played a video game in their life. They just see kids playing something, so if they see them playing video games, usually, they automatically think it's ONLY for them.

Maybe it's just me, but i think it's hard to keep an open mind on all subjects. You automatically make stereotypes of the people around you and if you like them. But you have to talk to them, everyone says, to get to know them and spend a day with ´em. However, such people seem to not know that we all do this automatically.

I think i´m digressing from what i´m trying to say, but my point is that we need something to identify something with, and be right in it, too. That may sound childish, but i think everyone wants to be the one that got the right answer and all.

Maybe that is why people tend to say gaming is childish. I dunno if i´m making sweeping generalizations, but to me, this seems to be the closest to the truth.

Yeah, unfortunately the "games are for children" idea simply can't be explained away. Even citing statistics like the average gamer age is 33 (http://www.theesa.com/facts/top_10_facts.php). The best approach IMHO is what you've already done - find a game that she likes and let her run with it. My mistake was to force some hard learning curve games on my fiancee, which she hated. Along comes Mario Galaxy and fixes it :)

Also, VERY IMPORTANT, in a situation you described, ONLY ONLY ONLY play games that you can immediately hop out of at a moments notice. Honestly, playing Portal is no excuse. Even in the middle of a Zelda dungeon, I can just pause it for a few hours and finish later. With Portal you can save it and exit at any time with zero work lost. In the eyes of others, having a hobby that prevents you from breaking and doing other things you want to/should do just makes that hobby look more like a crutch than something fun to do. There's nothing inherently wrong with games that require a dedicated chunk of time, but if you can't guarantee that you have that time, don't play it.

I'm thinking of buying my mother a copy of Portal...Somehow I feel like if she didn't have videogames pigeonholed already (and didn't have to learn the keys to move and such) She'd actually enjoy it. She'll never even boot it up however, just for what she thinks of video games in general. I'm still trying to connive a way to get her to play it. It taking a bit of reaction time will just ruin it. In some ways I wish Valve had stayed away from that, just to get people to play a "serious" video game. I think it would demystify it to some people, and some of the xenophobia would die.

I get this from my wife a lot but she's coming around a bit more. Mostly I play my DS because "I can play it anywhere in short bursts". Also I can use my son as an excuse to game now. The semi problem is though with my son I get to play more Lego Star Wars and less Grand Theft Auto or Team Fortress.

I guess we take what we can get.

Anyway, the only game she plays is PC solitaire on the laptop. I almost got her into SSX but it seems to have vanished completely.

Aklso what bugs me is she gets irritated if I'm not "spending time with her" and want to go use the computer or play a game but half the time we're together she's a TV zombie. At least I'm interacting with my entertainment.

This whole scenario is very weird and alien to me. How can you date someone for six years and still have them acting intolerantly towards your hobby? I wouldn't have put up with that for six weeks.

(Aside: Isn't Portal a "save anytime" game? Or is that only the PC version?)

To be honest look at it from her point of view:

You travel for ages, are tired, irritated and could really just do with some affection and someone to talk to. All you really want is to go out and forget about things.

You enter the room.

"Yeah i can't be bothered to talk to you right now. Give me 5 minutes."

So a game is more important than me? Nice.

I'd tell you where to shove it and i love games...

Wouldn't it be great if we could all say what's really bothering us instead of trying to nag each other into submission? Life would be far more bearable.

People also need to learn that the world doesn't revolve around them. You must expect and accept the "other"ness of others. Drop the Pygmalion Syndrome people!

To be honest look at it from her point of view:

You travel for ages, are tired, irritated and could really just do with some affection and someone to talk to. All you really want is to go out and forget about things.

You enter the room.

"Yeah i can't be bothered to talk to you right now. Give me 5 minutes."

So a game is more important than me? Nice.

I'd tell you where to shove it and i love games...

So it's that other common problem in relationships: people wilfully misdirecting from what they actually mean, then finding that they're too competent at obfuscation to be understood. Her stated reaction was the thought that gaming in general is a childish pursuit; someone intimately involved with her for several years would hopefully be able to trust her to speak her mind fairly frankly, so I find it hard to blame the writer for failing to ignore what she said in favour of trying to guess at the underlying motivation.

It used to be like that for me; that was until I bought my whife a nintendo DS (now she has as much games for her DS as I have for my PSP), so now I can game in peace. She usually joins in my virtual adventures lately as her curiosity towards games has been stimulated (for the better).

To be honest look at it from her point of view:

You travel for ages, are tired, irritated and could really just do with some affection and someone to talk to. All you really want is to go out and forget about things.

You enter the room.

"Yeah i can't be bothered to talk to you right now. Give me 5 minutes."

So a game is more important than me? Nice.

I'd tell you where to shove it and i love games...

I'm so lucky that my wife shares my passion for games.
That said, my entire FAMILY used to have a deep-seated passion for games, so it would always be universally understood that no, you can't drop it right this exact moment, give me FIVE. MINUTES. To clean up and save. Then you have my undivided attention.

The underlying problem, one of attention, is a classic. Games are like books, some you can drop at any given millisecond. Others you need to get at least to the end of the paragraph and bookmark that place before you put it down.
A lot of people do not understand this, because they have minimal experience at best with the very unique medium of videogames.

As for the above quote...well, she was late. So it's more like

"I finally decided to get my keister over here, drop everything RIGHT NOW and pay attention to me! Clearly, whatever I did during my time not spent getting over here is MUCH more important than you and what you are doing!"
As the article's author said, it's not a matter of games, or ultimately, even one of "give me five minutes".
With the sort of person we're talking about here, I'm not surprised if it's that she expects him to sit, like a dog, right in front of the door, whining because mistress isn't here yet.
Because HER time is more important than HIS time.

Wow, I haven't even touched upon the problem of games being regarded as childish...eh. I feel that the relationship issue is a bit more important.

Games for kids? Well, no, not so much anymore. The average person thinking this might be the reason that "gaming are murder-simulators for kids" lawyers (no names mentioned.) prosper, though.
The average person's mind still links games with children, sure...
And they see violent FPS games line the gaming halls, should they look. Games that promise to put you right down in the battlefield and give you the sensation of shooting someone in the head with an automatic kalashnikov model 47.
Sadly, there's not much to do here but wait. Slowly, as more and more gamers grow up, people will stop thinking of it as "that newfangled thing the kids are doing these days" and start thinking of it as what it is, entertainment just like books or movies, but infinitely more interactive.

For me this issue is very simple. Gaming is my time. I don't put up with anyone who doesn't allow me to have a little time to myself. I've had girlfriends who have enjoyed playing games along with me, and others who don't want to see me pick up a controller, and the later just made me unhappy.

Anyone you do not live with should have absolutely no say over what you do with your time. I don't care if it is a group of peers (find better friends), or your mother (tell her you're an adult now, and you don't need her approval to do things).

I'm normally a pretty easygoing guy, but I have no tolerance for anyone who tries to make me feel ashamed of myself because I like to play video games (or for any other reason for that matter).

I'd tell you where to shove it and i love games...

That sends a good signal - that you value five minutes of your time more than twenty minutes of my own. Also, extra minus points for grumpy, unconstructive attitude.

Y'know what... I don't think we should date. ;-)

I think the whole girlfriend thing undermines the article's argument rather than supporting it. Judging by her choice of words, "I come all the way down," it seems like she has a fair way to travel to meet you. In this kind of situation its not fair on her for you to be busy, even if its for five minutes, when she arrives. Aside from being impolite and annoying (minor issues), it sends the message that you weren't waiting for her. This tells her that she's not important to you - that the game is more important. It doesn't matter what she actually thinks about the hobby - she's only saying "is that all you can do" and using the 'childish' tag because she is angry with you for not valuing her. In a happy relationship the disagreements over your choice of hobby would not matter; they would be a source of conflict, yes, but they wouldn't matter so much. When a more serious conflict occurs however, they get used as ammunition in the firefight.

Its important to realise that the issue here is not your gaming and her opinion of it, (although it sounds like you could definitely use a more impressive hobby as a backup argument - something that impresses her. like a martial art. no offence. i have the same problem.) rather its your failure to understand her feelings.

Perhaps there is also an issue here regarding her lateness. Maybe that annoys you more than you are admitting? Try talking to her about it. Explain that you only played the game because you were angry about her being late, if thats what it is. Help her to understand you, as well.

But hey, don't feel bad. Your situation is a hell of a lot more common that you might think. Most relationships are plagued with a lack of communication. I know mine are =D

lol it's clear that most of you are single guys or guys who don't spend enough time with your girlfriends. I'm torn between saying give the man 5 minutes and that he should have just walked away. She did travel far to see him and was already late so in her mind he should have been ready to just head out. Though as a gamer I do understand the 'just 5 more minutes' plea. It's hard to explain why women go down the game path to cause blame on guys though we all have done it at some point or another. I guess its just easy. She was upset because she was late and he already found something else to fill his time with. Easily replaceable is what came to mind. "If I wasn't with him this is what he'd be doing..and seemingly what hed prefer." women like to know that your world is basically revolving around them. Perhaps not all the time but sometimes it has momentes when that needs to shine through more than anything esle. We need to feel needed and wanted. I guess you can say it comes down to jealously. as sad as that sounds, its true. The one moment you had to shine for your girl you blew it with the gamers plea. A simple show of, "your more important to me than this" and you didn't even realize it. That didn't score you any brownie points. You wouldn't have to walk away everytime. honestly if you did it a few times at least and every so often used the plea then she wouldnt mind at all. You need to establish that shes not below your games but when you ask for more time you just need to accomplish the goal you have your mind set to. to help your ego if you will. nothing more or less. lol sad but true act like a guy and the girl will get it more. you just need to establish that rank and then it shouldnt ever bother her again. Games will never be an issue between you two. after that she might auctally put more effort into learning more about the games you play. youd be suprised. :P

silly boys.



I must have the best gamers life ever, I have a partner who not only likes to game but understands completely what i mean by, ive almost finished the level, please give me 5 more minutes... the only time my partner gets nasty is when ive promissed to do something (say clean the flat) but never do the thing i promissed... understandable in a way.

also my partner doesnt mind me gaming all hours of the night... because lets face it when you answer telephones for a living, you need some release from the world.

thats not to say the relationship is all one way, we went otu to see i am (bad at english?) legend, good film, had fun, had an even better night :P

my major bugbear was parents, I dont see them anymore for other reasons but when i lived at home they couldnt stop pestering me to get off my ass and do something useful, which for the most part resulted in an argument about what i "could" be doing... which ended up in me saying how gaming was my hobby and something i want to do... saying that though i did kind of bring them round to my side when i showed them what professional gamers can do... the likes of fatal1ty etc... they soon shut up :D

Are watching movies childish. Unless you're watching Happy Bunny goes to School, then no. Same with games. Unless you're playing Barbie and whatever the stupid horse game was, then the answers still the same.

The key is to just find a girl who isn`t an egocentric maniac.

(It takes a while, but it`s worth it)

The level of sexism in this comment thread is pretty shocking! :-/

I feel im pretty lucky after Reading this.
All my friends are heavy gamers who I am able to talk too about upcoming Releases.
My Family is accepting of my gaming hobbie, My Brother is Even more into games than me (Knight Templar)
And my Girlfriend is a gamer too, which works well. She teases my 360 and I tease her Wii, She Calls Halo a mindless kill everything Game, And i Call Zelda Tripe (All in Fun Mind you). Everyone's happy.

I Gotta say though, Portal is save anywhere, so that Problem could have been avoided.

Mark Patience:
Comments about how my money would be better spent elsewhere are commonplace, to which my normal reply is that yes, I could always take up an expensive drug habit instead, as that's what all the grownups seem to be doing these days.

Unfortunately for me, I can't use this line with my mother because to her, I am a gaming addict. Yet despite having worked in healthcare in the past she acts disgusted at me for being so rude as to show withdrawal symptoms (her words, not mine) when she forcibly denies me access to video games. And I'm 23! What do I do? She looks down her nose at me the same way when I get excited about tabletop RPG's!

To add insult to injury, my parents don't accept when I tell them it's a hobby. They say it's an addiction and it's hurting me. I'm a college student at CC! Would she rather have her son up all hours drinking beer? I show her the info about gamers like Fata1ity and she just scoffs and says, "he needs to get a life." To my mom, being into gaming is no better than being a drug addict. I can't win! Even though she's addicted to Tetris and Solitaire herself! It wasn't until I was able to show her the Mayan Ruin based Lost World level in Sonic Adventure on my Dreamcast and point out its similarities to the second National Treasure movie (a series which she loves) that she started to show signs of thinking my choice of hobbies may not be so bad after all.

Dom Camus:
The level of sexism in this comment thread is pretty shocking! :-/

Not sexism, it is rather annoyance at the girlfriend, who is clearly a person who is both inconsiderate, verbally abusive of his way of life, shockingly selfish AND a huge hypocrite.
The person in question is female, thus making negative comments about her "sexist".
(Man, I could go on about sexism. Believe me, I could. That new show about the successive girls who drink a lot and talk trash about men? Cashmere mafia or something like that? Imagine if it was about guys drinking a lot and talking trash about girls. Good god, how sexist. Just because the subject happens to be a girl doesn't mean it's sexist to talk negatively about her.
Sexism is crude comments like "women belong naked in the kitchen", or jokes like "What's a woman? A life-support system for a vagina". Pointing out personality flaws in a person is NOT sexist just because she happens to have breasts!)

i dont think the problem is games are for kids, it seems more like playing more than enough games is "geeky" or "sad" and doesnt matter about sex, 'tho the majority of games are directed at guys with the need to blow things up so there are less women interested in gaming.

I'v had more guys mock me for playing games than women have, and these are guys that think videogames are sad but football is in no way homoerotic...

Dom Camus:
The level of sexism in this comment thread is pretty shocking! :-/

Would you say it may even be over.... 9000?

Okay, in all seriousness, while on some levels I do feel with the writer, it felt a lot less like a thought out article and more like a rant inspired by an argument with his girlfriend. I have gotten to the point in my life where the disapproval of my hobbies by the unwashed masses are background white noise. When it comes from family, I just sort of shrug it off. Every family has something to argue about. I'm lucky the worst I have to worry about is the amount of time I spend on games.

Geek is as geek always has been and geek always will be. Geek is not socially acceptable. Geek is ridiculed. Geek is socially inferior. You just gotta choose what side of the line you are on and hold it.

I strictly believe that gaming is for all ages, as well. Although many people think it otherwise, if you look at a lot of games for the 360, you wouldn't see a ten year old playing it. My grandmother got the Sega for me when I was younger, and I was constantly addicted to the Aladdin, and Pinocchio video games. My mother thinks I pay too much attention to video games, which I do, but my father is constantly with his tennis, or flying games, which I like being with him once he sits down. We've even played Halo together. So it really doesn't matter what age, but it's all on your view points really...

As a girl gamer, I have gotten it even worse from my family, especially my mother. I have heard "I thought only boys played video games" countless times by her, and she has yet to accept that I take part in what a lot of people view as a male-only hobby. My family calls me strange because I am so wrapped up in "something TEENAGE BOYS are supposed do, let alone a young woman." I not only get the "When are you going to grow out of this?" but also the "When are you going to grow out of this; you're not even some dumb guy!" Thus, I can completely feel the author and his complaints about family and female friends ridiculing and failing to empathize.

However, though I share a video game passion as great or greater than my boyfriend's (in fact, we both worked at EB Games at one point), I definitely get irritated when a game takes priority over me at important moments. No one likes to be ignored or feel inferior to a virtual soccer field or Portal puzzle. Especially if the game could be saved at any time, or if the game could just be left on while we go across the street to eat dinner.

So I really understand the author's girlfriend getting annoyed when, just as she arrives, she's told to "wait a few minutes, I'm almost done." I'd be even more annoyed if I was told to paint my nails in the meanwhile, as if there's a rule that says all (or any) women carry a spare bottle of nail polish in their purse at all times, just in case they need to occupy themselves while being bored. If you knew when she was arriving, you'd be able to judge whether or not there's enough time to get sucked into that kind of game and be done before she comes so you can be ready to spend time with her. It'd be like you driving to her house only to find out she decided to start a movie or, if you like, do a full manicure and pedicure set while she waited and now you have to wait for her while she ignores you. Well, maybe you have your electric shaver with you and you can trim your beard while you're waiting.

Ok I think its about time I had a say in this..I have absolutely no problem with Mark playing games and admittedly I have passed it off as "childish" in the past, which was wrong of me, but games for Mark over the years has been, nothing short of an obsession.

By all means, have a hobby, I dont have to share your views on it, but when it comes to having to hear about all the latest games, reviews on games and want me to watch demonstration after demonstration, when I only come down once a week, its not very fair.

We only see each other once during the week and therefore, I feel the time was spend is precious. You know I do take an interest, but driving 40 miles to see you, doesnt constitute watching you play games!

In summary, I can appreciate why anyone has an interest in games, heck I had a MSX when I was a kid and appreciate how technology has moved out and yes, I have a DS, but everything in moderation.

Unfortunately for me, I can't use this line with my mother because to her, I am a gaming addict. Yet despite having worked in healthcare in the past she acts disgusted at me for being so rude as to show withdrawal symptoms (her words, not mine) when she forcibly denies me access to video games. And I'm 23! What do I do?

Move out.

Mark Patience, hi :)

In your situation, I would have just exited the game immediately. Portal won't run away, while your girlfriend can. Heck, you can even use the experience gathered so far to blaze through the earlier parts of Portal with new strategies later on!

There's not much that can be done, I'm afraid. An incredible majority of people grow up playing games as children, then have to take on responsibilities (relationship, marriage, family, etc) and games are discarded in favour of "serious" activities (i.e. playing the serious game of "life" where you have one life, zero continues and a continually ramping difficulty level :).

As such, when hearing the words "video game" (emphasis on "game"), that large majority automatically and strongly associates them with "childhood", and thus they experience a mental conflict: they clearly see an adult person partaking in a "game", which they believe is reserved solely for children or family parties when everyone had something to drink. This association is reinforced by the fact that it's always the children that ask for the video games. Everywhere, people are getting video games for their kids for christmas.

It is very difficut to get rid of this association, since most people don't have much of a choice in life - they HAVE to take on responsibilities and they don't have the luxury of "gaming". The word "game" simply has that strong an effect. All we can do is be patient and wait for the masses to change. For that to happen, new associations with the words "video game" have to be made. For example, maybe people will start to see it as a "sport" (seeing TV reports on professional video gaming may be a good start), or "hobby", even. Or, video games transcend their generally low quality storytelling and give the adult gamer some real adult content other than cheap gore, sex, cursing and violence. Something with the impact of "Animal Farm", say, but in video game form.

But yeah, right now, a "video game" is for "the kids". Until then, we are in the privileged position of witnessing just how the public opinion on video games will evolve over the coming years. Let's hope it ends up in the right place.

Geez, I hope you don't end up marrying her. She's chronically late and doesn't respect your interests, and you're passively-aggressively expressing your irritation by making her wait for you while you play games. It sounds like you have no respect for each other! Good luck, mang.


It's pretty tacky to post something like this about your girlfriend without talking it out with her first. I can't imagine that it helps the situation. This should be the kind of thing that you can discuss together.


I enjoyed this article because much of which i could relate to. I love to say there is a easy way around it... but there simply isn't. No matter how much i try to convince my girlfriend that games are NOT only for kids, there are plenty of people out there with full time jobs with family who play video games. There is no reason why you can't wait for me to get to a safe spot to save, i mean what? its 2 minutes of YOUR life that YOUR wasting... how about the countless times i have waited for you to re-dress or touch on the makeup.

So anyway i told her to play my games for a while, World of Warcraft , she loved it instantly. It was a miracle despite her anti-games nature she was sucked into this fantasy world. I went out and got a second copy of the game and i played on my laptop. Now we spend most nights together playing wow. It's great. We have a new topic to talk about never been as happy now as I ever was.

is it me or are people ignoring his supposed fiancee replied to this topic? Allthough i should be skeptical it is her, this is still the internets, she did say something for being together for about 6 years.

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