By Jaime Nava –
I love the silver screen. I love going to see a good movie in the theatre with my wife, where we sneak in something we brought from home, to watch the upcoming movies and point and laugh at the really dumb previews. I love being absorbed in the dark room filled with all kinds of strangers following some story as it unfolds. The same movie is not the same at home. Sadly we don’t go out and see a movie very often. One reason is movie theatres are a rip off. Another reason is a lot of movies are just not worth seeing. So as much as we love going to see a good movie, we don’t go very often.
I love listening to music. I’m not up on the new hip stuff kids these days are fawning over. I like Hendrix and Joplin as well as Segovia and a smattering of things that overall confuses Pandora. When I play music at home, I’ll pick up my daughter and we’ll have a good time dancing around the room. Her smile stretches across her ears and it makes me the happiest dad in the world. As much as I enjoy music and the creativity people put into it, I can’t remember the last time that I paid for music. I’m not a napster thief. Heck, I don’t even use Pandora. I’ll pop in an old CD in the car on occasion, or I’ll rev up YouTube and listen to my one little playlist.
Instead of the two things above, one source of media I will occasionally spend some of my allowance is video games. To a lot of people, it seems like a waste of money. I would say the same thing about music and movies. Of the three items, this one makes the most. It’s not the silver screen nor is it those who produce golden records. Nope. Video games rule the market. Adults are the greatest consumers of video games, as well. There are casual games like Candy Crush, all the way to games with internal monetary systems that you can actually cash out for dollars like Second Life.
What I find funny is that the mainstream media is so slow to catch up on something leaving music and movies in the dust. You’ll have a chubby Anglo movie critic on some morning show who can’t tell the difference between Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne. You’ll see articles about teenage musicians moving from Disney to the red light district (at least in how they dress and act). Mainstream media seems clueless about the fact that, in 2014, 150 million Americans played video games with 63 million of them playing more than three hours a week. The average age is 35 with 44 percent of gamers being women. In fact, women over 18 who played video games beat out boys under 18. This industry made $22 billion in 2014 alone. It provides jobs for over 140,000 people in the US. Schools are using video games as a means to teach students and engage children who are normally more difficult to interact with. This is a giant industry that is surpassing music and movies by leaps and bounds and the media can’t seem to get a grip on the fact that these things are out there and in force. The verdict is in, people love video games and people are making tons of money in this industry.
The stigma no longer exists. The mountain-dew swilling, zit-faced teenager with Cheetos stains on his Star Wars shirt is no longer the gamer. No, it’s a fifty-something year old mother of five who loves Ocarina of Time and also has multiple degrees in higher education. It’s Vin Diesel recalling fond memories of running around on World of Warcraft with the late Paul Walker. Even the late Robin Williams was a fan of the same game. Deal with that reality. Show some respect, people. Gamers are here. We’re all around you. We’re famous and lowly. We’re rich and poor. We’re male and female, slave and free…and many of us aren’t even socially inept. It’s you who are in the minority if you don’t play. For ill or not, that’s meant to be seen. For now enjoy a movie, a song, or a good video game.