I recently had a “discussion” with a friend who couldn’t understand why at 23 I still enjoyed playing what she called “stupid little games”. When I asked if she had ever played a videogame I got a look like I had spit in her face. “I don’t need to play them to know֦quot; and with that she stormed off.

That discussion got me thinkingַhy we play. When you look at the figures it’s obvious that video games aren’t just for kids anymore. With the average age of Playstation owners coming in somewhere around 25 years (approximately), you have to wonder if we’re all just big kids that have never grown up.

When you work a real life job (like anything where you get paid real money), there comes a time when we all need to “get away from it all.” Some people do this by going on a vacation, while some like to go out and party or go to clubs, and still others like to play video games. Whatever you do for fun, it’s all a form of escapism.

I ask this: “What would happen if there were no movies֥ver?” Could we as a society go on with our lives day in and day out, without taking a break to do anything but work? Not me. Movies give us a two-hour break from reality. When the lights come up, we go back to our lives. Don’t get me wrong I love movies, always have. However, video games are a different beast.

With video games we’re able to stay in our own homes and get away for hours on end. There’s no time limit. And think of the variety. I could be lost in a Final Fantasy were I control what happens to the character, in every way. Or, I could be throwing the longest touchdown pass in Madden history. With videogames we can go anywhere and do anything. Later this month with the North American release of GT3 we can all drive cars most of us have no hope of ever doing in real life.

To my friend I say this, “Everyone is different. That’s what makes life so interesting. We all have different things at our disposal that help us escape from life. Don’t knock mine.”

The added bonus of gaming is that we don’t have to do it alone. We can share the experience with friends and family into the wee hours of the morning.

Here’s the bottom line, videogames bring people together and that to me is the greatest reason of them all.

By Jason McKenzie – 01/09/02

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