Gaming is more popular now than it’s ever been. It’s come out of the shadows of dark basements and secluded man caves. It’s no longer something only “losers” do — everyone plays video games these days, even if it’s only Candy Crush.

So then why do gamers get so much smack for just being really into a hobby that most people do anyway? And why do people seem to think that you’ll just stop liking video games when you get older? It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but good luck getting them to see that. Whether it’s your significant other, parent, or friend giving you a hard time, the discussion can get old fast. That’s why instead of talking in circles, you should just follow these talking points.

“Video games aren’t just for kids.”

Some people still believe that video games are just mindless glowing lights to keep kids entertained. That’s not true. The average gamer is 35 years old, so don’t feel weird about your hobby no matter which side you fall on.

Furthermore, some games have a lot of depth that would go unappreciated by younger viewers — or maybe wouldn’t be appropriate. Either case, there is a place for those more mature storylines that are best told through video game format … and it’s on your shelf, no matter how old you are.

Yeah, people play games more now than ever before, but we’re not neglecting real-world responsibilities. As much as people want to paint millennials as stunted adults, they have the same idea of what it means to be an adult as previous generations. No matter how many video games we play, we can still get the job done and be an adult. So get off our back and let us get back to the game before we time out.

“It’s not going to rot my brain.”

too many video games

Newsflash: it’s 2018. People have been watching copious amounts of TV for decades, and no one’s brain is leaking from their ears. Video games aren’t that different, at least when it comes to health. They’re right that it’s not exactly good for you to sit around for hours on end, but at least a video game is actively engaging you. Watching TV is a passive activity.

This is a big difference! When you play a video game, you are engaged in the story or task at hand, actively trying to solve a problem. The same can’t be said for TV.  Really, people should prefer gaming over just television-binging. Ninety-seven percent of kids today use mobile devices to entertain themselves, and most of them started before their first birthday. So shouldn’t we be making sure that all those kids are actively engaging their brains instead of just passively consuming content? You know who could really be a good role model for that? Their 35 year old parents!

“I’m not an addict.”

Gaming addiction does exist, even if there’s some disagreement about whether or not it can be a stand alone diagnosis. If you really do have an addiction, that’s a problem, but your opponent is probably being hyperbolic. Become familiar with the signs so that you can point out that you AREN’T addicted.

You might be very into your hobby, but that’s why it’s your hobby. You’re interested in it. You dedicate valuable time and resources too it. You might even play all day sometimes, from sunup to sundown (or, more likely, from sundown to sun up). But that still doesn’t make you an addict necessarily.

There is a lot of negativity around the gaming community. People say that we’re slackers, but we’re no different than crafters, writers, or sports enthusiasts. This is our hobby, and as long as we can continue to balance our responsibilities, this isn’t a problem. Gaming is no longer just for kids, loners, or boys. It’s for everyone, regardless of demographic, so everyone should leave their judgement at the door.

If you’re still arguing with them at this point, just pause the conversation. You’ll both need to calm down, and this person is clearly not seeing reason. Take a break, and play something calming, like Dark Souls. That’ll help.

Devin Morrissey writes and reads comics around the Pacific Northwest. He prides himself on being a jack of all trades, master of none, and travels constantly to improve keep that status. You can reliably find him on Twitter.

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