Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why do grown men play video games?

They used to say the only difference between men and boys is the size of their toys. I haven't heard that saying in years -- probably because men and boys now play with the same toys: video games.

A recent report cited a tripling over last year of the number of women saying they filed for divorce because their husbands spent more time on video games than they do with their wives. This survey was about divorce causes, so it didn't even count the number of men who aren't able to get wives because they play video games too much.

So, what is the right amount of time for a grown man to play video games? I would think that it would be whatever amount they could stand after their children forced daddy to play with them. I would be wrong, of course.

Full disclosure: I am 46 years old and have hated video games ever since I was a teenager. I thought my friends were insane to spend hours at an arcade hunched over a "Space Invaders" or "Frogger" machine. There seemed to be no chance of winning; all you did was see how long you could play before you lost to the machine.

I got "Pong" for Christmas one year, and quickly tired of it. I could easily beat my little sister, but never beat the computer. My dad played me a few times, but he had actual grown-up responsibilities so he wasn't much for competition.

Later games became more complex, but they weren't any more interesting -- at least to me. But lots of men as old as I am and older not only play this stuff, they're among the nuts camping out overnight to be the first to buy the newest gaming devices, which cost hundreds of dollars.

My dad can fix almost anything under the hood of a car -- at least on pre-computer models. I can't do anything but check and change the oil and keep the other fluids and tire air pressure correct. But at least I'm not driving pretend cars around pretend racetracks or running over pretend hookers for points with them.

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Photo: Creative Commons by tcp909