Video games have advanced significantly since the days of Pong and Space Invaders. This is mainly because of the internet, smartphones, and other technology. The gaming community and its members are often stereotyped and misunderstood by non-participants. That has led to the term “gaming glamorization” – the portrayal of gamers and gaming culture in popular media as cool, edgy, and fashionable. Glamorization subconsciously influences how we view gamers and gaming culture, as well as our attitudes and behaviors toward gaming.
Stereotypical Portrayals of Gamers in Pop Culture
The representation of gamers in films and television shows is the first way that pop culture shapes our opinions on gaming. For example, the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory portrays a group of friends who love science and video games but are sometimes shown to be socially awkward and not very good at relating to people. This sort of generalization can contribute to the perpetuation of irrational beliefs about gamers as introverts or loners.
Well, that’s not likely the case because ExpressVPN’s recent study found that about 43 percent of men play games to make new friends or connect with existing friends. If that’s their experience, then it’s likely that many gamers enjoy their hobby in the company of others; this has given rise to multiplayer games like PUBG and Modern Warfare and has demonstrated that playing video games is not always a solitary pastime but may serve as a means of connecting with your friends and the wider gaming community.
ESA’s study on video game statistics says that about 66% of Americans play video games. That’s quite a large number, partly because of the advancements in the mobile gaming world since most people play games with their phones.
Escapism and Gaming
The media’s depiction of gamers is another way mainstream culture influences our views on the hobby. For example, the dystopian future depicted in the 2018 blockbuster film “Ready Player One” includes a time when individuals escape their repressive real-world environments by immersing themselves in a virtual game world.
The film’s premise may sound extreme, yet it represents the general belief that video games are a kind of escapism that may have negative consequences if played excessively. While that may be true because some people may play games to forget their sorrows and feel better, some findings show that gaming may positively affect our mental health beyond the so-called “escapism syndrome.”
According to WebMD’s recent article on the advantages of playing video games, this pastime helps alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Another study from the National Library of Medicine shows that healthy gaming habits may help you enjoy a happy life. The takeaway is that gaming can potentially boost a player’s sense of competence and control in everyday life.
The Bottom Line
The glamorization of gaming in pop culture has good and bad consequences on how we view gamers and the gaming culture overall. On the plus side, it has the potential to unite people, foster relationships, and improve psychological well-being; however, be aware that the hobby can be stigmatized when abused.
So, what’s the takeaway? It’s simple, pop culture may render its take on the gaming culture as a whole, but in the end, it all boils down to the real-life experiences of gamers.