From gamer to shamer

I went to theater today to see a production of Jesus Christ Superstar and, while waiting for the show to start, I pulled out my DS Lite and played some Tetris DS. A guy sat in the chair next to me and said “Wooooow, that looks like a neat little toy.” I responded feebly with “Well, I’m not interested in growing up any sooner than I have to,” but I felt like that was lame. I didn’t really know how to respond. I don’t think he meant it as an insult, but he certainly said it as if I were a child. Would he have said the same thing if I were watching something on a video iPod?

If I say “Well, I review games for a living,” that’s too defensive (or just sounds like I’m bragging), but anything else feels like I have to rationalize what is, in my mind, a perfectly acceptable way to kill time in public in the year 2006. Yet I still feel like I have to make an excuse for liking video games to people who treat it like it’s alien or juvenile. I still feel some amount of shame.

This was in downtown San Jose. I was a few blocks away from where they hold the California Extreme arcade show, in a town where they named a street after the co-creator of Breakout. And yet there it was–total ignorance of gaming’s increasing maturity.

Will games ever get out of the social ghetto?

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