Video Games vs. Other Forms of Leisure
We’ve spent a ton of time talking about games on this site. This post compares different types of video games to their non-video game parallel.
Video Games: Frequency, Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band
Non-Game Parallel: Playing a real instrument.
Why play with a plastic guitar, when you can practice with a real instrument? I don’t think these are exclusive behaviors at all. I enjoy a little of both. The games are much more forgiving and are easier to play and appreciate, while the real instruments can be far more rewarding when you are in the mood to give them your full concentration. If you do love music games and haven’t touched a real instrument in years, I would definitely recommend giving it a shot.
Non-Game Leisure Activity: Reading a novel
Video Game Parallel: Narrative driven single player experiences such as Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt, or Resident Evil.
I love certain really good narrative driven single player games such as Manhunt or GTA. These seem to fill the exact role in my leisure activities that novels do for other people. They are both linear, solitary, story driven experiences.
Video Games: Brain Training, PQ, and other puzzle Games.
Non-Game Parallel: Crossword puzzles, novelty puzzle books.
The title “Brain Training” implies genuine learning, but it is merely a catchy title for a puzzle game. If you want to really learn something put down the crossword puzzle and the game controller, and go master a new craft, build something new, grow your career skills, or take a challenging course at a local college.
Video Games: Multiplayer Deathmatch titles. A few familiar examples are Resistance, Warhawk, and COD4.
Non-Game Parallel: Playing cards or shooting pool with a group of friends.
Both game and non-game variations of these activities are simple, repetitive, prmarily social experiences. The non-game variants provides more social face to face interaction, while the video games provide more convenience, variety, and technology.
Non-Game Leisure Activity: Exercise. Going to a gym, riding a bike, going for a run, doing laps in a pool, playing on a intramural team, etc.
Video Game Parallel: Wii Fit, Eye Toy Kinetics, DDR games, etc.
These video games are really a novelty at this point. Almost everyone prefers real physical exercise, however the video games are probably appreciated by a small niche audience. DDR is also great fun for kids.
Can you identify any other such parallels? Do any of the above parallels miss the mark? Do you prefer the game or non-game variations? Speak up in the comments.