Boring Show For Creepy Shut-ins Says Gamers Over 30 Are ‘Weird’

If there’s anything more awesome than the perpetual “ZOMG THE CHILDRENZ ARE BEING HURT BY TEH NEW THING I DON’T UNDERSTAND” moral panic, it’s the “GROWN PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING THEMSELVES IN WAYS I DON’T LIKE” genre of moral superiority. The latest addition to this discourse occurred in a recent episode of The Today Show. The topic? Video games. A viewer emailed to ask, “Do you think it’s okay for men to play video games in their 30s and over?” Now, pay attention to the delightful discussion that followed:

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I’m not sure what’s worse, Kathy Lee Gifford’s hilarious attempt to participate in a conversation of which she has no understanding (“That’s weird… Xbox.”), or Donny Deutsch’s dentured “When you’re in your 30s, there should be something more on your mind or attention than video games”. You mean like how awesome early morning chat shows are, right Grandpa?

The funniest thing about this isn’t watching old people fail to grasp that the world is passing them by, it’s the snide insinuation that there’s something wrong with grown men or women playing games for (GASP!) fun. We live in a world where other grown men and women obsess over sports franchises as if they own them, an activity considered a perfectly appropriate way for grown people to spend their time. That’s probably due in part to the fact that sport is associated with what is considered default normal behavior. The idea that people might find community, friendship, even intellectual fulfillment elsewhere is treated like insanity. (Proof? Have you ever heard of “football-f*gs” in American high schools,? Nope, but try out for marching band and you might as well paint a target on your face.)

But even the high school politics-explanation makes no damned sense, because at this late date, even sports fans are big dorks. The simple fact is that some the world’s most popular video games have names like John Madden or FIFA attached to them, and they’re enjoyed by some the most rabid sports fans on earth. Arguably, by devoting serious time to viscerally enjoying the thrill of play instead of simply watching it, a sports fan who plays a sport video game is showing more love for the game than the most dedicated arena-drunk. (And never mind the incredible tech knowledge and other useful information gamers end up acquiring.) Yet somehow, that’s still less serious than rioting over your local team losing.

So, just to recap, inappropriate for adults:

Appropriate for adults:

Inappropriate for adults:

Appropriate for adults:

Kathy Lee suggests that it’s OK if you’re playing with your kids, which sounds OK until you realize there’s plenty of things parents do with their kids that they might also enjoy for their own reasons. Like sports, for example. Or camping. Somehow, much like with music, games are among those activities you’re supposed to ‘grow out’ of when you get older. No matter how brilliant the people making it, no matter how much money, no matter what it means to the people who enjoy something, as long as squares can’t understand it, it’s immature and silly.

Fortunately, that attitude is changing simply because there are more people who like games than who like complaining about them. I’m not the first person to point out that the age of your average gamer is now 37, but it’s true. Also true is the fact that it isn’t just men, but women (who make up 40% of all gamers) that are creeping Donny out. So we’re going to win the argument long-term. Unfortunately, by the time we do, it’ll be my generation’s turn at the These-kids-today bat.

My guess? We’ll be concerned about the way kids these days can’t be satisfied with simple ground-based cars.

Via Game Set Watch.

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