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‘Ware the anger of video game widows, posted by Kurt

Dee made a post about a woman named Jillian R, a “Phoenix Early Childhood Parenting Examiner” (citizen reporter, in other words) who posted what amounted to a rant on video game players and how they ignore families.  My first impression was this is a woman who has dealt with being a “video game widow” in the past, and she has a very large axe to grind because of it.  A video game widow, as the name suggests, is someone who has become ignored by their Significant Other due to the latter always playing video games.  Internet widows are a related flavor.  While Jillian R tries to lend some legitimacy to her post by mentioning “research” that will appear in forthcoming articles, this first post is really nothing but an internet rant.

Her basic argument – that video games take away from family time – has been applied to practically every hobby of the past 50 years.  Golf, cars, crafts – you name it, someone has been a hobby widow of it at some point.  The argument is not without merit, as there are some people who do completely ignore other responsibilities in pursuit of their interests, but it’s not isolated to video games nor is it the inevitable outcome as she tries to argue.  Case in point: I know several families who make playing video games a part of their family life.  They all play together, have fun, and strengthen family bonds.  I also know several people who may not play with their families but are nonetheless in healthy, happy, long-term relationships.  I’m just one person; multiply that by the number of gamers out there, and you can’t claim that video games destroy families.

The rest of her arguments are just plain juvenile.  The money thing?  How much does a family outing to the movies cost these days for a family of four?  Let’s see… assume $9 tix for the parents and $6 for the kids, plus candy and sodas for everyone, you’re looking at $50-$60 for two hours of entertainment, about the price of the average new release video game.  The difference is the game will last you ten hours minimum, and likely more.  Plus, if it’s a game for the family, you can all talk while playing.

How about the “sex appeal” of male gamers?  I don’t know about her, but most people I know don’t pass judgment on the worthiness of a mate based on a single attribute.   The gamers I know run the whole spectrum of individuals – male and female, husky and thin, short and tall, passive and aggressive, liberal and conservative, pale and tanned.  They play sports, shop, pet their cats, feed their kids, and weed their gardens.   Does having a green thumb make you “unsexy”?  To put a personal note on it, my girlfriend does not like video games in general, but that has not impacted our 3.5 year relationship.  She also recognizes it for what it is – a hobby, and something that her own daughters enjoy.  It’s something we even do – gasp! – together, and she and I both enjoy watching her 10 and 7 year old play Guitar Hero; laughing, smiling, and having a good time.

The short of it is that people like Jillian R are the reason this blog exists.  Too many of them have some bizarre, biased view of geeks as pale, fat, mouthbreathing, socially inept soda suckers who spend all their time in their mom’s basement.  While I’m sure there are some who fit this stereotype, the great majority do not.  By painting video gamers with the broad brush of family haters, she does nothing but show the world her own insecurities and past pain with someone who did ignore her.