I love books. From the time that I could remember as a child, reading was something that I enjoyed. I loved the creative stories that made up fictional texts and I delighted in the knowledge that I gleaned from non-fiction books. Reading was not something my parents or anybody needed to force me to do. I did it willingly and even participated each summer in reading programs at the local library when I was in elementary school. Throughout my life, I’ve always associated a library or bookstore with peace and quietness. The fact that these places were able to provide that was amazing. Yet, the best part was seeing endless rows of books on just about every topic you could think on. I loved it.
When thinking about the question of what I would do if video games didn’t exist, reading more books was what immediately came to mind. Video games and reading are activities I’ve always preferred to do alone. As an introvert, my alone time is vital for my well-being. That is why I make it a priority even to this day. Gaming has always been a way for me to unwind and rejuvenate. To be honest, that’s probably the core reason why I’ve never gotten much into multiplayer gaming. And even if I did have a ton of fun playing with and against my friends at certain times, it was never the same as when I played by myself.
Reading is such a relaxing activity. Once the printing press was created, it had such a profound impact on humanity. Books have changed the world. Whether for leisure, introducing new ideas, or gaining knowledge, books play such a central role in the human experience. I can remember some of my favorite books when I was younger such as The Hot and Cold Summer, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, The Hardy Boys, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and My Teacher is an Alien. Reading these books was like traveling to other worlds. I would flip through the pages of encyclopedias my family had and just read the different entries that were organized by letter. This was one of the ways I learned about the different presidents of the United States and other places in the world. In high school and college, most of the books that I was assigned to read in literature courses were interesting. William Shakespeare’s tragedies were very fascinating, particularly Macbeth and Hamlet. Then there were dystopian texts such as 1984 and Brave New World that was just as engrossing, if not also troubling. Lord of the Flies, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and The Great Gatsby were all gripping novels able to hold my attention.
Since college, most of the books that I have read have been on the Christian faith and psychology. Perhaps if video games didn’t exist, I would have gotten my fantasy and fictional fix from books instead of games. But because that is satisfied through gaming, the books I read tend to be more non-fiction. I’ve read many books on Christianity beyond just the bible because I think it is important to know the origin of my faith, its history, and its impact upon humanity throughout history. My goal is to understand and know it the best that I can. With psychology, I’ve always been interested in what causes human behaviors. Even for the people who do evil, I think it is beneficial to know the motive behind their actions. Ultimately, I believe being able to better understand why people do what they do can help prevent us from making and repeating the same mistakes as human beings.
Some gamers enjoy their physical collection of games and having them on display. I’ve seen it in videos where there will be shelves with rows of games for different systems. Most of my game collection is digital. I tried getting into physical game collecting at one point, but it was short-lived. For me, games are meant to be played. It doesn’t matter if I have a disc, cartridge, or game case. Yet that isn’t the case for me when it comes to books. If there was one thing that I would love to have one day it would be my own personal library filled with books that I’ve collected over the years. Books are the one physical item that I enjoy collecting. Even though I’ve read a lot of things online, that can never replace holding the book in my hands, turning the pages, and seeing it alongside other books when I put it away.
Encyclopedias of some of my favorite interests is a book collection project that I am currently working on. For instance, I have encyclopedias for Star Wars, Marvel, and DC. I even have a book that gives a comic-book style history of professional wrestling called The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling. At some point, I want to start adding video game-related encyclopedias to my library. The encyclopedias are great because they profile many of the characters. I always find information that I didn’t know about before. We have to remember that all of the films are stripped-down versions of the universes they portray. So if we were to only go by what we see in the movies, we miss out on so much. The Marvel encyclopedia has information about an alternate timeline where Captain America works for Hydra instead of being an enemy of the organization. That’s pretty interesting.
So if video games didn’t exist, I would probably have a bigger book collection than I do now. Reading is one of my preferred hobbies. Not even video games couldn’t take that away. I’m certain that if I had been born in a previous era, I would have found something to read to pass the time. When it comes down to it, I look at video games as an interactive combination of books and movies. Video games and books are linked much more than people would think. Many gamers may not even be aware of all the words that they’ve read through playing video games over the years. Some games require a lot of reading. And the majority of them tell a story regardless of the genre. Maybe that is part of the reason why I love both video games and books.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO INSTEAD IF VIDEO GAMES DIDN’T EXIST?