Unsurprisingly, employers are finding new ways to distinguish between prospective employees. Education has traditionally been the ‘signal’ of choice to recruiters – it doesn’t matter what you study, but if you get good grades then it suggests that you will be productive at work.
So everyone is playing a new game of one-upmanship – trying to do hobbies and extra-curricular activities that will make their CV look like they’re Mother Theresa in their spare time.
So is gaming one of the things you put in your CV or Résumé to highlight your skills and dedication? Probably not. And with good reason. I remember writing one of my first CVs when I was 15 in high school. I’d mentioned in my interests that I was an avid gamer, to which I received several no-no’s – “You can’t put that in there! Change it to computer software!”. It’s true – employers these days seem to think of gaming as something negative. Maybe that’s because the gamers around the 80s were a little bit geeky – but then that’s a good quality for a job right?
Gaming is not like watching TV. You interact. You need some level of intelligence and hand-eye co-ordination to play games. For story based games, you are immersed in a world which is more enthralling than a film environment (yet watching films is socially acceptable).
In fact, last year, the games industry grossed more revenue than the film industry for the first time ever. More and more people are playing games as a legitimate form of entertainment, and more money is being spent on them.
They have professional uses too. Surgeons and doctors who play games have increased co-ordination and are less likely to slip up during procedures. Armies use games (as well as more advanced simulators) to help train troops. And it’s fairly well-known that Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton (and I’m sure a few others) use PlayStation Formula 1 games to help them learn the tracks and find the braking points.
To employers: when will you accept that gaming is actually a positive past-time with real benefits and that gamers aren’t freaks or socially inept? When will being a serious gamer be recognised as an asset rather than a detriment?
I’ve actually learnt a hell of a lot from games. Metal Gear Solid and Deus Ex, for example, have countless quotes and references to events and literature. I had no idea about the rules of basketball until I played an NBA game. Now I’m using post play to gain easy buckets in the paint and drawing fouls for 3-point plays.
I just hope that in my lifetime, as the bulk of the working population shifts to those who have grown up with games, the stigma attached to gaming will be removed – and we won’t have to fear being given a negative label by declaring our hobby.