I hate the term “guilty pleasures.” Right up there with dumb phrases such as man cave, calling something a guilty pleasures amounts to providing a meaningless justification for a behavior or activity you enjoy doing, but think others would find deplorable or embarrassing.  Be it gorging yourself on some sort of foodstuff (I tend to lean pretty heavily on Old Dutch PuffCorn), or enjoying any number of sloppy reality television shows, if it makes you happy a blanket “Oh, it’s my guilty pleasure” does little more then show your insecurities about how you spend your personal time.

There tend to be gamers that like to wear their affinity towards games on their sleeve (or T-shirt as is usually the case), but more often then not I choose to keep these public displays to a minimum. This usually isn’t out of some sense of embarrassment or need to hide my ‘guilty pleasures.’ but more due to the fact that I can’t stand making small talk out of the subject. I realize that this sounds completely unreasonable, but the enumerable conversations beholden to persons’ with only a vague understanding of what video games are become increasingly more difficult to get through with each passing encounter. To try and equate the infuriating nature of these small talk conversations with something more familiar, it is akin to initiating a conversation with a movie buff by saying “Boy movies sound great, I hear there are moving pictures and sound!”

In addition to avoiding meaningless small talk, there is something to be said for eliminating the negative stereotypes that have been attached to gamers since the medium’s inception – namely the anti-social and mind-numbing image that tends to pop into view with any utterance of the word “gamer.” Fortunately, the solution to this image problem seems to lay with the Internet’s hell bent obsession with turning every user into some form of technophile or gamer. The cultural purview of games, and more broadly technology, will hopefully continue to evolve past the point of small talk into the realm of real critical discussion. There are certainly message boards on the Internet to find intelligent discussions in service of games and technology, but in the technology focused future we continue to build towards, they won’t be the only place.