Sunday, 23 May 2010

The Geek Communication Barrier

Sometimes it feels as if the world is divided into two categories; gamers and non-gamers. – In a blunt sense, of course there are many different types of people out there but for the purpose of this article I’m referring to the relationship between these two groups. There’s aren’t many gamers who don’t have a story to offer about how a non-gamer did something stupid on a game or their misunderstanding parents keep bugging them to give it a rest. It gets pretty annoying right, even after numerous times explaining that what they say on the news is wrong you still get told to go away from your console/computer. I use to get this a bit when I was younger, now I’m older not so much. The other problem is also the fact that I’m a geek who spends much of her spare time programming. I don’t know if others get this, but there’s often a communication barrier between computer professionals and everybody else, in the way that you’re expected to do more of the work coming down to their level than they are coming up to yours.

I don’t really mind the barrier being there as long as I have somebody like me to talk to. It seems a bit one sided though because often people make an assumption about you if you’re a geek – that you’re a poor person to talk to. The fact is we don’t always have to talk about computing or video games, but in non-tech gatherings I’m often sat in the corner feeling slightly bored because I feel like people are giving me a bit of a berth. I try to join in and take interest in what other people say and sometimes they’ll let me through. The problem is, I’m expected to let them talk about what they want, but then can I talk about what I want, often not. When you mention the ‘vg’ words or anything computing related you can tell it’s going ‘whoosh’ over their heads. You can try to complain that people don’t take an interest in what you have to say, but they’ll make out that they do even though it’s obvious they’re just trying to look as if they are (as you tend not to get much of a response.) There’s also the fact that they’ll blame video games for everything that goes wrong in your life (tends to make you think that they don’t care much about your interests.) How are you suppose to take their attempts at understanding you seriously if they just irrationally blame everything on what you care about? I feel people think that I have to do something else other than computing, but that’s my hobby and future career choice, don’t have much time for anything else. Why should I change myself anyway? They expect me to just switch that part of myself off, yet they can talk about their jobs, education or hobbies as much as they want. I can’t complain about it because my hobbies are to blame, not the way that society is or anything *rolls eyes...*

I often feel like I have to choose between people and my passion for video game development because it’s always made out to me that when I’m on my computer I’m shutting myself away. The fact is, games programming is one of the hardest subjects you can choose, and I want to make sure I practice a lot each day so that I can pick it up well and live my dream. I actually program on my laptop a lot so I’m sat around in places where people are anyway and sometimes I stop and have a chat. If it seems I shut myself out sometimes it’s because I’m sick and tired of having my passions put down, the very thing I’m striving to create. It’s no different to the passion an artist feels when they start to make that masterpiece, it’s the desire to make something brilliant that other people can enjoy. I don’t even understand how people can’t see the crafting of video games as amazing. It’s so exciting thinking that I can design and produce my own world with its own rules – each to their own I guess. Amazingly, I haven’t actually met many other people who share the same enthusiasm as me for this sort of stuff, which is a shame because you hear about how young computer scientists get together at university and make successful things such as Google. I really wish I knew more people to share my hobby with because it’s kind of frustrating not being able to talk about programming more often. I guess I’ve read too many game development books written by eager professionals and I’d really like to meet them and gabber about computing all day. (To get past that steep learning curve to become a professional I guess you’d have to be pretty eager.)

Amongst the gaming/tech crowd you often find that it’s much easier to bond. (I read a study once that stated that people who played MMORPG’s together often had a stronger bond with each other than people who don’t.) When I went to university and finally met some other genuine gamers like myself we just instantly clicked and got talking away. You find you hardly ever run out of stuff to say because games are plentiful and you’re both happy to sit there and talk about them all day; non-gamers looking on in amusement because once again they think your silly and incapable of talking about anything else. It’s true that gamers can also have lots of tiffs, like over camping or kill stealing, and we don’t all get on such as the FPS and RPG crowd, but overall, once you do meet another gamer with similar tastes you find that your friendship tends to blossom. It’s a shame that all those non-gamer folk will never understand how good it feels to have a friendship like this.

I know that you can’t expect non-tech people to understand every detail of what you do, after all, it’s incredibly complicated, but on the top level it’d be nice to know that some of those people could maybe lay off a bit and try to accept my interests. I’m always made out to be the bad person for having a hobby in computing, and yet I’m not the one going around putting down somebody’s interests and making them feel that they can’t talk about it, or even briefly mention it once. I sometimes even fear going anywhere near my computer because I think I'm going to be judged for it. I admit to the fact that I’m a little obsessive over what I do, but it’s what makes me who I am and I love being that crazy creative person who puts all into what they do (too many people these days don’t seem to put any effort into developing skills anymore.) I’ll be more willing to come down a notch to their level if they can just maybe try, for once, not jump to the conclusion that video games and computers are destroying people lives, because in actual fact it's the un-accepting people in this world who are to blame. Yup the story of my life – I’m interested in a subject in which girls are often not very well received, which in turn isn’t widely accepted by society, and people wonder why I sometimes cut myself off! Oh-isn’t-the-human-race-just-wonderful? -.-

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