Escape to another world | 1843

As video games get better and job prospects worse, more young men are dropping out of the job market to spend their time in an alternate reality. Ryan Avent suspects this is the beginning of something big

it is possible that just as past generations did not simply normalise the ideal of time off but imbued it with virtue – barbecuing in the garden on weekends or piling the family into the car for a holiday – future generations might make hours spent each day on games something of an institution

That view hinges, however, on a crucial distinction: are those dropping out to tune in to video-game worlds jumping, lured by the attraction of the games they play, or have they been pushed?

Other gamers tell similar stories: friends made while playing, skills they discovered or honed, discussions that led to jobs, and hours spent away from the troubles of a world that occasionally needs to be blocked out. Theirs are not the only stories. There is addiction. … games become the destructive vice of choice for some sets of players, taking the place of drugs or alcohol in a tragic but familiar narrative. But the game is a symptom of some broader weakness, sometimes of character, occasionally of mental health – and, perhaps, of society too.

the choices we make in life are shaped by the options available to us. A society that dislikes the idea of young men gaming their days away should perhaps invest in more dynamic difficulty adjustment in real life. And a society which regards such adjustments as fundamentally unfair should be more tolerant of those who choose to spend their time in an alternate reality, enjoying the distractions and the succour it provides to those who feel that the outside world is more rigged than the game.

Source: Escape to another world | 1843