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Are video game-related things considered hobbies?


Would you consider video games/game collecting to be a hobby?  

13 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you consider playing video games, collecting video games, and doing other video game-related things (video making, repairing, etc.) a hobby?

    • Yes, it is a hobby
    • No, I would not consider it a hobby

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Hello. I have mentioned once before that my relationship with my mother right now is not great for various reasons I won't get into here. Recently, she took all of my Atari stuff and other video game things like chargers, controllers, other systems, mini arcades, DS styluses, etc. We had an argument last night. She thinks that video games cause VARIOUS things, like gambling (don't use microtransactions in any games I play because mostly they weren't invented yet), rotting your brain, etc. She says I can't get anything back until I get a "real hobby".

I told her this was a real hobby, it just wasn't one she liked. She said If I ask anyone, they would disagree with me. So, I'm asking all of you here at Atari.io.  It's not just playing video games she thinks isn't a hobby. She thinks almost everything related to them isn't a hobby, like:

  • Playing video games  (of course)
  • Making video game related content (using screens to animate, making video game related videos and the like)
  • Fixing/Repairing video games
  • Collecting video games (I compared to things like rocks, bugs, and baseball cards, but she says it is completely different)
  • Talking about video games  (being involved with the video game community)
  • Watching video game related content
  • Reading about video games and video game literature
  • Creating video games  (I used to make video games on Scratch a lot. Don't anymore, but I thought I'd include it)

know I'm right here, but I need some people to prove my point so she can give me my stuff back. Please take this poll to help. 

I'm currently having some problems with my mom. Shortly before I joined the I/O she kicked me out of the house and I had to stay with my grandparents. That was actually a much better alternative than staying home. The pandemic has really taken a toll on our family's relationship with one another. Thank you all for being here in the I/O for a sort of escape from it all. Thank God it's the week and not the weekend anymore so we can be apart for a bit. I know these aren't really bad problems compared to problems others are having right now because of the wildfires, pandemic, hurricanes, etc, so I'm grateful for that. It has not been a good year for anybody. People are losing everything all over the world. I have it good comparatively thankfully, but I am asking for just a little bit of help, so please consider asking this simple yes or no question. 

Edited by HDN
Added a few things
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Of course it is a hobby.  For me, especially the "Fixing/Repairing" aspect of it.  Tinkering in the garage is what I do to relax.  Fixing stuff, using my mind and hands and tools. 

Harry, we are all here for you.  You shouldn't downplay your family issues as lessor than the other issues people are having.  It's life impacting and that makes it significant.  You let us know what we can do to help.  Hopefully, you and your mom can cool off for a bit and you'll get your stuff back. 

I know a lot of people my age don't really consider video games a "real" hobby because they think we just sit in a room alone.  To some, hobbies are things we do with others.  Like sports, or clubs at school, or whatever.  Maybe it's a matter of offering to join a club or church group or whatever once this pandemic is over.  I don't know.  I wish you the best.

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Many years ago, my wife told me what my father had said to her about my video gaming as a kid. He had always been supportive in whatever I wanted to do and bought me a 2600 and 800 as a kid. What I didn't know was how he had perceived my interest in video games. To him, they were just toys like any other toy -- meaning, things that little kids play with. His first surprise was when he drove me to the local Atari enthusiast club meeting and it was 99% adults. His second surprise was when that interest I had as a kid led to me getting into the tech industry. I believe those two things changed his perception about the value of video gaming.

I still know people who have a very negative view of video games. You hear about kids getting addicted to video games and not fully engaging in their life activities outside of gaming. That's usually what they focus on, but it's understandable. As a parent who has more video games than his kids, even I was initially bothered when I saw Son #2 spending all his free time playing video games (I'm a hypocrite 😮 😛) because I wished he did more ✌️productive✌️ things. It's not that playing video games is bad, but as a parent, I wanted to see him expand and grow in other areas as well. But I reminded myself that I was no different as a kid, and I turned out Ok, and I decided to respect his personal choice on how he spent his free time and never bothered him about it (he was a diligent worker in his school work and other obligations).

Short answer is --> Yes, video gaming is a hobby. It's a hobby enjoyed by people of all ages and professions. There are even doctors who play, and we have one here in the I/O 🙂

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My life experience is almost identical to @socrates63.  From my father buying me a VIC-20 and considering it mostly a toy, to his realization that maybe it wasn't when I ended up at various user group meetings with adults, to ending up with an engineering degree and making a career out of it.

Also, both of my kids were heavily into video games (and I was right there with them for the most part).  Older son is now a CPA and still gaming.  Younger is a senior in college and still gaming. 

Mostly, it is important to stay as well-rounded as you can.  There are social aspects to video gaming.  When I was young, there were always other kids over (or me at their house) playing together.  And in my kids' experience, it's similar (but only with old retro systems).  On-line gaming is a different beast IMO, as there are a lot of creeps out there.  It's not easy with the pandemic, as with most things. 

We can start up a weekly chat on these forums if you think that would help. It's more "live" than just posting. 


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I have always described my interesting classic gaming as a hobby, ever since I was very young. I find myself saying that more and more today, as I have to set priorities, I always treat the forums with love but it holds a position in my life as a hobby, i.e. something I am passionate about and have true love for but is expensive, time consuming and doesn't generate income. However it does generate a sense of personal fulfillment and a sense of community, so it holds a special place in my heart as a very special and fun hobby, but it has to have the priority of a hobby in my life. I think games are a good hobby., and everything kept in balance and moderation. 

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Thank you all for your input. You are right; everything is alright in moderation. For my mom though, everything that uses something with a screen on it is considered "bad", "unhealthy", and "brain-rotting". In this day and age almost everything is done with a screened device. If filmmaking, for instance, was my hobby (well, it kind of is with filming videos), I would be in the same predicament as I need my computer and camera for that. Unless she expects me to get an old Georges Melies-style camera and some film. I'm not entirely sure what she wants from me.

Thank you all for your support and answering the question. I will keep the poll open for a bit longer to see what happens.

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hobby noun plural hobbies

a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation
Yup, I think gaming fits the definition for the most part.
Of course, it shouldn't get in the way of other life priorities, such as family, school & work.
Also there are both positives and negatives. On the plus side, it can help keep the mind active, engage in new learning, promote problem solving, and in some cases, promote social interaction (just look at the forums). On the negative side, it can be addictive, certain games may encourage poor behavior for those prone to it, and it's possible the light emitted by screens can inhibit sleep if played late at night.
As with just about all hobbies, there are pros and cons, and it's up to parents to do what they think is best for their kids. For instance, we never allowed any screen time for our kids until they were two, and then at that point, it was limited to under an hour a day, and the programming had to be slow paced for younger children. Now our kids are full of imagination and rarely beg for certain toys, because they almost never saw commercials, lol.
I hope all goes well with your mom. I encourage you to do your best to show respect when discussing your point of view, as well as for whatever decision she makes. My guess is she's doing what she believes is best for you in the long run. No parent is perfect, but most of us try to do what's best for our kids!

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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Thanks for everyone's kind words here. Seven of you have voted at the time of writing this, and I think that will help my case here. I have also been trying to focus more on other things, like art and video-making. I have been doing pretty good in school, and I have before the games were taken away, so that isn't an issue. Thanks for being so supportive. Thankfully, I still have my computer, old as it is!

Unfortunately, things haven't gotten much better around here. Still a lot of fighting and arguing. Not just about video games, but other things I won't get into here. Right now, I'm trying to get my DSi back so I can use Flipnote Studio to animate a segment of my upcoming Space Invad-- er, I mean, Mystery Review pilot. 

Again, thank you all for the nice words and good advice. And thanks for being an online oasis. I like to talk, well, a lot. My friends all have social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok. My parents don't let me get those, but it's not like I want them. I just like to talk to people, and it has been a bit lonely since quarantine started. After a few months, it starts to get to you. I'm glad I came over here to talk to others about my true passion: retro video games. Thanks for being there.

I mentioned before in a recent status update that I was porting a few of my games to disc. I couldn't put pictures there and I didn't want to make another post and run down my daily posting limit, so I decided on posting the pictures here. I'm not quite done yet, but I think it is coming along nicely. I hope to port more of my old games over to executables on disc someday. It's a fun project. This beaut, HDN Run Duology + The Criminy Maker, contains three games and is making its way over to @RickR's house when I'm done with it.


The back of the Jewel case even parodies the manual for the excellent Tunnel Runner!


The two HDN Run games I made in 2018 and 2019 respectively. The Criminy Maker was also a 2019 game, and it is a level creator spinoff of my Criminy Chronicles series that was quite popular in my small school. The games aren't great and don't have very high production values, but 8th grade me tried his darndest at making a few fun games. I think they are fun for the most part, and I like porting them to disc as it gives them a bit more appeal and value.

I haven't really tried making a game since 8th grade as I don't technically know any real script-coding language. I used a graphical-style coding language for those games I made. 

Edited by HDN
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Collecting, playing, or anything to do with video games, which is a form of art in its own right, is a hobby.  Just like collecting Hot Wheels or building a model railroad larger than most mansions is also a hobby. The only difference is that video games challenge the human mind and require concentration and they exercise our hand to eye coordination and motor skills.  Most other hobbies only satisfy the craving to collect, video games do so much more and can be a very positive experience.  Maybe someday ask your mother to play a two player game with you.  Pick a simple to pick-up-and-play game.  Encourage her (don't hound her) to engage and share a video game experience with you.  Maybe that would change her way of seeing video games.  

Bottom line...yes...video games are a hobby.  Nothing more or less.  They won't fry your brain but most games are educational in their own way if you look deep enough.  Some games even encourage thinking, reading, writing, drawing, math, problem solving, and many other day to day skills.  Just sayin'.  I'm 46, been playing video games since 1979, collecting for about a decade now, and I turned out alright.  

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11 hours ago, socrates63 said:

Great job, Harry! Creating something is a special act unlike any other. 

This reminds me of Justin's notes that he posted somewhere his creations and notes he made as a kid.

Oh, his 7800 Strategy guide?

I was going to design it on a computer, but I have been banned from the printer after accidentally printing multiple copies of something last year and draining all of the ink. So I'm hand-drawing it.

I'm also including in the package a "The HDN Advantage" mini poster. It features images on it from other games I made around the same time. I even drew it hastily like whoever made the real "Atari Advantage" poster!

The label on the compact disc is also based on 7800 Pole Position II. I really like the basic, cliparty monochrome style of that label and wish more 7800 labels did that instead of just regurgitating the box art in grayscale.

Edited by HDN
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This is absolutely a hobby and pretty much has been since day 1 when Ralph released the original Odyssey to the masses in the early 70s. 

I''ve been playing video games for pretty much as long as I can remember. I was born in the early 70s so I've had the pleasure to really see it grow from the novelty it was in the 70s to the industry behemoth it is today. But when I was a kid I didn't just play video games either. I rode my bike and hung out with my friends on a near daily basis. I was in plastic model making and did that as well. I also read books (at least back them...LOL). But I also played my Atari daily for an hour or so  as well. As long as my homework was done, my school grades were good and my behavior was acceptable....video games weren't a problem for me or my parents.

My mother was into them as much as I was back then. She would never admit it then or now, but after I went to bed I could always hear space invaders, Ms. Pac-Man, Defender or Sea Quest being played. My mother still plays games on her DS and PC to this day. 

People who read and collect books consider that a hobby. Video games are NO different. The medium and presentation is different. But we are engaging our minds in the same similar way. You read a book and your mind imagines the words you read into places and scenarios that play out as if you were there. Video games do the same only visually. 

As for video games promoting gambling...that is a funny one. I've never been interested in gambling and is one of the reasons I'm one of the few techs in my company who is gaming licensed to work in the Casinos and on their POS equipment. Because they know there is no risk of me gambling at our customer sites. I work hard for the money I make and I'm not okay with burning it into a machine. I'm okay with a one time purchase and being able to play that game as much as I want on the hardware it is designed to work on for as long as the game and hardware are able to do so.


Edited by CrossBow

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections


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42 minutes ago, CrossBow said:

As for video games promoting gambling...that is a funny one. I've never been interested in gambling and is one of the reasons I'm one of the few techs in my company who is gaming licensed to work in the Casinos and on their POS equipment. Because they know there is no risk of me gambling at our customer sites. I work hard for the money I make and I'm not okay with burning it into a machine. I'm okay with a one time purchase and being able to play that game as much as I want on the hardware it is designed to work on for as long as the game and hardware are able to do so.

I'm not interested in gambling, either. I've told this story before, but when I was about 11 or 12 I blew all of my money on Pokemon card packs. All I had were the common cards. I don't know how much I spent, but it was enough. Since then I have only bought things where I know what I am getting. A pack of Pokemon cards can get you a fun 2600, 7800, Game Boy, GB Color, GB Advance, etc. You can get a lot more bang for your buck with those. Super Monkey Ball Jr. was way more fun than any Pokemon cards I ever bought and the same price as a pack of ten random cards.

I think her "gambling" thing comes from all of those stories you hear about EA Sports games and their lootboxes.

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I don't believe the actual playing of videogames is a hobby at all. It's just an activity, a pastime. A competition.

But everything surrounding them is, such as: collecting, maintaining hardware, creating content, curating, reading and writing stories about them, discussions, putting together a gaming computer, and more.



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I think video gaming is both a hobby and a pastime, which seems to paraphrase what Keatah said over an hour ago, I would think. Yes, it's competition. I agree. Everything surrounding the gameplay is a hobby in and of itself. I agree on that, too. So, we're thinking the same thing, I guess. It makes sense to categorize it that way. 

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I know I will probably mirror what others have already said, but it is a hobby to me. A hobby to me is a way to relax and escape from the everyday. It would be the same as collecting sports cards, comic books, LPs, or anything else like that. The hobby is the sport of finding the games, sorting them, and an extra benefit we get is playing them. It is a chance to escape, even if it is just for 30 minutes, the stress that normal life can burden us with.

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