“Good morning. It’s the morning talk program. Could you tell me about the life of a progamer?”
I received a call from a broadcasting station. When the public broadcasting station asks for me, I spring at the chance. To spread the word about the profession of a progamer, I think that talking even once for a public radio is more effective than going on a gaming cable broadcast. Professional baseball players or soccer players always let themselves be known to the national audience through sports news, and even though progamers are supported by e-sports, they are still at a distance from the public broadcasts. But this phone call was from the public radio morning talk program. What I heard from the writers in charge was that the topic was about game addiction, and they wished to discuss the ways of overcoming game addiction. I decided to go, as I felt it was a good opportunity to let others know about the job of a progamer, as well as expressing my views about game addiction.
Besides the fact that it was a morning talk program, the MC, the studio audience, and the listeners were elderly people of my parents’ generation. I anticipated that it would be a bit difficult, but the music artist Chae Rina that liked to play games was there as well, so it seemed that she would be on my side.
But when the broadcast began, the atmosphere turned strangely. Suddenly they started talking about cyber-money and asked me, “Is cyber-money worth around 100 million won,” “Are you not addicted to games,” “If one kills another player in a game, do you feel the urge to kill them in real life,” and I was so confounded that I could not speak properly. They had left out the most important discussion about how to solve the problem of game addiction, and continued to ask outrageous questions. I did not even have much time to speak. Rather than asking me questions, they spoke in a “how could you do this” kind of tone, in a reprimanding fashion. Chae Rina, who was there with me, also could say a word. Without being able to say a single thing that I had prepared, I had to come out of the station.
It seems that more time is needed for games to take their place as one of our society’s cultures. Because I liked games, I did not think that other people would have such hostility towards them. Even when a story about a game addict appeared on television news, I assumed that it was only half of the story. I did not know that there was still an adult generation that looked at the people that loved games as game addicts. There were even people that believed the purpose of progamer groups was to produce game addicts. Even when the middle school and high school students wrote that they wanted to become progamers in the future, they thought it was just a passing phenomenon. I thought that it was because the profession of a progamer was not well-known, and that they did not properly know the truth.
But the adults misunderstood becoming a progamer as becoming a game addict. I think the biggest reason why some youth become game addicts is because they do not receive attention from their parents. I think it is because the parents never know how their children are doing, and how they are living. If the child does not have many friends and is introverted, there is a higher chance that one will fall into game addiction. It is because one can find many friends through the Internet. Those that normally don’t talk much can find online games more appealing, where they can communicate without letting themselves be known. They can say all that they wish to say, and so falling into game addiction can be an easy thing. It is more important for these children to make something that they can share with the parents. If games are a way for the parents and children to communicate, then I feel that they can naturally narrow the generation gap. If they talk to the parents about games, then they will not become game addicts. If instead the parents do not give their children their attention, the children will look for attention and go where they can make friends. If they converse while playing games, increase the time spent together, and build up their self-control by playing games during allotted times, according to the rules that they created together, there will not be any game addicts. But still the parents are too busy blaming others. They raise their voices, saying, ‘Our child is good, but because the game is violent, our child is being spoiled.’ And their blames also include progamers.
The biggest reason why I picked my job as a progamer was that I could earn a living while doing what I liked. But game addicts are those that throw away everything they have and can do nothing else because of the game they love. Anyone can briefly experience the feeling of addiction. It could be gaming, smoking or alcohol, playing baduk, or music. The adults today think that if one falls into playing baduk, it is very adult-like. But if one falls into gaming, they think that it is only playing mindlessly.
There is no need to force the generation that does not know games or does not have any interest in games. Our parents’ generation think that games are just entertainment for people that have nothing better to do. But after ten, twenty years, when the generation of parents in their 20s and 30s arrive, they will not directly think of their children playing games as being negative. They, too, had a time when they liked to play games, and understand that happiness.
Still, games have not found their place as one of our society’s cultures, and are not treated properly. More time is needed. To decrease that time period, I feel that more effort is needed to spread the word about games in broadcasts and in writing, and popularize the games and make them more common. When that happens, not only will the game industries improve, but the progamers will be able to play games in better conditions.
I believe that when the fans of progamers grow up and become part of the mainstream society, the negative thoughts towards games will disappear. And with a heart to see that day come quickly, I feel that all progamers, including myself, should be more active and make a greater effort. This is also a very important task given to us.