MMORPGs, More Than Just A Hobby?
Knitting. Stamp collecting. Taxidermy. All healthy and traditional hobbies. Then, of course, there’s the MMORPG – healthy hobby too or something more,something that borders on the lines of lifestyle, work or even obsession?
Wikipedia defines a hobby as “an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, often in one’s spare time.” and that may well apply to the first three examples I stated but what about MMOs? To me, a hobby is something that someone indulges in occasionally – like building a model railway on a Sunday afternoon – not something that one plugs away at for hours upon hours every day and week and month. I just can’t imagine someone getting as worked up about knitting as they do about MMORPGs.
To some, I’m sure gaming with their favourite MMO is a casual hobby but to most of us, it’s more than that. It’s something we partake in to a large degree, sometimes to excess, and something we take very seriously indeed. I know plenty of people (including myself in the past) who would lock themselves away for days to play a MMORPG. Is that normal amongst hobbies?
Writing this, I think myself naive for assuming that MMORPGs are the only hobbies that drive us to distraction and obsession. Perhaps because they’re the only one that’s made me feel that way. Although I still have plenty of other interests, in my younger days I had absolutely tons of hobbies. CCGs/TCGs, table-top miniatures, photography, longboarding (think stakeboard but loooonger… and yes, size does matter), drinking, wrestling, politics, writing, medieval history, and pontificating one’s own navel. None of them, however, dragged me in like MMORPGs and caused me to lose hours upon hours of my life to them.
So what is it about MMORPGs? Are they just the same as any other hobby out there or are they actually more than that? Is there something about MMOs that separates them from the traditional concept of hobby? I can’t help but feel that they are more of a lifestyle choice than a mere hobby.