Good-With-Computers, Part Four: Gamers

by Larry Emmott on November 1, 2011

in Anti-Buzz,Hardware

Buzz: Computer Games are for Kids

Anti Buzz: Gaming Drives Hardware Innovation

(Editor’s Note: I have extended the series on types of computer users as written by Andrew to insert this short but interesting item, he wrote it as an aside to part three but I thought it deserved a post of its own. LE)

Gamers: I won’t define what a “good” and “bad” gamer is – that would be like defining good and bad readers, or good and bad film viewers. There is good taste and bad taste and there are lines that get placed somewhere and that’s all I’ll say.

I bring up gaming because gaming is the most hardware-intensive thing that casual users do, and as such gamers often find themselves at odds with the computer they have on their desk.

Gamers are prone to hardware experimentation and are the casual user demographic most likely to open up their own computer and start swapping parts around. Similarly, gaming in general exercises problem-solving skills and abstract-thinking, though you can get this from a crossword puzzle or a weekly bridge match just as easily as you can from Dinosaur Shotgun 3D, (Now with pixels!).

The cognitive benefits of gaming might be that they improve your problem solving and abstract thinking skills, but just like there is trashy pulp literature and art, there are trashy pulp games too. Gaming is not a waste of time, but you can sure waste a lot of time gaming. The Technophile/Technophobe line here is drawn over how much time you waste gaming, but that’s another article for another blog entirely, but the intuition is easy to understand: does the gamer fear trying games other than the genre they are comfortable with? (Like someone who only reads mysteries or only reads romance novels, or only reads obscure snooty literature). Do they get particularly frustrated with failure? Do they eschew competitive gaming with others? These are all the technophobic traits I outlined earlier: Fear of failure and fear of finding a better way.

People who enjoy computer games begin to delve into the knowledge needed to be either IT Support, or an actual computer programmer, or both. The irony is that some of them try to learn how to program as a means to make video games of their own, which is oft considered the least satisfying branch of the software engineering business, when they really just need to realize that programming itself holds the same intellectual rewards that gaming does.

(Editor’s Note 2:) The demands of advanced gamers for speed and realistic 3D graphics has been the driving force behind many of the hardware developments we have seen in recent years, especially in 3D graphics. It is not unreasonable to state that we owe our amazing 3D CBCT software capabilities to gamers.

As an aside as Andrew noted gamers (and many dentists are in fact gamers) are more comfortable with getting inside the computer box and stirring things up. I make the comparison to a typical driver who appreciates a good car, knows how to drive it well understands the mechanics on a superficial level but would never consider doing any  major work on the engine. That is a typical computer user. Then there is the hot-rodder who does everything the typical driver does but is constantly opening the hood tweaking this or that to get a bit more performance and is not afraid to replace the fuel intake or remake the transmission. That’s a gamer 

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