Years ago, before I thought of myself even slightly as a gamer, I had a group of friends who were definitely masters of gaming. Our combined interests were enough to bring us together, and my love of books and their love of gaming had enough similarities to make for some interesting conversations. One specific moment stands out: one of my friends said, “That’s the difference between us: you grew up reading, and we grew up playing video games.”
That line resonated with me for a long time, and it made me think, “do those two hobbies have to be mutually exclusive, or can they be combined to create a delightfully unique bookish gamer?” That answer will change from person to person and book lover to gamer, but in my somewhat humble opinion, the phenomena of bookish gamers are quite extraordinary. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what you get when you combine a love of books with a love of gaming to create a delightfully bookish gamer.
There are certainly some areas where gaming and a love of literature don’t quite mesh, and this can be found most clearly in the differing levels of human interaction between the two. Reading is generally a solitary activity, while gaming is often more enjoyable when shared with friends. Sure, gaming alone is not unheard of, but a lot of gaming culture revolves around having friends to game and chat with.
That being said, reading doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. There’s something immensely pleasurable about sitting quietly with a friend as you read. There’s also quite a lot of joy to be found in either reading a book aloud to a friend or listening to a friend read a book to you. You can even switch back and forth as you read a book to each other chapter by chapter. If you’re so inclined, you can also join or form a book club.
There also seems, at least at first, to be a disconnect between reading and gaming in the feelings evoked by each activity. Reading is generally a very calming activity, while gaming tends to bring up some more active and exciting feelings. On a surface level, gaming does tend to get your heart pumping a bit more than reading.
But when you really think about it, even though gaming can be more exciting in the moment, it still helps you feel more relaxed. While reading is certainly more of a settled activity, both reading and gaming lead to you feeling more relaxed in general.
As I was sitting down to write this, I knew I would be talking about the overlap between reading and gaming. However, I still ended up a bit surprised by the connections I found. I expected there would be some very clear differences between the two hobbies, but when it really came down to it, the differences I found turned out to be not-so-different after all.