Imagine yourself talking to someone who has never heard of videogames. Unlikely I know, but what would you tell them? What could you possibly say that would make them interested in playing one? It's actually much harder than you think. We play them because we like them, but why exactly do we play? What keeps us coming back again and again? On the off-chance you'll find yourself with someone from a distant place like Mars or even Alaska – who has literally never heard of Mario or Kratos or the Master Chief – you'll need to say something that would make them very intrigued about videogames. It could go a little something like this…
The chance for entertainment and to unwind
The term 'time-killer' is a bit intense with regards to playing videogames. Sure, some people might play Fruit Ninja or Candy Crush on their phone while waiting for a train, but for the majority out there, time spent playing games is never, ever wasted – it's cherished. Much like reading a book or watching a movie, playing games is merely a chance to give your brain a break from real-world issues, while getting some superb entertainment at the same time. You can’t tell me that executing a perfect powerslide in Mario Kart while hitting the race leader with a green shell to take the win isn't the definition of awesome theatre. And what's the best thing about that? You control what happens on-stage. Movies and books are set in stone, but videogames allow us to create scenarios that are almost impossible to replicate.
Escapism and roleplay
Much like the previous point, videogames give us a sense of escaping reality, but more importantly, a reality where we feel truly entrenched. Role-playing games (RPGs) give the freedom of creating an avatar – a digital you. Skyrim, Fable, World of Warcraft and many more titles let us customize our characters as we see fit, and though we might not look anything like our virtual counterparts, we can still make our characters as heroic or mischievous as we want. We can even choose to play as a female or male. Videogames are harmless roleplay at its best. It doesn't hurt that many of the stories are as captivating as they are beautiful. Many gamers agree that titles such as BioShock, The Last of Us, and Red Dead Redemption go well beyond just pixels on a screen and resonate long after the console is switched off.
A sense of community
While it's true that playing videogames has far less of a bonding experience compared to being on a football or basketball team, for example, but that's not to say it's totally without a sense of community. MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games like League of Legends and Dota 2 are notorious for stressing the importance of working as a team to be truly victorious. As you'll be playing online, you'll rarely physically see your teammates, but you can still communicate via a headset or by chat boxes.
In professional esports circles, however, you'll most certainly be playing together in a live setting, as the aforementioned MOBA games also have their own hugely popular championship games played in stadiums across the world. That's right, people love to watch others play games as much as they enjoy playing them on their own! Furthermore, creating your own gaming servers has also risen in popularity of late, which means that for some titles, along the lines of Minecraft and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, once you find the hardware for your dedicated server, you can make the rules and choose which people you want to play with. In short: ultimate gaming independence.
Heighten an already-existing hobby
Finally, videogame players get a bad rep for sitting indoors all day and never doing any actual sport or exercise – this is nowhere close to the truth. Sports titles, like FIFA 18 or NBA 2K18, allow us to control our favorite sports stars, be it Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors or Ronaldo of Real Madrid. More importantly, they make us excited about actually playing the respective sports live. Who wouldn't want to immediately run outside and attempt a cool move they just saw a virtual NBA player make on their Xbox? A certain level of strategic thinking is often needed for videogames too, like card game Hearthstone or mind-melting puzzle platformer game Portal – skills that come in useful in the real world.
So if those aren't enough reasons to convince your new intergalactic friend to try out videogames, then maybe it could be that they're just not for them. But in the end, who cares? Because they are important to you and that's all that matters.