Escapism as a Positive

Using Avatar as a benchmark, a USA Today opinion piece praises the mainstream adoption of fantasy in media such as movies, novels and videogames.

The author wonders if the popularity of World of Warcraft, The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter indicates that today’s society is obsessed with escapism, or the ability to leave the real-world behind for the chance to immerse oneself in a fantasy world.

The scribe answers with a resounding no, and offers a positive spin on the new state of geek (and gaming) culture:

I’ve met hundreds of gamers and geeks. Their reasons for embracing fantasy and gaming aren’t about mindless escapism. Games teach social skills, leadership and strategy; they inspire creativity and storytelling.

They provide rites of passage, accomplishment and belonging, even belief systems. They let people safely try out aspects of their personalities — often dark, evil sides, or extroverted or flirtatious — that they can’t or won’t flex in "real life." The games connect folks to magical thinking, to nature, to a primal, pick-up-your-battle-ax and kill mentalities long suppressed by so-called society.

As an added bonus, the author writes, the ability to insert ourselves into a different world—even if only for a short time—allows us to mitigate the “minutiae of our modern, mundane troubles.”


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  1. 0
    sharpshooterbabe says:

    I agree w/hellfire here. There is nothing wrong w/escapism. That reminds me of what I read in my Cosmopolitan magazine about how daydreaming is healthy for you b/c you think of diff ways to go about situations or think about your problems or what you will say to your boss about how to get a raise & so on. So escapism is good for everyone. I would rather be addicted to escapism in a game rather than worrying every single minute & day & hour about my problems I have. It is just like a drug only interactive & not hurting me. :)



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. 0
    Adamas Draconis says:

    Was about to bring up that point myself, and how in the workaday your basicly expected to act like a meat robot with no intitive(sp?) or emotions except maybe the cheerfully helpful moron. No wonder people like to go online and blow the F(&K out of stuff. If I didn’t I’d probably beat half the idiots i’ve dealt with working retail.

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  3. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    I’m getting the feeling that many anti game types do hate the escapism part. They know that escapism is a way to escape the stresses and depressing factors of the serious world, adn think we all need to be as serious, depressed and stressed as they are all the time.

  4. 0
    SeanB says:

    I’m also the proud parent of 2 young gamers! we should have a play date! i’ve got a wii!

    on topic though, i dont agree with this article at all. Escapism in MMO’s exists because these games offer a world with rather simple and easy to control rules. If i play, i win. I know what it takes to get that next level, that next item, and it’s very rarely that anyone can take that away from me. if i fail, i know why, and i know how to get better.

    Compare that to real life, where i can get fired because the boss’s wife doesn’t like my haircut, and you start to realize why people are comforted to be in a world with simple rules.

  5. 0
    axiomatic says:

    Hey "parents", what exactly is wrong with "escapism?"

    Main Entry: es·cap·ism
    Pronunciation: \is-ˈkā-ˌpi-zəm\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1933

    : habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine

    Sounds healthy to me.

    Yes, I am a proud parent of two burgeoning (maybe a little skinny) gamers.

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