Do Engineers Play Video Games?

Do engineers play video games? You bet! Engineers of all types play, especially the younger generation who grew up with a controller in hand.

I’ve seen how video games have woven their way into the lives of nearly every engineer, delivering a treasure trove of awesome benefits, such as:

  • Brain-teasing problem-solving challenges
  • A glimpse into alternate realities that, like sci-fi books, spark inventive ideas
  • A finger on the pulse of cutting-edge technologies
  • Fantastic entertainment and a welcome escape from the daily grind of engineering work

These perks often slip under the radar, but they’re super valuable to us engineers.

I’m a die-hard gamer for life

Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers (Photo Credit: Tony Bennett)

I’ve been hooked on gaming ever since I was a little tyke. It all began with the classic Nintendo console, as I spent countless hours playing “Super Mario Bros.” and “Duck Hunt.” The moment I gripped that rectangular Nintendo controller, I was sold.

As the years rolled by, I graduated to games like “Mario 64” and “Final Fantasy 7,” ultimately getting lost in epic titles such as “The Last of Us.”

Video games have always had a special place in my heart, although my gaming habits have evolved over time.

I know loads of long-time gamers share a similar journey. If you’re an engineer like me, you probably grew up with at least one of these iconic consoles:

Video Game Console NameConsole Release Date
Atari 26001977
Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)1985
Sega Genesis1988
Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)1991
Nintendo 641996
PlayStation 22000

Playing video games as a long-time engineer

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t play as much as I used to, and here’s why:

1) Time limitations

Between juggling family and work, I’ve got very little free time to spend on gaming.

2) Expanding interests

Nowadays, I’m more into building stuff than just consuming what others have created. When I do play, I get the itch to create, making it even harder to just sit back and enjoy.

3) Wasted time

I increasingly feel like I’m wasting time when gaming. I catch myself thinking, “Why am I cruising around a virtual world chasing imaginary criminals?” Knowing that game developers design games to keep us hooked with perfectly timed dopamine hits only makes me more protective of my time. I’ve started weighing the opportunity costs of my actions, evaluating the trade-offs.

Back when I was a carefree kid, I’d jam my “GoldenEye” cartridge into my N64 and play all night without a second thought. My only mission was to take out the bad guys and settle the score with Alec Trevelyan.

Can you be an avid gamer AND a great engineer?

A top-notch engineer is someone who spearheads projects and tackles intricate problems, while a passionate gamer is someone who spends hours on end glued to their screens. Both are clearly time-consuming endeavors. So, how can you possibly juggle both with finesse? Well, if you restrict your gaming marathons to weekends, I can see it working out. Swap out TV time or nights out with friends for some gaming action.

Keep in mind that you can totally be an enthusiastic gamer and an engineer. Just accept that you’ll likely be a regular employee, not a 10x engineer raking in over $500,000 a year. I know engineers who hit the games hard from 6:00 PM until midnight. But they usually don’t have a family to take care of.

Future of video games for me

virtual reality 3d gear
Photo Credit: Stéphane Bernard

Even though I game less and less these days, I’m still utterly fascinated by video games. Honestly, there’s never been a better time to be a gamer.

The leaps and bounds happening in the gaming industry are just mind-boggling. Add to that the sheer volume of fantastic, budget-friendly games at your fingertips. Here’s a shortlist of what I’m stoked about:

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo games are not only a trip down memory lane, but they’re a total blast. Nintendo developers just know how to create simple, yet irresistibly fun games.

And guess what? You can even squeeze in a workout while enjoying some killer games on the Switch. As someone who’s all about exercise and gaming, it’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is set to seep into the engineering world even more. Engineering will borrow a thing or two from video games, like project simulations. Imagine exploring a new engineering design right from your office.

At the same time, I can’t wait to see gaming’s future in 3D virtual worlds. I bet games will become insanely immersive.

PS5 and Xbox Series X

I’m totally hooked on these next-gen consoles. Even though I don’t play much, I can’t help but follow the tech. The games look more lifelike than ever, making them utterly mesmerizing.

The shift in the types of games I play today

These days, I only reach for certain games when I grab a controller.

Linear versus open-world games

Open-world games offer endless possibilities, letting your heart run wild. But, with a packed schedule, their vastness can be downright daunting. That’s why I steer clear of them.

I don’t want to spend hours searching for a key just to unlock a castle door. I could’ve spent that time with my family, working, or exercising.

So, hand me an awesome 2D game, and I’ll be grinning from ear to ear. No wasted time exploring – just non-stop action from the moment I pick up the controller.

Don’t get me wrong; I still appreciate open-world games. They’re just not my jam anymore.

Multiplayer games

Growing up, I adored competitive multiplayer games. Trash-talking my friends while annihilating them in games like ‘Golden Eye’ or racing all night in ‘Mario Kart’ was a blast.

Nowadays, my competitive streak is stronger than ever. So, laying the smackdown on my friends is still a thrill.

Plus, online play makes it a breeze to connect with friends, no matter how hectic adult life gets. It’s never been easier to play together while catching up.

Grinding in games to level up

As an avid gamer, I’m no stranger to the grind. You know, that repetitive cycle of playing the same level or mission over and over to level up your character. Back in the day, I was all about it. I’d spend countless hours immersed in ‘Final Fantasy 7’, scouring the open world for prime monster-fighting spots to rack up that sweet, sweet experience. My goal? Max out each character, even if it wasn’t necessary to beat the game.

Nowadays, the idea of grinding seems absolutely bonkers to me. It’s like a form of self-inflicted torture. But as a kid, there was a certain innocence in my love for the grind that I can’t help but cherish. And, in a weird twist, I have to thank those obsessive grinding sessions for shaping the relentless, detail-oriented engineer I am today.

Video game selection

When I was younger, there weren’t many games to choose from, and each one came with a hefty $59.99 price tag. For my family, that was a big deal back then.

Fast forward to today, and we’re swimming in a sea of gaming options from both big-name developers and indie game creators. It’s an absolute gamer’s paradise. And as an engineer, I’m fortunate enough to have the funds to buy pretty much any game that catches my eye. But it’s a double-edged sword. In a way, the sheer volume of options has dulled the magic of gaming.

Now, I have a stack of unopened games collecting dust on my shelf, while as a kid, I’d play each game I owned to death. Honestly, I kind of miss those days – being totally in the moment, savoring every bit of a game before moving on to the next shiny new thing.

“Do engineers play video games?” wrap up

Video games offer a fantastic escape from the stresses of adult life, and for many engineers like myself, they’re a nostalgic trip back to simpler times. Sure, as we get older and life gets busier, we might not play as often, but the itch is always there.

And let’s not forget that video games can be a great conversation starter in the engineering workplace. Most of us have a bit of nerd in us, after all, and we love to swap stories about our gaming adventures.

What kind of video games do you play? Have you found that many of your coworkers share your passion for gaming?

Featured Image Photo Credit: Tony Bennett (image cropped)


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