I blame the paracingulate sulcus.
Well, you know, at least in part.
There are several schools of thought on the deception of the brain when it comes to discerning reality, and one of them is that in general, we can’t. Not just on a philosophical level (Are we someone else’s dream? Are we plugged into machines that are sending virtual worlds into our head? Is this all just a game?) but the idea that what we experience virtually (through gaming, or stories, or dreams) is the same as reality when it comes to the brain. The mnemonic characteristics (the way we remember something) depends strongly on perceptual details in order to tell whether it’s an imagined memory or a matter of experience.
Let’s take a step to the side now, and look at our consumption of media. The shows we watch want to manipulate you. They want you to feel happy, and sad, and in the case of most news and commercial broadcasts, scared. The general average for how much information we get via our senses is that sight is (unless there is some sort of impairment) the most significant part of it, and thus we watch the lives of others go by. We might also be listening to it – the music of a scene can help us anticipate what is going to happen, or what we should be feeling. Generally we can tell that a movie is a movie.
On the other hand if we take a console game, now we’ve got more senses involved. We’ve got touch, we’re adding proprioception , pressure, time, and often some virtual grasp of equilibrioception, at the least. A console game is even more involving. It might make it harder for us to determine which parts of it are real, right?
One more step, and let’s look at gaming. LARP, especially, has us living the experience. We’re involved with all of our senses. Even at the table, we’re experiencing the lives of other people. It is an intimate experience, involved and intense as we are adventuring, possibly living more than we do behind our desktops, changing or saving the world(s), being bigger than life, out on the edge… heroes, villains, and very few of us spend our hours in the hobby simply being mundane.
So, with all of this in mind, we’re passionate about what we love. We’re primed and programmed to be involved on a primal level. When you don’t like something I like, you’re this close to invalidating my intense experiences. Ever get your hackles up because someone called you a liar when you weren’t, and you suffered because you weren’t?
If you liked Second Edition AD&D, I’m calling you a liar.
Only as an example. All of the investment you’ve made into a system is significant. I won’t defend my system preferences to the death, exactly, but when you start talking smack about Nightlife, it might be to first blood.
Why am I blaming the paracingulate sulcus? Well, as we’re learning it has a pretty interesting role in the discernment of reality. Gamers might just be born that way…wouldn’t that be amusing?