Your folks are genetically programmed to stop you doing the things you like. Fact. It doesn't matter how hard you try to reason with them, to their ears your well-reasoned words are only confirming their worst fears. Or perhaps even more scarily, confirming that they have no understanding whatsoever of the modern world.
So when the inevitable happens, just recite our perfect retort and feel smug. Just don't blame us if you get grounded for ever.
They won't help your career
"You won't get a job by playing games all day"
"Imagine if you put as much time into your homework as you do those games…"
Basically, your P + M will never be happy with the amount of time you spend studying, even it's 16 hours a day and you have a dictaphone teaching you calculus from under your pillow while you sleep.
Of course, if ever proof was needed that playing games can get you’re a fulfilling and exciting career, you're looking right at it. And of course, if writing's not your thing you could always take a degree in game design. Failing both of those, you can at least argue it's relaxing your mind. That way you can veg out in an entirely guilt-free mindset:
What you can say in your defence: "I'm merely resting my mind between study sessions to avoid saturating my memory with information. If our brains are like sponges, videogames replenish their porosity."
That'll learn 'em.
Where will the grandkids come from?
"You're never going to get a girlfriend/boyfriend playing those games all the time"
"Girls will think you're a geek"
"Oh there are men in these fighting games too?"
It's just sod's law that your parents always come in when you're face-straddling Tina as Kasumi while they're wearing bunny girl outfit and bra-less dungarees respectively. Or worse, at the exact moment the humiliation bar fills during a mud match on Rumble Roses. A near-naked girl covered in mud and pleading for mercy straight at the camera is pretty hard to explain away. Except…
What you can say in your defence: "Think about it, this way, mum/dad. You can either have me here where you know where I am and what I'm doing, or I can start going out until 4am, or sleeping around and getting in trouble. Which would you rather have?"
Misunderstanding the technology
"I don't like you playing it on our TV - you'll break it"
"Don't use cheats - you'll break it"
"Don't press all the buttons at once, it'll short circuit"
For some reason, several members of the older generation believe that televisions are only meant to show television programmes and that putting anything else into the back of it will cause a fire. Fortunately, many parents are becoming more savvy as they spend your inheritance on massive TVs and cinema systems so they can watch detailed, graphic documentaries on the mating rituals of lions (no, we never understood why they do that, either). But what's with the short circuit thing?
What you can say in your defence: "TV sets these days can accept a whole variety of inputs – look, the menu on the TV says 'SOURCE' which means they're designed to accept more than one source – not just TV pictures. As for cheats, well, the people who make the games program them in when they make is because they know people will want to use them. You can't 'break' the game by pressing the buttons. Yes, even all of them. Look."
Worth it if only to see them flinch and take cover from the imminent explosion.
Not getting how to play
"No, I won't have a go – I'll only 'fall off'"
"But they all run around whether I press the buttons or not"
"No, I'll die"
Logic tells us that the best way to garner understating is to encourage your old man and mutti to experience games for themselves. But be warned – they have very strange attitudes towards gaming. Maybe they played Sonic once and kept falling off the bottom of the screen and now believe that every game features such pitfalls.
Sadly, they're actually speaking the truth. Watch any older-generation gaming newbie have a go on games and witness as they drawn towards the only pitfall in the whole level, as if pulled by an invisible force. They teeter on the edge, panicking, pressing buttons at random, causing their character to jump straight in. This then applies to all games. Even if it's a puzzle game and there's no dying in it.
Above: The horrific, gory, ineveitable outcome of Peggle
What you can do to help: Put on Burnout and explain that it doesn't matter if you crash – that's where the fun is. And when they start making disapproving noises about the disgusting violence and horrific implications of doing this in real life, point out the 3+ age rating and that these cars don't even have drivers in them. It's like radio controlled cars. "Surely you can't disapprove of radio controlled cars, can you?"