Video games are fun. Sometimes, they’re too much fun.
We may find ourselves glued to the TV, or whatever screen you’re using, for hours trying to get to the next level or complete some sort of task. If you’re a hard-working, and passionate adult video games can provide a healthy retreat or distraction when you want to unwind. A little Playstation over the weekend or after work is always a treat. In my experience video games have helped me relieve stress and made me more ambitious towards my passions in life. When I turn off my Wii (yes I still use a Wii), or my PS4 after a couple hours of fun I return to my work excited with a clear mind.
I’m not a serious or heavy duty gamer, my knowledge of video games is modest. I just know that with the recent popularity of nostalgia culture, which includes consoles that were made in the 1990s like the Nintendo 64, SNES, Playstation, and Sega systems I get taken back to a time when I used to be in my basement playing Super Mario 64, Banjo Tooie, Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Mischief Makers to name but a few. I begin to realize that video games have been a sizable part of my life. This is why I consider myself a gamer.
And while I cherish my Nintendo 64s and Playstation Ones I can’t get enough of all the X Box Ones and, of course, PlayStation 4. It’s hard to believe Playstation 4’s release price was lower than X Box One’s and now a used X Box One is cheaper, in some places, than the PS4. Another crazy thing you should wrap your head around is the fact that millennials (ages 18-35) account for not even a third of the American gaming population at 27%! Baby Boomers (72-54) also account for roughly 26% of the US gaming population. After all, they grew up with arcades and some of the first consoles, such as Atari. So, perhaps, there is some sort of track record of how video games can benefit people. Let’s see how.
In the past, psychological studies tended to show how video games contribute to depression, violent tendencies, addiction, and so forth, but now new studies are emerging on the positive effects video games have on social and motivational levels. This is due to the increasing complexity, familiarity, and social nature of contemporary gaming. For example, when I play Call of Duty Black Ops 3 multiplayer online I get to play against a team of real people that challenge me intensely and improve my skills and sense of connection. My score goes up and I feel like a sense of community when the friend requests come in on my PlayStation Network. It’s all, quite literally, fun and games. Nobody is getting hurt, physically at least, maybe emotionally lol, and we all live to play another day so that we can improve with each match.
Many studies surrounding the benefits of perception and cognition skills from gaming are flawed and biased in their testing of expert and non-gamers. So it is often inaccurately measured that gaming expertise produces higher levels of such skills. This is known to be attributed to the study’s selection processes in which experts have more confidence to perform well while non-gamers do not show the same prowess, described as a placebo effect. If you want to know more about the experimental psychology surrounding video games and cognition Google Scholar is your friend.
Now let’s talk about something that’s piqued my interest lately: PC Gaming.
Most would regard PC gaming as the superior form of gaming. I had a friend who used to play endless World of Warcraft back when he still lived with his parents in the mid-2000s. He would get himself in trouble by constantly being on the game instead of going to bed. But honestly, could you blame him? There are so many advantages to gaming on a PC that most people aren’t aware of like custom design options, never having to purchase new consoles and just upgrading your hardware, better graphics, and games online might also be CHEAPER. I’ve never had the opportunity to be big time PC gamer because I have a 2010 Macbook and not a gaming laptop, which are amazing creations. Some of the best gaming laptops are super expensive, however, PC gaming accounts for nearly 68% of gamers (mygaming.com). I guess it’s worth the extra cash knowing you’re getting the game system of a lifetime. Whichever you decide, PC or console, if you’re a real and dedicated gamer make sure you know what you’re doing with your money.
While PC gaming dope it’s unclear as to if they differ in the same kind of benefits than console gaming. They appear to more attractive to a market populated with advanced gamers who play more than the average of about 6.3-10 hours per week (Aamoth, May 2014). Steam.com is an incredible source of online gaming to fill your heart’s desires with reasonable prices…on a portable device. If I had a snazzy laptop odds are I’d be gaming everywhere every day. Perhaps after a while of getting used to the convenience, and superiority of laptop gaming, I’d see the world through a much rosier lens. Because I wouldn’t have to worry about someone stealing my games, and I can play some of the best games anywhere there is an internet connection.
On second thought.
That could also lead to unhealthy gaming addictions which could send your life into a tailspin if you are an adult with serious responsibilities. But the key is to moderate your time and energy and develop healthy habits. If you can’t take control of the amount of time you spend gaming then there are probably some things you need to reevaluate.
Thanks for reading and if you have any comments you’d like to add please do so below.