“Games are inducing violence” “Games make you lazy” “You’ve been playing games all day, do something productive” We’ve all heard at least one of these at some point in our lives. Why is it that playing games usually comes with a stigma attached? What is it about games that make the generations before us, hate it so much? Why is it that our parents do not understand? You may have had these thoughts yourself, if you choose to play a lot of video games. The point of this post, is not to explore the negative sides of playing games; Though that will certainly be mentioned. In this post, I will explore how video games, have a positive impact on our mental health. That’s right! I said it! Positive!. You see, games, allows an individual to slip away from reality. Allows someone to embrace someone who they aren’t. Fulfill their wildest dreams, achieve ambitions. All this, from the comfort and pleasure of their own home.
At this point, you may wonder, how can a game such as GTA, where the player takes on a very criminal role, committing violent crimes, help someone’s mental health? It isn’t just GTA, thousands of games released in the previous decade, allows the player to take on such roles. How can this help? Surely, this will lead the player into actually believing they can commit these crimes, and because they have done them so easily in the game, it will trick them into thinking these crimes are just as simple in reality. Right? Wrong. In fact, even though I don’t fully understand this argument yet; The notion of crime and brutality has always been a big part of our media. We have had plays from earlier centuries, people would watch actors commit these atrocities in a play or a show. When technology evolved, eventually we started watching these crimes and violence in movies with realistic effects. There is an argument to be made that all media contains traces of violence. If that was the case, why is there only a stigma attached to playing games? Why is there not a stigma for someone who enjoys to watch horrific kinds of movies? Let’s be real for a moment. Watching a movie, is far more realistic than any game on the market today. It involves real people, acting in a certain role. We ourselves associate ourselves with that particular character or role, so who’s to say that we won’t commit those atrocities just by looking at them?
In another argument, the stigma revolving around kids, is less of a violent influence, but more of a time-wasting activity. Their loved ones do not see the productivity of playing games. The cause of this, for me, unknown. Though I have a few theories. Perhaps due to the different upbringing, conditioned in them by their guardians? I mean, it’s no lie that we are evolving exceptionally fast. Technology has become a big part of our lives in recent years. Perhaps this may be one of the reasons. I will need to do further investigating in the academia section. The cause, though relevant, seems to be minor. I enjoy looking at causes, but my main goal, is ultimately to help those who are considered “older” to understand our mentality! So let me explain to you, how games have had a positive influence in my life. I’ll number them down below!
1 – Games give me a chance to be someone else:
As a big part of ADHD, and as explained in my previous post, we have a very vivid imagination. By playing games, this allows our mind to be in our environment! Remember what I said about the time-frame we live in? We love that primitive environment, it is how my brain functions, and essentially, playing games gives me that environment. It allows me to de-stress. Forget about any worries, and ultimately, make me happy. By giving me this time to ultimately forget reality, once I am back into reality, I am usually happier. As if I had just hit the reset button! Though I have ADHD, in my journey of the game world, I have met people who have different disorders and use games to do the exact same! Neuro-Typicals too!
2 – Ambition
Now, I am a politics graduate. You may be wondering where I got my passion? Yes, I did join a politics class in college, simply to fill a spot. Where did I get that idea? WORLD OF WARCRAFT! Yes, you did read that right! World of Warcraft has its own economic system. It has a market and the people who play the game, have their own assets. They then decide whether they want to trade, buy & sell. The developers, although somewhat regulate the market. Give players the freedom to do it with it, however they please. Letting them control the prices of certain items; Letting them start their own creative businesses! Letting them create their own guild, with a bank vault to share based on merit! The game is constantly updating, and even contrasting the market when the game first started (around 14 years ago), you can see that, gold (the currency) has been devalued and inflation has risen super high! It has similar elements to that of any market! Mastering this, ultimately, gave me a lot of skills in life. But also, hinted at me to take that politics class! In most of the cases, it has defined who I am as an individual and my passions! That’s only one example! “Fortnite!” is the biggest online game at the moment. Revolutionary game where players are dropped on an island with another 99 players and only one makes it out alive! Fortnite has gotten so big, it is re-shaping the E-sports community. Every young person I have encountered plays this game! I’ve even asked a few. What would you want to be when you get a little bit older? They would always say “I want to be a popular twitch streamer”. This makes me incredibly proud. That younger people have an ambition to work towards. In essence, they are developing strength and discipline when they train in the game itself! Ill touch on this subject a tad later in the article! Keep going, not long left now!
3 – Bright Future
I must be clear on this. This is my experience, I will be writing an academic journal on it very soon, but for the moment, I just want to throw this possibility out there. Whether I’ve provided evidence in this post or not. Parents and or loved ones that I have met, are increasingly worried about their children on games. But it seems that only ten/fifteen years ago, the plague that haunted the mind of a parent, was their children starting to smoke, to do drugs and to hang around with the wrong crowd. I’m not a parent, so I cannot express the emotions that they go through. I cannot imagine, in any way, what they feel. However, from an outside perspective, I would be glad that my child was indoor, safe, being social with their friends. Dedicating themselves to something they truly love. We live in a world, where games are considered sports. These are called “E-Sports” (Eletronic Sports). If you would support someone in playing football or Basketball or any other sport, it is beyond me, how or why you would not support them in practicing games. If, you consider a sport by only physical activity, then where do you draw the line? Playing chess, in my experience, seems to have no stigma. In-fact, if you play chess, there is a somewhat notion that you are being productive… but video games, somehow, you’re not productive… in-fact you’re “Lazy”. From someone, who plays video games a lot, and dedicates a large part of life to them. I can tell you, that Chess and Fortnite are not that different. To beat a skilled opponent, you have to strategize. Very quickly. I’m talking mini-seconds! I play chess too, and I will tell you, I find Fortnite a lot harder! there are millions of games. Most games today, in order to be challenging, add a lot of strategy and puzzle aspects. I don’t want to go too deep in this subject, I just want to maybe, throw the possibility, that games also require dedication, discipline and focus. Like any other sport.
4: Mental Health
There is one thing I have learnt from my experiences. To get better at a game, I usually watch some of the best people on a platform called “Twitch”. Which I must say, is absolutely great. Now, younger people, go on Twitch and watch players such as “Ninja” or “Dr. Lupo”, there are many more, but those are my favorite. I watch them, because they interact with their viewers. A lot of their audience tune in to their stream because they enjoy It, and have problems in their lives’. At one point, I actually watched Dr. Lupo save a kid from committing suicide! Now, I don’t know about you… but these people are so incredibly popular & famous. They are the role models for a lot of individuals of all ages. To see them saving kids and helping them from committing suicide, assures that the younger people watching them, will follow the example of that mentality. They are creating a positive influence. They educate their viewers, they don’t swear. They provide a great atmosphere as do many individuals on twitch. For kids to have these roles whilst playing a game is not a negative thing. It’s a wonderful thing. They aspire to be like them. They want to become better at the game, Yes. But it’s so much more than that. They are soaking in all the good, that the streamers are doing. It’s great to see such a wonderful community flourishing.
The point of this article:
Now, I don’t want you to confuse this article. It is not saying you should 100% leave your friends, kids or loved ones stay on the game 24/7. It’s simply saying, that gaming, just like any sport provides great benefits. As a sport, it can be overdone. So, watch over your loved ones and make sure they are not over-doing it. What I mean by that is, look at it from a physical sports perspective. If you see someone you care about, training, then you are happy for them. If you see them training three times a day, you get a bit skeptical… and if they are training 24 hours a day, then you might provide psychological intervention. I myself, have had this problem with many of my friends. I tend to hyper-focus, so, when I play this game… I cannot stop. That’s okay, because I have friends who care about me and support me. They are there to help me when I need it. When I started streaming to twitch, I had a lot of negative feedback from my distant friends. They hated it, they said, what’s the point? You’re just lazy. Whereas, when I was fighting professionally, they all supported me. In reply to those people today, I will probably say, I am not the biggest streamer, I am definitely not as popular, but my journey… has achieved something greater for me. I have created a small community in which people can feel safe and talk to each other. Everyone on my stream, I met at the start and we have grown together. We have a server dedicated to mental health, and I personally talk to them about their problems and their day during my stream. The point of this post is for not for self-promotion. Therefore, I will not be posting the link to my Twitch. I hope that this post has at least given you an insight into the mind of a gamer! Don’t be so quick to judge people who do this for a passion! It is great, it’s amazing, there is an amazing community! And IT IS PRODUCTIVE!
Warning: The pictures & Video are not my cotent. Only the writing.