We all have that one friend who keeps to himself in a corner, perhaps on a sofa, busy with his phone, his eyes glued to the bright screen, playing an online game for hours and hours without even knowing it. Sometimes, that friend is you.
Many parents raise an eyebrow when it comes to online gaming. They claim it hurts your eyes/gives you permanent eye damage, makes you lazy, or say it does not do you any good. Given they were raised in a completely different generation – a time when smartphones and gaming consoles may not have yet been invented – it is easy for them to label gaming as bad. If smartphones, the Wii, PS4, and Xbox were available in the 70’s, your parents, too, would have been addicted.
Much has been said about the negative aspects of gaming and gaming online, but let’s just briefly talk about the good things you can get from playing.
Gamers learn more about setting and achieving certain goals.
Some games, especially RPGs, have certain quests that need to be fulfilled. But before you can even attempt said quest, you must first acquire skills, materials, weapons, etc. It is in this fashion that it could be said that gamers learn to set goals and priorities, and structure/prioritize them in a logical fashion from a very early age. Often times, when one can’t clear a certain stage or level, one would need to go through everything again. This gets frustrating and forces the player to be more creative in their manner of thinking. The moment the quest is cleared, we do feel a certain sense of satisfaction, and the ability to advance.
Online gaming is fun!
When people ask why I dedicate X amount of time playing Y online game, I have only one answer, it’s fun! Online gaming can be a way to release anger, stress, and frustration. It lets your mind wander for a bit, which can help you forget or move past bad experiences. Had a messy breakup? Download an online game and dive right into it (Steam has supported me this way for years, haha).
At times, your mood asks for a different game. Sometimes you get to play as a knight. Sometimes you run and keep running from a bunch of zombies. But if you are in the mood for some real gaming and earning real cash, the best mobile casinos are just a click away.
Gamers can practice their social skills.
Oddly enough, online gaming can be a haven for those with poor social skills, and may even help develop them. Most online games can be played with friends you’ve either known for a while or with people you just met in-game. Developing the ability to create engaging rapport via chat can be incredibly useful in work situations, especially when writing emails. Furthermore, lifelong friendships can be found by meeting someone in a game. I have a significant number of friends who met online while playing a game, who then went on to marry each other.
Gamers can be physically demanding.
The typical stereotype of a gamer is one who slouches on the sofa in a basement all day, drinking Mountain Dew and eating Hot Pockets. While a fair amount of my college life was indeed spent this way, motion sensors have allowed for significant advances in body-reading videogame technology. Playing tennis, bowling, golf, and other such motion-activated games can lead to moderate caloric burn, and is a great way to get the body moving.
Furthermore, a 2010 study published in the telegraph.co.uk showed reaction times of some elite gamers were on-par with that of professional athletes and jet pilots, which leads me to my next point.
Gamers tend to respond and make faster decisions.
Gaming, online MMORPGs in particular, places a strong emphasis on situational awareness and sensitivity to what is going on around the player. The processing of this information often times has to be handled at a quick pace, which leads to the ability to quickly make rapid and logical decisions. This article from Rochester.edu shows a scientific study on the how and why.
Gamers may develop a love for history.
Many games are based on actual historical events that took place, or have settings based on the culture of a certain country. With that being said, gamers are then oftentimes indirectly exposed to such information, and absorb it passively. While this may lead to a love of history, or even an interest in said culture, there is no doubt that we learn from gaming. I can’t tell you how many phrases I’ve learned in Japanese and French because of this.
Gamers are more competitive.
Some games tell you how you fared at the end of each level or stage (S-Rank or get out of here). This may be one of the reasons why gamers are some of the most competitive types of people you will ever meet. Sometimes they’ll go through a stage over and over just to improve their skills and gameplay, and to search for higher efficiencies (speed runs, anyone?).
Competitive gameplay with a friend is also a great way to measure skill, and while winning feels nice, and losing can hurt a ton. This creates a sense of loss aversion to losing, which can be a tremendously strong motivating factor in driving you to improve. This mindset can be further expanded to real-life situations, and can help create the impetus for you to move up the corporate ladder.
Gamers learn to be patient.
The completion of certain games can also take a long time, with players often devoting weeks, months, and even years to reach endgame content. Such play is not for the faint of heart, and takes commitment, a strong will, and patience. Sitting for hours grinding levels or farming for materials is a large part of certain types of gameplay, and this imbues the player with a sense of dedication and delayed gratification.
Do you remember those shooting games you played in your childhood? Or the role-playing game wherein you played as a doctor? These games can actually inspire kids to be someone that matters in the future. Be it a firefighter, a dentist, or even a pilot. Simulation games give you a feeling how it feels to be these types of people. As a firefighter, you were given a task to rescue survivors first and then put out the fire as soon as possible. Did you feel good when you were able to rescue that poor family stuck on the fifth floor? Or did you finally make a decision to be a doctor someday when you successfully operated on a kid who came in complaining about a tooth ache? Certain games give us sudden epiphanies, and sometimes, you just got to find the one.
Do you find playing online games addictive? Do you have tips you would like to share about online gaming? Share them with us and let us know in the comments section!
Images by StockSnap and StartupStockPhotos under CC0 Public Domain license.