Six Reasons Why it Feels Good to be a Gamer
For years, almost every person you knew loved to tell you that video games were evil. They would rot your brain, make you overweight, and cause you to lose all of your friends. Before you knew it, you’d be middle-aged and living in your parent’s basement. We won’t judge you if that’s true, but at least there were some good things video games did for you along the way. So for National Video Games Day, we thought we’d take a look at why it feels good to be a gamer :
- Know Thyself…and The Guy You’re Playing
Knowing your opponent is a huge part of competition. It’s gives you an advantage most people cannot anticipate or even detect. It is one of the keys to anything competitive, from chess to martial arts. It is also one of the keys to playing video games.
Imagine yourself playing a game like Halo or Call of Duty. Which would you consider more important: reflexes and strategy or understanding the inner workings of your opponent? Surprise, it’s a trick question. The two are, at the very least, equal. One could even argue that the ability to predict a situation is more important than being able to react to it quickly.
But wait, it gets better. The ability to dissect your opponent from within is a priceless skill. It makes for shrewd entrepreneurs and capable politicians. Best of all, it’s the formula for self-knowledge. When you are able to understand the mind of your opponent, you are able to better understand your own mindset and capabilities. Boom. Psychology.
- I Dreamed a Dream
It’s not a surprise that people want to have the craziest and most intricate dreams possible. We want to blow Inception out of the water and then force it to read a list of all the reasons we make it look like a campy made-for-tv Sy Fy movie. With video games, you can literally do just that (in your dreams).
Videos games have quite the résumé for pimping out your dream. People who play videos games are more likely to lucid dream and able to control their dream actions. They also had more nightmares. But there’s no need for a double-take because in context it’s a very good thing. Gamer’s nightmares may have been more violent but they didn’t consider them to be threatening. They found them to be fun.
Better pick up those video games now. That way you’ll be prepared to triumph when the Victoria’s Secret models are attacked by a zombie mob. And by triumph, we mean brutally kill all the zombies and successfully convince the models to invite you back to their house for some fun. Sexy time kind of fun.
- Gaming High
There’s a dirty little secret out there that no one wants you to know. People like getting high. Hence that whole “war on drugs” thing. You know who really likes to get high? Preteens and teenagers. And they’re doing it without realizing it every time they play video games.
When someone has an addiction to something, that something is usually mind-altering. Video games, just like alcohol or drugs, is a mind-altering and addictive thing. In fact, two hours of playing video games produces the same high as doing a line of cocaine. Hence why it is so addictive.
So next time you’re caught up at 2AM playing Call of Duty, bring up that handy little fact. After all, it’s not an excuse, it’s science.
- Pain, Pain, Go Away
Video game’s are painfully distracting. But we don’t just mean they’re so incredibly distracting that it’s a huge pain in the ass when you realize how much time you just pissed away. They’re also a huge distraction from pain.
Yes, sports and fighting video games produce a dramatic level of pain distraction. So much so that they can be used in a variety of situations, from physical therapy to dental work. Even chemotherapy patients could benefit greatly from it. Video games might just be a wonder drug.
- They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab…
Physical therapy sucks. It’s painful. It’s depressing. It’s time-consuming. But when a situation calls for it, it must be done. There’s just no getting around it. Or is there?
Shortly after the launch of the Nintendo Wii, physical therapists gave it legitimacy. Games such as Wii Sports, which mixed exercise and motor skill development with competition and fun became an amazing alternative to more tradition and difficult physical therapy. They’re even using the Wii Balance and it’s ability to measure weight distribution to help amputees adjust to their new prosthetic limbs.
- Bye Bye Stress
Our worlds are full of stress. We’re bombarded from all sides by it. We live it, breathe it, eat it, and painfully shit it out like it’s covered in poisoned spikes. Stress, like a god damned freeloader, sleeps on our living room sofas with no intent on leaving. It’s constant presence has given rise to countless forms of stress-relief including therapy, massages, and video games. Yes, even video games are being used to help everyone just calm the fuck down. Games “designed to change people’s perceptions of social threats and boost self-confidence” were found to reduce cortisol levels by 17%. In less fancy terms, games that helped people be more optimistic and confident reduced stress. The game in the study was quite simple. Essentially, it was an interactive Where’s Waldo, if someone had drawn Where’s Waldo with their feet. Subjects were shown a screen full of frowning faces and told to click on the one smiley face hidden in the crowd as fast as possible. By playing enough, the subject’s minds were trained to focus more on the good and tune out the bad.
After all, stress may be all around us, but that doesn’t mean it has to run our lives. Just play a few video games and you can give the world exactly what you give your opponents in Halo: a stiff middle finger.