For the majority of the population (mostly parents), video games are a complete waste of time and efforts. Every gamer, irrespective of where he may reside, has definitely heard the disadvantages of playing games. But do you know that video games can actually have a positive impact on your life. And I do not mean to stress upon the fact that by shooting a couple of aliens you can become a top achiever in life. You need to understand that there are loads of other games apart from the shooting action and they are helping people in several ways.
The best example is a simulation game where you are given the complete freedom to manoeuvre vehicles, build a city or simply participate in day to day activities in a virtual environment. What is so great about this? Well for a start, the mistakes that you make are completely harmless and won’t cost you anything in real life. Moreover, you can keep doing the same thing over and over again till you feel that you have adequate command over it. Some of the nation building or management simulations can ago a long way in training a person to understand the finer nuances of the application. For example, if you were to practice your management skills in FIFA Manager Games, then you can expect to make less mistakes if you are ever put in the position to handle a real team.
Think about all the emotions that a gamer experiences during playing games. Anger, sadness, happiness and a whole lot of other emotions. We should take more seriously the idea that games helps us feel better, in the moment, and that this is important work. Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology proposed a new framework in 2011 where he introduced the concept of PERMA where;
- P – Positive Emotions
- E – Engagement with challenging work and activities that require us to use our personal strengths
- R – Relationships or strong social connections with friends, family, peers
- M – Meaning or a sense of being a part of something bigger than ourselves or being of service to a larger group or cause
- A – Accomplishment or the chance to learn, get better and achieve
On evaluating gamers about their level of emotional satisfaction (by keeping PERMA as the evaluating criteria), we were able to deduce that players are indeed happy about playing video games and they are not only able to develop their skills (fast reflexes, better judgement, quick decision making, teamwork, etc.) but also better hand-eye coordination. With every game comes a new challenge that they must overcome. The level of challenge is becoming increasingly difficult due to the integration of cloud servers which enable players from across the globe to play together in real time.
From a psychological perspective, there is something transcendent about playing games that lifts us up and out of the tedium and pain of everyday life. You may have a million reasons to be frustrated, but you can always take out your aggression on the games (pretty harmless) instead of bellowing out on your colleagues or close ones. What could be better than this? And if you are able to develop the right set of skills, you could also be selected to take part in testing out prototype games or new versions before they are even released in the market. How cool is that!
Video games play an important part in our lives and we should learn to focus on the greater good that is obtained. The society will be judgmental and it could take a very long time before we are able to change their perceptions about video gaming. Till then, the best that we can do on our part is to follow the right approach to gaming so that we can prove to the world that we are not wrong in choosing to be a gamer.