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Video Games: 3 Good Reasons Adults Can Play Too
I am a man with an eclectic social circle and because of the wide variety of characters in my “party” I have often been faced with the question of whether or not video games deserve to hold a place in the life of a mature adult. Do we, as fathers, mothers, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, grocery store cashiers, and even pastors, really have the time or the right to indulge in such frivolity when the world is falling to pieces around us? Should we be devoting any of our precious time to saving imaginary worlds when the fate of our own world hangs in the balance? These are the questions I want to answer here, and since everyone knows that the best way to get someone to read anything is to make it into a list, here’s your list.
- Video games are no worse than other distractions and amusements – This argument may seem a bit utilitarian, but when coupled with the remaining points it will prove legitimate. Listen, I’m sure we can all agree that an hour in a game world is no more wasteful than an hour watching football or – shudder – Jersey Shore. If we are talking about time wasted I would ask you to consider what about television is more redeeming than gaming. When you really look at it, the fact is that in most cases video games are better than just watching television for reasons we’ll consider in point #2.
There are still those rare people who spend lots of time participating in more beneficial activities like reading, but since most of the people criticizing innocent gamers invest a healthy amount of their waking hours transforming themselves into sofa-sitting starchy tubers, this argument should appease the majority of critics.
- Video games promote thinking and help develop problem-solving skills – Right off the bat here I want to clear up a misclassification of Video games. They are definitely entertainment, but they aren’t always amusement. When we talk about amusement we don’t often consider what that word “amuse” even means. We tend to classify anything that’s not overtly productive as amusement. That may not be the case where it involves video games. See, the word amuse comes from the Greek word for ‘think’ which is ‘muse,’ plus the negating ‘a’ prefix. So, amuse literally means “to not think.” That is simply not the case for a great many video games.
Not only do video games usually require at least a small amount of thinking and help develop hand/eye coordination, but they can utilize and hone our problem-solving capabilities. Lots and lots of video games, especially RPGs, require you to read and think about what you are reading. Additionally, there is a strategy aspect to several different genres of games. Even in the FPS genre, which I tend to categorize as “dumb,” yields more wins for those who organize with their team and develop strategies for taking out the opposition. That is thinking as well. So, when you look at the meaning of amusement you discover that most of the time video games don’t even qualify.
- Video games can help relieve stress and serve as an outlet for anger – Gaming is one of the easiest ways to let off steam. Sure, there are other ways but how many of them don’t require you to leave your house?
Video games offer all of us stressed-out grown-ups the opportunity to unleash all of that pent up disgruntlement at our boss, anger at annoying customers, frustrations on the road, and Walmart foot traffic road rage, in a vicarious fashion, onto the goblins or Nazis or dragons or zombies or any number of baddies in these alternate realities. We have the ability, through video games, to destroy in effigy all of life’s stresses, frustrations, and troubles. For the duration of time that we are in those other worlds we can effectively, mentally at least, escape this one. There is a point at which you can take it too far, and in which you are doing more escaping than living, but there exists a healthy balance, and it is my opinion that a video game habit in moderation is good for the nerves, and of course the imagination.
So, the next time someone ridicules you for your gaming send them here. Let me do the talking for you. I would be more than happy to field any and all questions and objections, save for those emitting from the vile, stinky virtual mouths of forum trolls. Hazaa! I just found my virtual voodoo doll for tonight’s trek into The Secret World.
As a disclaimer, I would like to remind my readers that too much video games is probably not good for you, and there are studies out that warn as much. This list is only meant to show that gaming in moderation is not inherently unhealthy.