We don’t take games seriously and underestimate them. Games can help us cope with fatigue, gain awareness, and realize that the essential things we worry about aren’t that important—Retelling The New York Times article on how and why to play if you’re an adult. Phone doesn’t have to be just for fun texing….
Video games and even India cricket betting websites have long ceased to be just entertainment. The world’s leading museums are putting on game shows. Epidemiologists are using online multiplayer games to understand better how infectious diseases spread. Even architects are using the practices of game developers in their work. Psychologists have not ignored them either. The American magazine Psychology Today editors created a whole section devoted to the impact of video games on health. Retelling the material from this section – about how games help achieve the state of flow, why they are played even at work, and why they are necessary for introverts.
“What’s in it for me?”
As American broadcaster Fred Rogers observed: play is a child’s job. Kids take that job very seriously, they’re good at it, and we could learn from them why playing is essential.
But what is play anyway? In general terms, play is a creative activity that actively engages the imagination and is not forced outside. Jeff Harry is a game coach who helps companies, schools, and other organizations apply positive psychology to everyday life. According to Harry, one definition of play might be: it is an activity that brings a lot of joy but does not lead to any specific results.
In times like now, when the pandemic is not over, and the recession has left many unemployed, the game is at the bottom of our list of priorities. And in general, we live in a world that is more conducive to anxiety than playfulness. Playing seems like a waste of time for an adult who can’t get rid of endless to-do lists.
Games effortlessly immerse you in a state of flow
Research has shown that mindfulness meditation improves attention and cognitive flexibility, increases relationship satisfaction, and reduces stress. This meditation helps release thoughts of the past and future and focus on the present. Gamers escaping zombies or solving puzzles achieve this state without any effort, without realizing it themselves. It is the essence of a well-made video game – through small, moderately challenging but solvable tasks, it plunges the player into a state of flux. In a recent study, UK scientists even suggested that games can help you recover from a hard day’s work just as well as meditation apps like Headspace or Mo.
Games allow us to achieve goals
Video games give us instant results, something many students, office workers, and freelancers lack, constantly thinking about work and focusing on long-term goals. When we’re going through setbacks, an hour at the console after work can cheer us up to give us a sense of satisfaction. And 46.6 percent of participants in a 2008 survey admitted to pausing to play and relax, even while working.
Games – a space for creativity
Unfortunately, not all of us can play musical instruments or draw. But video games like Minecraft, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Fortnite Creative can help us express ourselves. They allow us to create virtual objects within the game world, their beauty, and uniqueness depending only on our imagination. Here, for example, are some masterpieces of virtual architecture made by Minecraft players. Among them are locations from Game of Thrones, the fortress of Minas Tirith from Lord of the Rings, and Disneyland.
Games help produce dopamine
When we do something pleasurable (like eating a delicious meal or spending time with a loved one), our brain produces the hormone dopamine, which improves mood and increases motivation. Video games are primarily built on encouraging our brain to produce this hormone. By playing, we increase our perspective, and the main thing is not to abuse it.
Games help us socialize.
Humans are social, feeling connected to others is an essential human need. Cooperative games that you can play with friends strengthen communication. And online games guarantee anonymity and allow social interaction even for introverts and people who have difficulty communicating in real life. For many, online games become a place where they find true friends. Rapper Ice-T, for example, admitted in a tweet a year ago that he was grieving over the death of a friend he had never seen: “Unfortunately, today I lost a friend. A man we never met face to face. But who we played video games with for years.”
The following games will help you cope with stress and help you relax.
- Stardew Valley;
- Animal Crossing;
- The Sims;
- Death Stranding.
Imagine you inherited a farm, and now your routine is straightforward: wake up, check the weather, water a small vegetable garden and harvest, feed the animals, chat with your neighbors, go out on the town, fish, maybe do a few more things and go to bed. Over time, you begin to remember the opening hours of stores where you can pick up food for the animals, the names of neighbors and townspeople, and you become a full-fledged resident of the village. Doing small but meaningful things gives you a pleasant and meditative feeling – that’s the benefit of Stardew Valley.
Another life simulator, but no longer on a farm, but in the city. In the world of Animal Crossing, there are talking animals, household tasks (chat with neighbors, buy clothes), and holidays. The main goals are to save up money to pay your rent and have fun. An important point: as long as you do not go into the game, life in the game goes on. So do not be surprised if you come back after a short break, you will find a new neighbor. For years people of all ages have been playing Animal Crossing and can’t clearly explain why the game is so soothing and enjoyable – maybe it’s time for you to try it.
Survival simulator on a planet that is covered in ocean. The main character is a member of the crew of a crashed spaceship. You will be able to observe the local fauna, but your main goal is to survive, and for this, you will have to search for food resources and often descend into unknown water depths. Gradually you will gain additional tools and abilities. Subnautica will show that even the struggle between man and nature requires patience, rationality, and creativity. If you are interested in recreational games, then right here is a feature article.
Forced home confinement is a great time for everyone’s favorite, already classic game. Create your character, build yourself a cozy house, get a dog a kid, get a job, start going to the gym regularly. To make the task more difficult, you can choose a challenge: for example, to have 100 children or to break 100 hearts. Perhaps your sim will learn something that you will also be interested in learning in real life.
If you missed long walks in quarantine, the courier simulator from cult game designer Hideo Kojima would entertain you perfectly and, for a while, become a pleasant and safe substitute for nature walks on the street. The protagonist’s goal is to rebuild the network of connections between the United Cities of America survivors. Of course, at some point, you will still have to take part in combat scenes, but most of the time, you will just be delivering packages to atmospheric and soothing music.