Sunday, 15 January 2012

I am me because, not despite, games


fish[2]I have been wondering something. Have, after many years of playing video games, they had a good or bad effect on me? I have been playing games since I got a Commodore 16 for one Christmas with a copy of Centipede. I must have been approximately 8 or 9 years old.

This thinking had been inspired by a book I got for Christmas, Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal, which explains how games have a positive effect on us and how game design ideas can be applied to the world as a whole. The book so far has been pretty interesting, if a little only the dry side, and I can see me in a lot of the positives that come out of gaming, however there is one thing that really stands out.

That is that games can help the introverted be more socially active and open. This may come as a surprise to you that this blogger is actually, by nature, an introvert. I don’t crave attention, I don’t have that many friends and I struggle to to make connections with people that some others do with ease. And yet here I am, telling you all, perfect strangers, about my weaknesses and foibles. The more I think of it the more I believe that games have truly helped me be a, if not a better person, then certainly a more sociable one.

Previously in social situations it was always a case of people would have to approach me to start a conversation, but that has changed over the years. I think that, despite it’s many flaws, my time in WoW really helped. Being in a guild, sitting on ventrilo, trying to communicate with people I have never ventrilospoken to before, it really made me open up. I am grateful to games for that.

The other thing that struck a cord is satisfaction that comes from gaming. That sweet moment when you get a little swelling of pride and joy when you complete a level, beat a boss, finally manage to destroy a tank with C4 in Battlefield 3 (ok the last one is personal to me). I think as a gamer I have somewhat come to take that feeling for granted, even though it was good emotion. Obviously this feeling can occur from all sorts of lesiure activities, but when I look at people I know, like my in-laws for instance, they must only get that feeling 2 or 3 times a year, me I get it on a nearly daily basis. Heh if gamers can be said to be addicted to anything it is that feeling.

I think games have definitely made me a better person, more sociable, more intelligent and more fulfilled. There are those that might say the satisfaction I get is a false one. To them I would say I would rather be false happy than real unhappy.

No comments: