The Video Game Epidemic
Why Video Games are Stealing our Boyfriends
Don't get me wrong; I have a few video games that I enjoy playing. Although these are more reminiscent of Frogger, Zelda, and other old-school games than anything that would be deemed "cool" by today's standards, I do have a few games of my own. However, I have seen an increasing number of respectable men being sucked in by video games, and (much to their significant other's dismay) unable to quit playing. Even wafting a plate full of freshly-baked brownies or cookies only distracts their attention from the game at hand for mere seconds.
Why? What is it that will suck a gamer in and cause them to continue playing well into the night (even with work or school early the next morning)? How could someone who flits and flutters around in conversation and loses interest in any station on the radio after approximately 30 seconds of any song, tirelessly play a game for hours on end? The answers may have a deeper root in the psychological well-being of a human that any non-gamer (or gamer) would ever realize.
Achievement. In some games, the gamer will "level up" and
unlock new bonuses after earning so many achievement points. Other
games allow their players to collect coins, which can be used in the
game store to purchase armor, food, weapons, health, etc. This creates
a sense of accomplishment, and feeds the drive to keep playing. The
harder it is to earn achievement points, the more satisfying they are
to win. Just like in all aspects of life, we enjoy doing things that we
are good at, things that lead to rewards, or things that boost our
confidence when we're successful. Games satisfy this need in their
Enjoyment. It might be difficult to
understand how some of the games lead to any amount of enjoyment
whatsoever, but believe it or not, games can be fun. In the same way
that crossword puzzles appeal to some people (although certainly not
everyone), games are targeted at people who will have fun playing them.
The assortment of games on the market today contributes to different
gaming styles, as well. First-, second-, and third-person shooters,
adventure games, dance games, sports games, and racing games are only a
few of the options that are available. Whether it provides hours of
thoughtless manipulation of the controllers, or short bursts of
adrenaline-filled, action-packed adventure, there is essentially a game
for every gamer. With the release of the Wii console and interactive
games, the market is only expanding.
Social connection. Some of the indisputably best-selling video games capitalize on a simple requirement of the human psyche: the need for social interaction. Halo, World of Warcraft, and other MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games rely on teamwork to survive, excel, or beat the game. These games typically encourage not only collaboration, but competition as well. The sense of being needed, wanted, or a part of a group is a basic need for the psychological well-being of any person. Without it, they would suffer from loneliness, low self-esteem, and depression.
By understanding what makes video games so addicting, we are better equipped to encourage our significant others, family members, or friends to maintain a healthy balance of daily activities. Try encouraging group activities, or hobbies and games that the gamer excels at and will enjoy. The last thing you'd want to do is to annoy them, because more than likely, the first method of escapism they'd run to is... you got it... video games.
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