Why Games Make Us Happy
In recent years there has been a lot of ups and downs in the gaming world, with hundreds of changes and happenings. Games are being blamed for violent acts, receiving negative media attention and constantly being debated by people who have absolutely nothing to do with the sector. Gaming has evolved into something massive and it has become a part of people’s lives regardless of their demographic. With all that’s been happening, one can be excused for losing touch with the core principles of gaming. I’m here to remind you.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is why we game.
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You come home after a long day of work/university and feel that you haven’t done anything with your day. It was just the same boring grind for hours on end, and at the end of the day you’re just a hollow husk of a human being devoid of all happiness. This is where gaming steps in. Gaming makes life worth living, simple as that. There’s nothing like looking forward to playing an amazing game when you’re done with your “obligations” for the day. It gives you something to be happy about in your life.
Gaming is there to fill your life with joy. Gaming completes you.
Living is difficult. There are horrible uncertainties, unrealistic expectations and arduous processes waiting for you around every corner. Sometimes it can get too much and that’s when depression hits. It’s a rocky road and nobody is willing to help you out because they are too busy with their own struggles. You sometimes just want to escape it all. I think we all know what word I’m going to use next. Gaming. It’s a chance for you to step into an imaginary world with possibilities that seem impossible. It’s a tool you can use to disregard the outside world and experience a place you call your own.
You can use it to elude all the pressure that has been placed on your shoulders, and just whisk off into a place where the world is truly your playground.
Immersion can also be associated with escapism, but on a more deeper level of feeling. Gaming gives you the chance to fully merge yourself with something that should not even exist at all. Seriously, where else can you be a demon/angel hybrid with a massive sword and dual pistols, or a human that became a god and slays beings that are bigger than mountains. Where else can you assume control of someone that has to save an entire galaxy from an imposing threat? Gaming gives you that ability.
Immersion is the cornerstone of gaming. If you don’t feel that overwhelming connection with a fictional world with fictional people, then you’re doing it wrong.
You usually see gamers at the top of leaderboards, or those that strive to be the best at a certain game. This is all for the feeling of accomplishment. Something inside tells them to be the best, and some of them go for it and actually succeed. It’s an amazing feeling when you see your name in a top 10 leaderboard, or know that you are one of very few people who can accomplish a certain thing in a game. Some gamers even take it to the next level and do it professionally.
You also get gamers who obsess with completing absolutely everything in a game. It’s a hard feeling to describe, but when you finally complete the task, you get a sudden rush of euphoria and a feeling of: “I have done it. I have actually done it.” It’s an addictive feeling, I can tell you that much.
Not only is gaming a form of enjoyment, but it can also be a learning tool. It sounds ridiculous because games have always been associated with mindless fun, but this is certainly not the case. A multitude of gamers can all agree that games have given them a sense of intelligence and understanding in one way or another. A good example is Assassin’s Creed III’s American Revolution theme that used facts and actual events to play out the story. I, personally, had no idea what the American Revolution entailed or consisted of, but after playing the game I found that I gained a much better understanding. This is just one example, there’s hundreds more.
Games teach you basic things such as vocabulary, and even a bit of geography. It sounds stupid, but pay attention next time you play a game and discover just how much you can actually learn from it.
The core fabric of everything gaming. We do it for fun. That’s why we’re drawn to it and that’s why we do it. While it also incorporates some of the reasons above, the simple explanation is that we just want to enjoy ourselves and have a great time. Whether you enjoy shooting people in the face or building absurd structures with blocks, there is something for everyone. You play it to get the smile on your face that you desperately need and want. It really is ‘all fun and games’.
With all the negativity that has surrounded gaming for so long, I feel that we need to just take a step back and consider why we game. It’s not to cuss at other people or be negative about everything. It’s not to cause controversy or divides within itself. It’s for fulfilment. For escaping to a different world. For immersion. For a sense of accomplishment. And for a better understanding of the world.