What makes them so popular?
Over the last decade, video game culture has grown exponentially in such a way that it plays a huge role in the daily lives of children, teenagers, and adults alike. Video games have gone from being a common hobby to a form of online socialization, to inspiration for cosplays, viral social media content and memes, to even being the driving force behind the popularity of YouTube “Let’s Play” videos and Twitch streaming. The latter has also had an impact on the types of unconventional careers that can be developed from such a dynamic market. Video games hold a massive influence over our mental health and behaviour that is likely to only increase as years go by.
Video games can give us a sense of accomplishment, social interaction, and the ability to immerse ourselves in a whole new world. Here are some of the benefits:
- Achievement: We feel a sense of achievement whenever we progress to a new level or defeat the toughest boss in the game (e.g., Dark Souls or Bloodborne).
- Socialization: Despite what some people may say, we even get to socialize or meet new friends through video games like PUBG or Among Us.
- Immersion: Sometimes when things in real life are difficult, it can be a relief to come home to a fictional world that doesn’t expect so much from us or where we have more control (e.g., Skyrim)
What’s Not So Good
In 2018, the World Health Organization officially categorized “gaming disorder” as a behavioural addiction. This describes someone who cannot stop playing even though it interferes with other areas of their life, such as family relationships, school, work, and sleep.
No matter what though, anything that’s good for you can be unhealthy if done too often or if it prevents you from living a normal life. Video games can be a healthy and fun way to spend time, interact with people, hone your skills, and experience new worlds, but they should never be used to replace or avoid one’s responsibilities or person-to-person contact.