Video and computer games provide a medium of entertainment that is both uniquely rewarding in its player involvement and ultimately unrivaled in its immersive capabilities . They provide gamers with an interactive environment that one simply cannot get from watching a movie or reading a book. With that said, as with any other habit, gaming can have a negative influence on one’s life if there is not a healthy balance. These tips can help ensure that one is getting the most rewarding gaming experience possible.
1) If You’re not Having Fun, Turn it Off!
This may seem somewhat obvious to some, but it is extremely important. Oftentimes, when players become really involved and committed to a game they can lose perspective on what is fun. If played a certain way, games can easily make you feel like you’re working at an unrewarding, unfulfilling job. Gamers who have really competitive personalities may unknowingly fall into this trap from time to time. Striving to quickly complete or “beat” a game can often overshadow and spoil the actual gaming experience itself. If a game starts to get stressful it is best to turn it off and come back later.
2) Make it a Social Experience
Like watching a movie or reading a book, gaming can be a somewhat lonely experience at times. Too much time spent alone in a game can negatively cut into a person’s social well being. If at all possible, it’s best to play games along with friends and family. This doesn’t mean that everyone should always play multiplayer games, but there are many ways to make gaming a more social hobby. Getting involved in online forums or blogs can be a great way for people to experience games as a community. There are also ways to watch and chat with others who are playing the same games such as twitch.tv and YouTube. Each person has a different level of need for social interaction, but generally speaking, games are more fun and rewarding when others are involved.
3) The Power of Imagination
Games are often an aesthetically pleasing experience. Many games can be classified as pieces of art because of the ways that they present their environments and tell their stories. Video games can provide gamers with an almost limitless source of inspiration for their own creative endeavors. Just as using one’s own imagination while playing game can improve on what the game already provides, the same creative energies can be applied elsewhere in life. In this way, gaming can improve the creative and expressive output of players, whether their inspiration is coming from a game’s art direction, its musical score, or its storyline.
4) Gaming for Brain and Body Health
While all good games entertain, others will also provide fitness for mind and body. Strategy and puzzle games give players an opportunity to exercise their brain muscles, while exercising and dancing games can improve players’ physical fitness. Because of their interactive nature, video games provide exercise experiences that have a fun factor that other methods of exercising do not. Scoring points by completing a hard puzzle or getting a new top score for a difficult dance can constantly encourage players to continue improving themselves.
5) Allow Gaming to Influence other Hobbies
As with anything else, too much of something is never good. It’s best to be well-rounded when it comes to interests as well as hobbies. Life can begin to feel stale if too much time is spent doing any one thing, so be sure to limit play time to a few hours at a time. Changing things up from time to time is good for one’s perspective and self-enrichment. Gaming can be a positive influence in this respect as well, as it can fuel interests in other areas of life. Use it as a vehicle of exploration into other mediums of expression such as art, music, photography, film, or writing. Sharing these experiences with others will show how truly beautiful and enriching gaming can be as a part of life.