Many of us have had that experience with a game where you just cannot put it down.
Whether you want to be the next person to win Fortnite or you can’t get enough of Candy Crush, it’s a feeling all too familiar.
Many like that feeling of not wanting to put a game down because you are so consumed by it, but what effect is it having on your day to day life?
As a previous gamer myself, I want to delve into gaming – why it can be good, why it can be bad, and in this section, I’m going to do through how it is actually impacting your life.
A bad romance
It isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with playing games at all. In fact, I will be discussing the more positive reasons to play games in the future, but although games are a way to relax after a long day, they can give a somewhat unrealistic expectation on how your life should go.
Play, die, repeat
Now in real life, there is no reset button, and that can seem scary. You can’t just pick up where you left off, and so you must learn to pick yourself up and try again. This can be frustrating when you’re used to losing a life and just carrying on. How do you go from that to real-life failure?
You rely on others to tell you what to do; how to play the game and how to win, but this reliance isn’t realistic. There is no way for you to create outside the rules of the game – and this stifles creativity.
When you level up, do you feel a huge sense of gratification? Completing a level or gaining an achievement is all there to help you feel good and to continue playing. But that’s short-term validation as it helps you to have fun, but doesn’t lead to long term growth and change.
Stuck in a loop
Once you’re used to gaining instant gratification from doing the same thing over and over again, or something similar, this behaviour keeps you locked into playing again and again.
You end up feeling safe in this loop and you become used to a lack of challenge in your life.
Lastly, random reward generation is a trick that many games use to keep you locked into playing. Consider Candy Crush Saga, as this only lets you win when the game wants you to, and locks you out for a certain period of time unless you pay – this instant reward of being able to play when paid for keeps you hooked in.
Fun or addiction?
Random reward generation has been linked to addictive behaviour outside of gaming such as gambling or even drug consumption. And this is a very common design of most games on the market.
This is where video games can become a gateway to other addictive activities. They are a great way to have fun and connect to others, however it is alway worth becoming aware of the negative impact they can have on you.