The Reasons I Don’t Feel Guilty Playing Games

“Never feel guilty about something that makes you happy.” An article about the benefits of gaming, by Stef Garovnik.

While playing a video game, do you ever find yourself thinking that you could be using your time more wisely? Even if you had a long day of work and you’ve done a bajillion of productive things already, you could really use this time to finish your laundry or get started on that presentation for Monday or whatever other excuse you might think of.

The reality is that we live in such a busy world that we believe we should constantly be doing something and anything that brings us joy is a waste of time. And that is really sad.

Do you really think that at the age of 80 you will look back at your life and think ‘I wish I had played fewer games’? No, I can certainly tell you that you won’t. Do you know why? Because video games actually contribute to making you a better person.

Did you know that parents who play video games with their children will actually have a stronger bond with them when they grow up?

I remember playing video games with my mum or my step-dad or other members of my family. I remember them as happy moments. When I was about 7, I’d play strategic games with my aunt. I wasn’t really the one playing them (because, well, I was too young to understand certain bits of it), but I loved to watch and discuss the possible outcomes of the decisions we made. Maybe that’s why today I am so passionate about economics or strategic planning in general.

This game named ‘Tropico’ has been one of my favourites of all times and I grew up when different versions of it were being released. Today I was writing an economics paper and I found myself knowing an awful lot about the extraction of coal and its substitutes. And that’s purely because coal is one of the easiest (and most polluting) ways of creating electricity in Tropico.

Scientists have researched that playing video games allows you to become a ‘better you’. It has been shown that if you create an avatar in a game, you create an idealised version of yourself. This will actually affect your thinking and help you to establish your goals in a way you never thought possible.

I have to admit that I am a great fan of ‘The Sims’ series. The latest version of it allows you to personalise absolutely everything about your character, from body proportions to its moods or goals. You can also build unique houses for your Sims and I love to work on the details of mine until it’s perfect. This makes me work a lot harder in real life because I know that one day I will be able to have a house just like that. I always keep my Sims happy and make them read a lot of books, cook interesting dishes, try different career paths, and I’ve found myself mimicking all of their actions because in my mind that’s what a happy life looks like.

If these reasons aren’t enough, let’s talk about how much of a stress reliever video games are.

Have you ever had a day, a really bad day, when you thought you could shoot someone in the face? I have as well. And instead of channelling that anger towards someone I love, I prefer playing ‘Call of Duty’, where I actually do get to shoot someone in the face. This way, you solve the problem and you don’t hurt anyone around you (emotionally, I mean!).

Let’s be clear, I am not suggesting you give up work or education so you can spend 24 hours a day playing video games like a hermit.

If you’re stuck on a problem, take some time off and play ‘Candy Crush’. If you want to learn something new, have a go at ‘Trivia Crack’. Or if you’re simply bored, take a break and spend some time doing what you love and remember: never feel guilty about something that makes you happy.

This article was written by the immensely talented Stef Garovnik and has been reposted, with permission, from Medium.

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