Everyone has heard the saying that television will rot your brain and I guess it is true depending on what you watch. However, just as a general statement such as that does not differentiate between “good” T.V. and “bad” T.V. the long running opinion that video games are a waste of time leaves far too much truth uncovered.
We can easily talk about the negative side of video games. Obviously one can spend way too much time in the video game world which can have a negative impact on their lives from work to school, social interactions and health. Then again the same can be said about almost anything deemed recreational. Moderation is always the key, but it is not just about managing time, it can also be about getting the most out of your gaming experience.
For example my love of video gaming led me to my love of computers which turned into a job where I learned I loved to write specifically about games and gaming culture. Long before my work at Alienware my experience having to quickly and accurately type out commands in games such as Everquest increased my typing skills to executive secretary levels. Before that my search for gaming companions led me to a group of people who became not only lifelong friends but valuable contacts that assist me even to this day.
Now to be fair not everyone will take their love of gaming and turn it into something worthwhile. In fact gaming may actually suppress your will to do other things which might prevent you from finding your love in life, both in career and personal form. I know far too well what can happen when you spend hours on end in front of a screen with no regard for life outside of gaming. It can and will take its toll on your mind body and soul if you allow it, but there are many simple steps you can take to prevent that.
Something as small as drinking water and eating fruit while gaming can make a drastic difference in your overall health. Taking the time to pause or step away from the game when interacting with a real life person instead of firing off one word answers during play can mean the difference between a healthy social life and becoming the stereotypical pale faced basement dwelling troll.
Today video gaming is like standing in front of a buffet. There are tons of things to try, but take your time. There is no need to try it all in one sitting, come back later, it will still be there. Small modifications in your behavior now will mean a longer happy life in the long run which will allow for more gaming. It’s a win/win situation and as gamers isn’t the goal to win?
This week we asked our panel of insiders: Has playing video games ever affected your life negatively, even a little bit and if so how and if not how do/did you keep it from doing so?
Yes I’ve stayed up too late playing a video game before, causing me to sleep through school or work the next day. Since developing games turned out to be my career though, I guess it wasn’t too negative a deal for me!
Definitely. Nothing like putting off real problems by visiting a virtual world.
Probably the only place I can think where a game ‘hurt’ me in some way would come to down to lost sleep. There certainly have been nights that went way too late ( curse you Mass Effect!) but that’s really about it.
I’ve had some experience with MMO addiction. Nothing too serious. On a scale of zero to South Korea, I’d be at about a 0.1 SK. But I did find myself once or twice neglecting my relationships in order to spend more time grinding. I’m off the pipe now. EVE Online cured me of any potential addiction. That game is just a job you pay to do. What’s next? Corporate Due Diligence Online?
Early in my career, I worked for a small company, and we used to play StarCraft every Saturday night. All of us loved Starcraft, but unfortunately none of us loved losing. Unfortunately, our games were often so competitive that it affected office social dynamics. Losers would call winners “cheap” and winners would call losers “whiners.” Feelings could get hurt for days. We’d always get over it and get our work done, but there were definitely times when StarCraft pushed us apart rather than bringing us together.
I can’t count the number of times video games have kept me up later then I wanted to stay and caused a shortage of sleep, but I would say the most negative impact a game has ever had on me was the MMO Ultima Online. I spent several years of my life playing it as often as possible often neglecting personal relationships. It was highly addicting and took time away from other activities which would have been more healthy, creative and financially constructive.
“Spending 12-hour clips late at night fighting the same creature in an MMO over and over again to gain one level was perhaps better spent on other things, but it was fun for me! I don’t regret it since I have no idea how my life would have turned out otherwise anyway, and it’s pretty good right now regardless.
I certainly haven’t eaten worse (better if anything since I sometimes forget to eat, so I don’t eat too much!), lost a friendship or relationship with a loved one because I wanted to get that next level instead of attend a wedding or something… but if that does happen, then it’s certainly time to rethink priorities.”
I can answer this question honestly. Yes, it did.
There was a time when I was under a lot of other stresses and video games became my escape. Except I started escaping into it too much, not getting my college work done and other stuff. Now, I rarely play during the week and most of my game time is on weekends, when I don’t have to work in the morning. Perhaps it’s part of growing up, now that I’m 30, but I’ve put restrictions on myself and live by em now.
What about you, has gaming ever negatively affected your life?