Do you think video games are therapeutic?

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#1 Posted by mjf249 (2837 posts) -

I know I've read articles saying video games can help your hand-eye coordination, surgeons who played video games opposed to those who don't performed better, and it's been said that it helps your problem solving skills. But has anybody found video games more immersive than any form of entertainment?

It definitely takes your mind off certain things, and sometimes I find myself being lost and focused on whats going on around me. I guess for me it helps taper of the daily stresses of life. It always seems like your brain is constantly thinking, at least it does for me when I am into a game.

#2 Posted by Tqricardinho (340 posts) -

No, they're a hobbie for some, a timekiller. For others they might be a form of art, it doesn't gets more relevant than that.

#4 Posted by ZZoMBiE13 (22911 posts) -

I think they can be. To a degree.

I often use games as a means of focusing aggressive compulsions in a safe and consequence free environment. I let frustrations play out in GTA rather than going on a full blown road rage fit for example.

There have been studies that say "cathartic release" isn't as good for you as once believed. That if you come to rely on it too much that you can get in the habit of doing it and start to kinda need that release. One could also use it as a crutch to ignore real world problems rather than addressing them.

So as with all things, moderation is the key. Blowing off a little steam in a driving game when you've had a lousy day is fine. Just don't use it as an avoidance tactic while repressing real world issues.

I'd still say this isn't an ideal way of appreciating a games artistic merits however. I find I am the most engaged with the game when I'm fully focused on it as one would focus on appreciating any piece of art.

#5 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (9658 posts) -

I wana hear some examples before I weigh in

#6 Posted by SpiderLuke (468 posts) -

I have a hard time focusing on anything, but games help me stay focused again. So yeah, it is for me.

#7 Posted by mjf249 (2837 posts) -

It's crazy since you mentioned that, because for a brief period from 2008-2012 I took a break from gaming. I've found my concentration much more improved since I began playing again.

#8 Edited by lensflare15 (6174 posts) -

At times, they certainly are. Nothing was a better stress reliever for me back in high school then getting fully engrossed in a video game. Just thinking about it would help me get through the day.

It depends on the game, how involved in it I am, and what kind of emotional state I'm in prior to playing it, but many games have had calming and anxiety curing effects on me.

#9 Posted by platinumking320 (663 posts) -

If you use them to unwind. Then yeah they can be. Think about why humans play any game video game, sport or board game in the first place. The rules and the likeliness to receive a more immediate feedback or sense of accomplishment, especially on rhythmic levels as opposed to the uncertainties, risks, high demand and long waiting and development periods of our lives is a notable difference. Plus to be able to express yourself in ways that our human bodies are incapable of feeds that no-borders part of our imagination.

Of course all that can be therapy when life at times makes you feel powerless and boxed in.

Sometimes a quick play break can allow your mind to relax and jog and produce ideas or solution that won't generate when you're deep into your work and develop stress sort tunnel vision that impedes creative thinking.

But as they said before. Everything in moderation.

#10 Edited by muthsera666 (13271 posts) -

Back in middle school, I was quite suicidal. GoldenEye saved my life. Seriously. I would load up the first couple levels and turn on invincibility. In the facility, I would just kill the infinitely spawning guards. I would spend hours doing that.

Nowadays, I don't know. I don't play that many games anymore. If anything, I just escape into the internet. I get online to check the forum and slickdeals, and I wake up about two hours later. I hate my life right now, and I can't figure a solution at this point, so I just escape into television or the internet. Games are too interactive sometimes for pure escapism.

#11 Edited by firefox59 (4335 posts) -

Of course they can be, just not all types of games. Like most online FPS's are very tense and increase BP and stress levels rather than relaxing you. There are tons of games that are straight fun and soothing though.

#12 Posted by phoenix5352 (55 posts) -

yeah ofcourse they do. games are being used for treating phantom pain (phantom limb), and depression, because people can have a distraction and even express out their emotions.

its true that gamers are better surgeons because games make you think , take decisions quickly and concentrate more. games make children to get interested in the modern technology, history etc even increases the general knowledge of the people ,even helps in making a better character, and helps the children learn about the world . Studies had shown that gamers generally have a higher IQ.

{ BE PROUD OF BEING A VIDEO GAMER }

#13 Posted by The_Last_Ride (69555 posts) -

I think it is, if i am having a really bad day and i want to vent stuff i can do it through games

#14 Edited by Clydefrog92 (172 posts) -

I just can't let my anger out in a videogame for some reason. I guess because I feel no emotiona lattachment to anything in the game. Usually the game will just let my agitation fester.

#15 Edited by BranKetra (47756 posts) -

Games are things players and spectators can put energy into which balance stress levels during the best of times. If you do not know already, stress influences health in our lives. Financially, we Americans spend $300 billion on it annually.

#16 Posted by CoquiNegro (173 posts) -

Yes. I tend to have quite a bit of stress when coming home after a long day at the university/work. It just feels so alleviating to pick up a game and start playing, removes any tension I might have had during the day. I usually play Journey, to relax myself. It doesn't get better than that.

#17 Posted by The_Last_Ride (69555 posts) -

Yes. I tend to have quite a bit of stress when coming home after a long day at the university/work. It just feels so alleviating to pick up a game and start playing, removes any tension I might have had during the day. I usually play Journey, to relax myself. It doesn't get better than that.

i know what you mean

#18 Posted by MirkoS77 (6974 posts) -

I use games as a form of escapism and I'm not ashamed to admit so. Life drains me. The only way I can deal with life at times is distraction.

#19 Posted by Jacanuk (3850 posts) -

@mjf249 said:

I know I've read articles saying video games can help your hand-eye coordination, surgeons who played video games opposed to those who don't performed better, and it's been said that it helps your problem solving skills. But has anybody found video games more immersive than any form of entertainment?

It definitely takes your mind off certain things, and sometimes I find myself being lost and focused on whats going on around me. I guess for me it helps taper of the daily stresses of life. It always seems like your brain is constantly thinking, at least it does for me when I am into a game.

Yes, games can be therapeutic to a certain degree because it all depends on the person, for some games can work magic for others not.

#20 Posted by CoquiNegro (173 posts) -
#21 Posted by The_Last_Ride (69555 posts) -

@The_Last_Ride: I know that you know what I mean.

University all day, work in the weekends. Only time to relax or blow off some steam is games

#22 Posted by Chickan_117 (16329 posts) -

That's a very broad question that's hard to answer definitively. Video games CAN be therapeutic for some however they can be detrimental to others. It all depends on the person.

Playing sport would be a good comparison. I find golf quite relaxing as I just let my mind drift, chat with mates and "get my blood pumping" by walking around for a few hours. Other mates I know can't get thru a crap day without spending some time shooting hoops. However that doesn't mean that playing basketball is therapeutic. It just means it can be for some but not for others.

I guess the advantage of sport is that there are physical benefits whether you're winning or losing. The hardest part in determining the therapeutic effect of something like this is that it's skill based so, if you're doing well, then you get the reward whereas, if you perform poorly, it can have an adverse affect.

Just my opinion of course. I know that I certainly enjoy taking time out to play a few rounds of pinball or even Skylanders with the kids when things feel like they're getting on top of me.

#23 Posted by marcheegsr (2456 posts) -

Gaming is defiantly therapeutic for me. Especially when I have a stress full day, pop in a good game and it can calm me down. Especially games that involve thinking not just mindless shooting.

#24 Posted by CoquiNegro (173 posts) -
#25 Posted by withe1982 (450 posts) -

I've suffered from depression and anxiety in the past and I can tell you that a good session in an immersive game can do you the world of good in forgetting your worries.

A great game can lift your mood and relax your brain and that can only be a good thing in my opinion.

#26 Posted by immortality20 (7955 posts) -

Yes, I posted this story a couple times but hey might as well post it again.

When I was going through chemotherapy, gaming was one of the major things that got me through. I still remember playing Batman Arkham City in short sessions when I was feeling good enough, and the time I had with the game is so special to me. It really made me forget all my problems and it transported me somewheres much better. Not much later my dad passed away from cancer and video games became even more helpful in my life. I've gone through 3 major surgeries and I'm still recovering today. Some days I'm too sick to play games but when I do, I really forget how sucky life can be and appreciate the worlds developers made for us.

#27 Posted by CrimsonBrute (23120 posts) -

I often use games as a means of focusing aggressive compulsions in a safe and consequence free environment. I let frustrations play out in GTA rather than going on a full blown road rage fit for example.

Unless some aspect of the game would have the opposite effect. Driving a motorcycle in GTA5 for instance would frustrate me at times.

#28 Posted by Byshop (11026 posts) -

There are a lot of studies to support this, but you're asking the question in a video game forum so of course you are going to get more positive responses than negative. My wife was telling me about a Ted Talk she had watched on gaming recently (gaming in general, but encompassing video games as well). There were a number of points and studies that they mentioned, but one in particular was that for people with anxiety disorders, 30 minutes a day on an MMO has shown to be as effective as some of the prescribed drugs for the various disorders.

-Byshop

#29 Posted by touchscreenpad (220 posts) -

With the recommended playing time of a maximum of 2 hours a day then I say yes it gives some benefits.

But if you play for more than that then whatever benefits it gives I think is gone.

#30 Posted by CallOfGaming (10 posts) -

Games are certainly the most entertaining thing in the world. Right now, I'm living in an other country, whose language I don't know to speak, so I find it very stressing, so games definitly are therateupic. For Example, some people that are in a hospital, with extreme pains, they usually give that person a computer/ a console cuz games help with stress and pain.

#31 Posted by Byshop (11026 posts) -

With the recommended playing time of a maximum of 2 hours a day then I say yes it gives some benefits.

But if you play for more than that then whatever benefits it gives I think is gone.

Yeah, a glass of red wine daily is good for heart health, but a couple bottles daily is alcoholism. Anything is bad if not done/taken in moderation.

-Byshop

#32 Edited by Mrod1212 (1152 posts) -

Personally, it's something to relax and kill time.