[Editorial Tuesday] How Gaming Can Help Better Your Life

The world of gaming, it’s a constantly evolving ecosystem of unique creations from all different types of species. We have the hardcore gamer species, the casual gamer species and then those who are perhaps slightly curious about what this is all about. The latter are perhaps the most interesting because they come from a different habitat, one that focuses more on following the social stigma that games are somewhat detrimental for those that put too much investment into it. This article is for you, the misinformed, because not only is gaming helping to reshape the global landscape pertaining to human interaction, but it’s also helping to ensure that many of us can live a long prosperous life full of healthy entertainment. Some of you may argue and say the complete opposite, that games are actually removing that healthy environment and are creating restrictions on children and those within the industry. We totally understand your perspective because we’ve all been there before, a lack of understanding can lead to a lack of opportunity. We’d like to take this opportunity to provide you with reasons as to how gaming can help better your life, and transform you in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

Creates a Social Environment to Thrive in

Back in the early 80’s, when gaming was still very much in its infancy stage, many industry analysts predicted that the gaming world would succumb to an early demise. How foolish they must be feeling right now, as the gaming platform has become one of the world’s most prolific and successful industries in the recent century. This is because many of these analysts were judging a product that hadn’t fully matured, they didn’t seem to grasp the real importance behind why games were created in the first place. One very important thing that they missed was that firstly, where were these games distributed to? In the late to mid 90’s the arcade scene was thriving and making a solid dollar off of children and adults alike, simply because the luxury of being able to play with other people was right there at your fingertips. The arcade scene created a sense of freedom for people to express themselves through the games they enjoyed, and through that expression they came across other gamers of the same passion.

From that very moment it was very apparent what the main objective was for gaming, and it was to create a social environment to thrive in. Whether you were a top player in Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo or just a passerby curious to see what all the excitement was about, there was always an opportunity to talk to someone and share your ideas with. That top player would introduce that curious passerby to the game, and maybe that individual would suddenly find interest in it. Perhaps they’ve always been interested but just never found the courage to approach the machine in fears of being pummeled by the best. However the game itself is what brought those two together, and had it not been for Street Fighter 2 maybe those two would’ve just brushed past each other like two crazed businessmen who are late to a meeting. The whole point is that, gaming as a whole brings people together and for that reason alone it should encourage more people to take part in it. The industry has grown so much since the arcade era and now we’re in the digital age where you can easily communicate with people through online matchmaking. Such is the beauty of gaming, it’s become that antidote that we’ve all needed in order to make the world feel a little smaller and allows us to close that gap in order to bring everyone together under one roof.

Promotes Various Psychological Benefits

So while we all are socializing away and enjoying ourselves, the gears in our brain are starting to shift in a new direction psychologically. In the early days of gaming, many people who viewed gaming from the outside always felt that gamers were simply anti social and alienated themselves from the rest of society. While there are, of course, the occasional black sheep in the bunch, it’s become very clear that isn’t the case any longer. When you venture to an event like PAX East or something as huge as E3, you see people from all walks of life whether they’re fully healthy or they have a disability. This provides a lot of psychological benefits for people because you’re in a thriving environment where your looks aren’t the priority but rather beating the boss on the screen in front of you is.

Often in society, if you suffered from some sort of disability such as, let’s say, Autism or maybe just being confined to a wheelchair, people would often look at you with a different intent. Either they felt some sort of pity, or they feel superior to you because they feel like their lives are free of any sort of illness. Of course those people exist in any industry not just in gaming, but it’s best to just let the ignorant wander until they finally come to their senses. I’m not afraid of speaking my mind on these topics because they help to shed light on an issue that still needs some tweaking, but it’s great to see that in the gaming social environment you can feel welcomed no matter what your background is. Not only does feeling welcome give you that psychological boost of confidence to actually reach out and communicate, but it creates this feeling of euphoria to remind you once again that, yes I too am a human being and deserve just as much respect as everyone else. Gaming has helped tremendously over the past decades to ensure that everyone can participate, and that emotional boost is such a gratifying feeling.

Educational Values

So this is where a lot of naysayers tend to draw the line and say that games don’t provide any merit in terms of educational values. Again, let us take you to school and remind you just where gaming came from. To create a game one needs some form of knowledge in order to program the algorithm so that things actually function. You also need talented engineers who can create a piece of hardware to play those games, and then you’ll probably need a president or COO to conduct meetings to promote these titles. All of these positions in gaming required some form of education in order to actually birth the game itself, so when people say that games have no educational value they’re blindsided by TV programming. The truth is that, a lot of games these days promote a plethora of educational values such as having players reading text on screen as they play through their favorite RPG, or having to use strategic problem solving to ensure their squad doesn’t get overwhelmed by the enemy.

There’s a wide variety of ways to use gaming to your advantage, and as we stated before the industry is constantly evolving. Take your smartphone for example, that device in itself is practically a mobile game device but just tacked on some cellular features to make it an actual phone. You come to Japan and majority of people you see wandering around are glued to their smartphones and playing all sorts of games, whether it be the popular tactical card game of Hearthstone, or perhaps learning how to show romantic gestures in the popular otome game Hakuoki. Whatever your taste in games, there’s always something you can learn from it and that’s what makes playing video games truly satisfying. Nintendo created Brain Age, a game where you’re tested on your ability to complete mathematical questions in a certain time frame, or having to rely on your memory as to where certain items were placed. Going back even further to the classic Tetris where you needed to think two steps ahead and react accordingly to ensure each block was placed in the right slot to maximize your high score.

We could go on and on with examples but the point is very evident, and it’s that gaming provides gamers with ways to strengthen their mind without having to strain their wallet to pay for extremely high tuition fees and other nonsense society tries to impose upon us. Yes the consoles we pay for are certainly pricey along with their games, but the point is that you receive a priceless experience not only for yourself but being surrounded by friends and family.

Overall Value of Life Improves

We all come from different walks of life so the way we perceive value will certainly differ from person to person, and that is certainly understandable. The problem is when people try to impose their own values on others which makes situations very strenuous and often results in nothing getting done, or worse someone getting hurt. Gaming does of course share that same premise in terms of quarrels and confrontation, but instead of using our bare hands or verbally bashing people (mind you this still happens online but hopefully with time it will improve) you would instead pick up a fight stick or controller and vent your frustration out on screen. This honestly helps to improve communication between people because firstly it helps to ease the tension in the room, allowing each other to release all your emotions in the game and then once things die down the two of you can discuss matters more effectively. Of course that’s not always the case so we’re not trying to paint a pleasant picture, but the point is that gaming has helped to improve the overall value of our lives simply because it opened up a new window to express ourselves.

The wars we fight now are on the virtual battlefield, and instead of banding together to create an army with guns we now band together in League of Legends to protect our base. It’s funny to see that, before gaming existed these very same examples were prevalent in our world. Many would die in the heat of battle to gunfire, or sacrifice their own lives to protect their country. Now gaming has taken all of that negativity and allows us to relive those moments and perhaps take a history lesson as to what not to do ever again. The war has become our Call of Duty, the Battlefield’s, the CSGO. The street fights are now conducted at major events on the big screen with virtual characters to use as our protection. While some will argue that these create a negative image for children, just remember what life used to be like and how cruel things were and perhaps you’ll come to appreciate just how valuable gaming has become for our lives as a whole.


Final Thoughts

This is merely just the tip of the iceberg in terms of where gaming will take us, but one thing is for certain and it’s that there seems to be no slowing down anytime soon. With VR now evolving at a rapid rate, and more indie developers are starting to create unforgettably entertaining titles, the game industry is shaping up to be one of the greatest industry’s humanity has ever created. Schools are now even popping up promoting game design, animation, graphic design and the list goes on. This is just proof of how powerful gaming can be, so much to the point now where instead of kids dreaming to be the next astronaut (which many still do of course), they wish to create the next big title that will change the gaming world forever. Let’s put aside those nasty stereotypes and instead pick up a controller and create an environment where everyone can thrive in because in the end, we’re all just one colony and so we must use the resources we have to the fullest.

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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