Video Games: Good or Bad?

13 Dec by Picholas Phoa

Video Games: Good or Bad?

Video games are electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device (eg. joystick, keyboard, etc) and generation of visual feedback for a player via TV or screens. The booming industry of video games have lead to the increasing interest toward eSport. Back in the days, gaming were only seen as “a waste of time” and considered as a “childish” hobby. However, with the current highest record of prize pool of up to 34.33 million USD (RM 139.09 million MYR) for Dota 2 which took place in Shanghai 2019, and the emergence of online streaming services (Twitch, Facebook, YouTube Gaming, etc.), gaming is now considered as lucrative and highly competitive.

Benefits of playing games:

  • Improve visual-spatial skills

You may not be familiar with “visual-spatial skills” but you definitely have this – it is the ability to tell where objects are in space, including your own body parts. Children require this skill to learn how to dance, navigate maps, and even reading and do maths. For example, open-world games like Minecraft require the player to navigate the world without a map, and to understand distance and space while building. This help the children to be more coordinated and better at learning certain skills.

  • Teaches problem-solving skills and critical thinking

Every game is basically a challenge. Video games are designed like a complex puzzle to keep the players engaged and think critically to solve the missions. Gaming pushes you to think faster and strategise in a fast-paced and stressful situation. Failing, however, encourage you to keep trying and learn from previous mistakes, thus building resilience and persistence

  • Improve social skills

Gaming is a social activity, it encourages team play and cooperation between the players to achieve goals. In order to complete missions, they shall need to refine their communication skills to have an efficient interaction. On the other hand, in a game where players have to compete against each other, winning and losing are a part of gaming life, therefore enable them to learn the true meaning of sportsmanship and instil good emotional control.

  • Act as stress-reliever

Games are proven to have great mental health benefits, as they can boost mood and relieve stress. This is because video games are engaging and enjoyable, plus completing challenges and missions can be rewarding and give a sense of accomplishment and competence.

Gaming Addiction

The quote “too much of anything is good for nothing” certainly apply to gaming as well. But, how much is too much? Gaming addiction (or video game addiction, or internet gaming disorder) is “problematic, compulsive use of video games that results in significant impairment to an individual’s ability to function in various life domains over a prolonged period of time”. Signs to watch out for include, thinking about gaming a lot of time, feeling bad when you can’t play, need more and more time playing to feel good, not able to quit or play less, not wanting to do other hobbies or activities, playing games despite having problems with work, school, home because of gaming, lying to people about how much time you spend playing, and using game to ease bad moods.

In short terms, those who suffer from video game addiction will have disrupted sleeping habits, fatigue, insomnia, disrupted eating habits, isolation and reduced socialisation. In the long run, this addiction will affect the person’s academic, career, relationship and financial success greatly. Therefore, as a start, reflect on these questions: have you been feeling tired, or sleep lesser due to gaming? Does gaming affect other important things in life? Do you have problems with relationship, jobs, family, or schools due to gaming? Are you using gaming to avoid deeper problem, like depression? If yes, seek help from professional mental healthcare providers such as psychologists, psychiatrists, or counsellors.

To prevent addiction, self discipline and time management is important. Try these do’s and don’ts  to gain the most benefit from gaming: