Modern Day Gaming – Breeding Next Gen Athletes?
Gaming, like any other hobby, has its fair share of doubters as well as supporters. You’ve likely heard of stubborn parents who have their minds set on blaming games for their children’s misbehaving. And if you have an Asian parent (stereotypical, we know), you’d likely be reprimanded for spending too much time on gaming instead of studying.
In general, the gaming scene has been receiving flak from its opposition for years. And it has also been receiving a lot of blame for real-world problems that have nothing to do with gaming.
Heard of the myth of gaming making children violent? Or what about the misconception that gaming will rot your brains and damage your eyes? These false ideas not only exacerbates gaming’s standing amongst parents but also the wider community.
In fact, gaming is merely a simple means to pass the time. It is a relaxing activity that will give you comfort from the tension and stress we face in our day-to-day lives. And the gaming scene is seeing a surge in popularity among adults today.
Why? Simply put, the gaming market has evolved beyond what we had in gaming’s infant years in the ‘70s and ‘80s. From the arcade games of yesteryear to the next-gen consoles of today, gaming has never been more inclusive to the wider audience.
In particular, the e-sports scene has been gaining a lot of momentum of late. Think about it, you can actually be an athlete now by playing games! What a world we live in.
That said, this article will be covering the pros and cons of gaming. Allow us to first begin with the pros of gaming.
1. Gaming Actually Improves Your Eyesight
The keyword here is moderation. Anything taken in excess will be detrimental to anyone and the same goes for gaming.
With moderation, video games have been shown to improve vision. For an average person, a few weeks of moderate gaming gives them better colour vision. In short, they are able to distinguish between similar shades of the same colour with greater regularity.
For those with a “lazy” eye, gaming will be a boon to you. Using the affected eye without the aid of the “normal” eye while playing games will help to normalize it.
Furthermore, video games can also give you an eye (no pun intended) for detail. Research has shown that people who spent 30 hours playing action games over a month spotted targets on a cluttered screen 80% of the time. In contrast, non-gamers only managed this 30% of the time.
2. Building A Social Network
There is a misconception that gamers are social outcasts that stay at home playing games all day. While this is partially true, not all gamers are socially inept at making connections with other like-minded people.
This is particularly true today as many games have a social aspect to them. From co-op games to socially interactive games, you will need to flex your social muscles if you want to succeed. After all, teamwork makes the dream work.
How is this a gaming pro you might add? Like the real world, this is an acquired skill that will be useful in building career networks.
3. Improves Your Brain Power & Decision-Making Skills
As we’ve established earlier, video games don’t actually rot your brain. On the contrary, video games are now considered a fast track to a sharper mind.
Video games are effective at retaining the sharpness and clarity of brain functionality. Only a few hours of gaming will make a vast difference. And as people age, the importance of playing games increases. Gaming can reduce the risk of depression, help with arthritis, and even be a therapeutic option for aphasia. Also, it’s a great way of making social connections for the older community.
On the other hand, a sharper mind also equates to faster decision-making skills.
Picture this. You play a game that has a limited time to cross a certain level. You need to act fast and choose the right path to pass the level. If you make the wrong decision or run out of time, then it’s game over for you. Repeat this several times across the levels and your decision-making speed will improve.
This skill will be useful in the real world and in your daily life. If you are undecided on something, use your acquired skill to make the correct decision!
4. You Can Make A Career Out of Gaming
The gaming industry is thriving. And when we say thriving, we mean it’s one of the biggest consumer markets in the world today. Along with its standing, you can be assured that career opportunities in the industry are aplenty!
For instance, game developer/tester, professional e-sports player, and so on. These are some options if you are keen on entering the gaming industry.
Got an opinion and a big mouth? Being a gaming journalist or podcaster might be your calling in life. Most gaming journalists do get paid for their articles, news reports, and reviews. So playing and talking about games can indeed become a lucrative career.
Otherwise, if you think you have the skills, being a professional e-sports player is a good way to bring in the money. E-sports athletes do indeed earn massive amounts of money. Look no further than TI for inspiration.
Last but not least, if you’re someone that oozes charisma then maybe venturing into YouTube and streaming is the ideal career path for you.
5. Gaming Makes You Happy
This is something that is often overlooked. Gaming does make you happy if you enjoy playing games.
As technology improves, so does the quality of immersion of gaming. Most popular games today employ a story-driven narrative to increase the immersion as one plays.
Imagine playing as the protagonist in a deeply enchanting story. Similar to how movies give a sense of escapism, this will allow you to get away all from your stress and worries for the day.
Add to the fact that people nowadays are so extremely busy that gaming at the end of the day is the only outlet for entertainment for most. You indulge yourself in the game and it keeps you happy all the time.
Moving on, here are the cons of gaming.
1. Gaming Addiction Is A Real Thing
Allow us to reiterate our earlier point, moderation is key. Anything taken in excess can be bad to one’s health.
Ask yourself this, “have you ever seen John without a game controller in his hands?” If you answered no, then John may have an addiction problem and it’s up to you to step in!
Playing games can be good but being addicted to it is the worst. For some, “one more level” or “5 more minutes” is their go-to excuse. And pretty soon, it will be 4.00 A.M. in the morning and you will need to get ready for work/school with hardly any sleep. This scenario will likely impact your daily schedule and cause you to be lethargic for the remainder of the day. Productivity drops and you get an earful from your boss for not being on point.
Worst of all, other levels of psychological stress may also manifest if you are not careful. Gamers may suffer from low self-esteem, social anxieties or even depression. Excessive gaming can also inspire feelings of guilt and shame. And uncontrolled gaming may also worsen present mental disorders.
If any of this happens, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate your gaming activities.
P/S “John” is a placeholder name. Anyone can be addicted to gaming, you need to know how to spot the signs and step in when necessary.
2. Long Term Gaming Can Damage Your Health
Don’t get misconstrued by the term e-sports. There’s nothing really “sporty” about gaming other than the occasional Nintendo Wii sports game. In fact, the opposite rings true.
It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that sitting with your back slouched all day playing games is not healthy to your physical and mental wellbeing. Gamers must be conscious at all times on the amount of time they are sitting while playing. And that’s not the worst part, hours of repeated movements can actually damage tendons and nerves in your hand. So whenever you feel like it, do remember to take a break!
Otherwise, gamers may also find their sleep habits disrupted when they are peering into screens on a daily basis. And if long gaming sessions are being played, unhealthy food may be taken regularly which leads to obesity.
3. Gaming Will Poke A Hole In Your Wallet
The art of gaming is not a cheap hobby one can partake in.
Depending on your preference, you can either opt for a console, a handheld console, or a gaming computer. Then, you’d need to fork out cash for each video game title, with AAA games being on the pricier side. If you are a collector, buying a deluxe version of the same AAA game is going to cost you a whole lot more. Add to that, subscription services, expansion packs, and micro-purchases and you’ve got a very expensive past time.
Worst still, there’s a trend of gacha games being produced, mostly on mobile phones that encourage you to spend to get more resources. In these games, you put in a certain amount of in-game currency to “roll the dice”, the loot quality often being dependent on your luck. Thus, you’ll be encouraged to spend to get more chances at opening chests. In other words, you’re gambling your money on digital items you may or may not get!
Like anything else in life, gaming has its fair share of pros and cons. There can be great benefits and devastating consequences. As with everything we do, moderation is always the key.
On the bright side, the e-sports scene is now producing more talented athletes than ever before. These e-athletes are likely to be the first wave of many, many more to come in the future.
Looking for a community of e-sport enthusiasts? MegPlay is an awesome platform to start from!
Feature image: medium.com