How games can be for good.
Since the PlayStation 2 there has been a lot of negative press about how video games rot the mind of teenagers and leads them to commit crimes similar to the ones they commit in the video games that they play. An example of this is the high profile Manhunt case back in 2004. However, video games aren’t always a bad influence like the press have stated.
For about six years now I’ve suffered with anxiety which then brought on depression. In my secondary school days from Year 9 to early Year 11 I used to wake up every morning and be sick before I left for school. Then for the majority of the day I would suffer with tingling in the majority of my body, feeling constantly sick, bad stomach pains and so on. The anxiety gradually got worse and worse. Although I stopped being sick, when I started college my anxiety’s intensity increased. This brought on more intense anxiety/panic attacks and made me not want to go outside. Two years later and I’ve finished college and started working. I’ve also been taking Citalopram which is an anti-depressant (all of the other pills they prescribed me didn’t work) for six months which is making things more bearable. I still suffer from anxiety/panic attacks and constant feeling of sickness, tingling and other symptoms but there is something that has helped me throughout my years of suffering with this ‘mental disorder’. Gaming.
When I used to come home from secondary school I used to feel very down and worthless. At first I used to just lie in bed, feeling sorry for myself but then I received an Xbox 360 (sorry!) as a Christmas present from my mother and that changed things for me. I’ve always loved video games ever since I can remember but the only console I had was a PS2 at the time. All of my friends had an Xbox so one Christmas my mother surprised me with an Xbox 360 and a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. So every night I used to sit up, playing COD with my friends until my eyes were about to pop out and it took my mind off of everything. The sickness, the embarrassment, the depression. It was all gone! I then began buying more and more games and whenever I felt crappy or anxious, I would sit down and play games and it worked! Games such as Skyrim made me feel like I was in a whole different world where all of my troubles were irrelevant.
In mid-October my girlfriend bought me an early Christmas present, the PlayStation Vita. This was a game changer for me. The Vita enabled me to sit up in bed before I went to sleep and play an hour or so of a game. This allowed me to forget about all my troubles, whether they being work related, family related and so on. Vita games such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation and LittleBigPlanet: PSVita set my mind in a completely different world. Whereas games such as Smart As, Treasures of Montezuma Blitz, Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Sunflowers and Rayman Origins worked as a quick fix or just a fun game which would lighten up my mood.
There has been studies of video games having positive effects on gamers. Such as;
- Memory (Smart As…)
- Teamwork (Dungeon Hunter: Alliance)
- Problem solving (Uncharted: Golden Abyss)
- Mapping (Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified)
- Pattern recognition (Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward)
- Perseverance (Rayman Origins)
The Vita is now a huge part of my life. No, I’m not addicted to video games and I do go out and play in my band, go shopping with my girlfriend and spend time with my family. But if I have an evening to myself, I turn on my Vita, message some friends from the PS Vita Forums, and play a game or two.
Video games can be addictive and yes, they may rarely create unfortunate circumstances such as the saddening Manhunt case. However, they can create a positive effect on people, such as myself.
Which leads to my question for the readers; Do you use video games as a ‘medicine’ for your problems?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!