Why I love games and gaming

There are several life lessons that I consider important to personal growth as a human being, and I believe games teach us so much about ourselves.

The human race has gone through many wars, conflicts and they are usually over control of land, hatred of a religion or race of people. Power, Wealth, revenge, just take your pick of human emotions that have started wars.

In our own life times, we meet bullies, maybe we are the bully. Maybe you are the shy one. Maybe you’re the peace keeper. Such diverse personalities and each carving their own path in life. We have so many life lessons that we learn. Empathy. Love. Trust. Forgiveness. Friendship. Just to name a few. Gaming encompasses all those things in such a way that it is almost sub-conscious - without even knowing it, we are learning about life lessons, each time we play a game.

A game is a controlled environment. A beautifully crafted piece of art whom characters can come to life through the skill of the player. What determines that skill? is it genes? is it intelligence? or maybe it’s lightning quick reflexes. Maybe it’s just sheer hard work.

In that controlled environment, your skin color doesn’t matter, your religion doesn’t matter, your body size or sex or age… all doesn’t contribute to how well you play the game. And the beautiful thing is: we don’t even think about it - it’s so engaging, so entertaining, so time consuming that the only thing we’re thinking about is how to pass that next level, how to link those combo’s and all those little skillful tricks those fingers can achieve.

By far, the biggest life lesson I find gaming teaches us is one that everybody should learn - that it’s O.K. to make mistakes. it’s o.k. as long as you pick yourself up, learn from it and improve on the next time. This one lesson is so valuable and yet, so hard to learn. You might rage the first time. You might scream the second time. Blame others. Blame the game. Blame your device. Blame, blame, blame everything and anything but yourself.

The beauty of gaming is: through all that frustration, strain, anger, calm, composure and ultimately getting that feeling of achievement - you are in-fact changing. You have found a way to beat that level and all that hard work has paid off.

Sure there are cheats. There are trolls. There is the easy way to beat the game. But what is that instant rush that you get when you do cheat? what exactly is that feeling? Are you proud of yourself? maybe. What does that feeling turn into when you get caught? guilt? shame? maybe. Even the act of being a cheater and a troll will eventually turn into a life lesson.

These days, competitive gaming has a name: Esports. But once upon a time, players just wanted to know who was the best. In the same way the Olympic games was born from that same curiousity and sportsmanship. Countries put aside their differences to wage wars in sports with the best intentions, forming friendships, rather than waging actual wars with weapons of destruction.

We as a human race are constantly in a state of competitiveness. Gaming is the neutral grounds in which all humans can participate. Each death in game teaches us tolerance. Each win in game teaches us humbleness. eventually. Some learn quicker than others.

Those who persist through all the hardship learn even greater things.
I love gaming for all the endless possibilities it creates. it is accessible to almost everyone, spare a thought to those with no fingers. Technology is bridging that gap as well, with eye to mouse recognition.

The future of gaming is one that brings the human race together. One day, I dream that the gaming industry gets recognized for their efforts in uniting people all over the world in such a way that no other medium can.

Even sports creates rivalries that see fans fight against other fans. Gaming can overcome that through the anonymity of being a character, a hero, in a controlled environment, that is gaming. That is the beauty of games.

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As beautiful and well-intentioned as your post is: What countless hours in a state of constant ChA0z-queue has taught me is that most people will never learn.
You can only put up with so many rage-pinging insta-lockers playing like they abandoned their brain on loading screen, until you lose faith in the human species.

I’m not talking about people simply making mistakes. I’m not talking about trolls. I’m talking about your average player, who wants to win (badly), but sadly ends up sabotaging himself -and his team- by unfathomable acts of stupidity. And the learning process you wrote about at length just never kicks in.
Because you meet those people again. And even if they managed to improve mechanically, to some degree, their attitude is still every bit as despicable. If anything, it’s worse, since their K/D/A of 1/15/2 no longer serves as a reminder to even the most clouded of minds that they just performed like crap.
With 0/6/1 and finally having reached tier 5, it could be anyone’s fault. No, it has to be someone else’s fault.

Like, I want to believe in everything you just wrote, but no matter how much I strain my inner Naruto - the moment I hit PLAY, I am being plunged into a world of despair.

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It’s discouraging to remember that VG wasn’t always the way it is now. I remember when I first started playing, people were in general encouraging and friendly. I got invited to guilds and other people’s matches all the time, and chat in between matches allowed me to learn and find some people who became good friends.

Those days are gone. WHY they’re gone is largely a mystery to me. Did the game change so much that it went from being fun to something that produces so much frustration in its players that they react with anger and venom to even the smallest setback? Did the player base change from casual players looking for fun to mostly hard core players who don’t tolerate “n00bs”? I don’t know, really. But it’s not the same game experience as it used to be, and I doubt if I picked it up today for the first time that I’d keep playing.

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That’s definitely the case for me. I can tolerate a certain number of bad games, a certain amount of toxicity. If those start to define the entire gaming experience, there’s a shift from “fun” to “frustrating”. And that has been happening with Casual match-making for a while now.

I’m not alone with that, either, I think. At least the people I play with regularly express similar sentiments - and they’re among the most laid-back guys I know.
One came back after a very long break, and said he couldn’t understand what was going on these days: just terrible matches all over.

And the more frustrated you get, the more likely it is you (or rather: I) start contributing to the ping-spamming shit-fest.

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In that case, you have become more tolerable to trolls. and that troll is one for a reason. it might be upbringing. it may be education. it just might be bad parenting or simply an underlying evilness.

Sure it brings out some pretty raw emotions. but that’s just part of the process. Some bullies turn into full adults and never realize they are one. Some do come to the realization.

I’m not talking about KDA or the end score or even VG. i’m talking about all types of gaming. from the humble game of chess against an A.I. to the Massive Multi player Online such as Warcraft. They all serve one purpose, to better yourself. Whether it be through a simple coloring app or a complex puzzle solving app, they are all created with enjoyment in mind, and that is why gaming is such a beautiful thing.

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Part 2: Gaming in our current culture.

The stigma against gaming is very prevalent in our culture. it is seen as an addiction, an evil, a source of irrational distraction. Much in the same way any addictive substance is treated, gaming is o.k. as long as you keep it under control.

Humans naturally have an addictive personality. Some call it habit. Some call it a routine. Our very emotions become a subject that is compared to an addiction - love addict - sound familiar? Chocoholic? a seemingly odd combination of complex sugars with varying degree’s of an odd bitter flavor. It is natural that gaming can become an addiction, as it is our emotional attachment we place on that game which becomes the chemical reaction we crave.

There are all sorts of addictions. There are endless rules to follow, socially acceptable behaviors - all in a bid to keep those addictions within a tolerable limit.

I like the saying: all good things in moderation - gaming should be treated as such. Moderate your gaming time to fit into your lifestyle. Don’t let it become an addiction by practicing some self regulating behaviors. Take breaks. Recognizing fatigue, hunger, loss of a sense of time. know that it is quite hard to do and will take some practice to get it right.

Another frighteningly similar comparison is gambling - bright lights, a sense of easy earnings in a short time period, a need to fulfill a loss. For some, the only solution is to remove themselves from that environment.

I seek a different approach - self awareness. mindfulness. being in-tune with your body. I believe everybody can achieve a level of self awareness that will give us control over our own thoughts and ultimately, make healthy choices about what is best for our daily lives.

Bringing this back to the gaming world. I hope this has somehow shed some light into how gaming can be a healthy part of our lives as it gives so many hours of entertainment and remember that it is designed to be enjoyed. So keep in tune with those happy endorphins and take regular breaks when it turns sour or bitter.

gamers RISE UP!

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I found this interesting video, which highlights the “it’s ok to fail” part of my post and how you can apply it to everyday life.

entitled - “The super mario effect”

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Played a game called ‘Went Outside’ once. The graphic’s great and the frame rate’s consistently high, then an NPC called me a wanker and I thought how this game is any different from Runescape.

There was a reason why I chose a moba.

I wanted something that would always change, that would never get boring. I wanted to leave reality find a place where I could become strong. The real world was too ruthless for me. Too boring and unimaginative. In an environment which bred misery, I sought a way to get strong.

I found vainglory.

Through effort, decision making, fast reflexes, and strategy I found a place I could become strong. Lore built the world and characters emitted life.

Slowly, over time, this paradise started to die. Things were changing- and not for the good. No longer my strength felt authentic. No longer this world felt real. Vainglory turned into a video game, and nothing more.

This strength is not bound by a video game. Think how long it takes you to check the scoreboard. It’s less than a second in game. How do I know? I was watching a vainglory stream and could not keep up in the split second the player opened and closed the scoreboard.

Our minds can enter a “matrix mode” Where fast decision making and comprehension is enhanced. This is extremely useful in situations irl, such as fires and such.

Not only did I learn how to make decisions, but fine tune why enemies make their decisions. This type of comprehension, knowing where something comes from rather than copying down, is applicable in studies such as math and science.

Sometimes I keep a calculator out and calculate item stats and such. It feels natural.

Unfortunately, brainless media and misconceptions still circulate. The same "video games = violence " MEME, is still believed today even though not a sliver of credible research has proven so.

Video games also improve spatial visualization and memory. Who can remember all vainglory items? I can.

Video games have powerful potential but rests in the hands of devs to maintain and innovate better games.

I never liked videogames, I was forced to like them by my parents growing up on the farm. They told me it’s what makes a man, how he gets his calluses. They say when it’s time for me to settle down and find myself a woman, that she’ll scoff at my soft, supple hands. I never could finish a game. I never was meant to be on a farm. I’m a city boy. I hope the city ladies like my hands for what they are.