Gaming is very often the focus of articles around anti-social teenagers, violence, and general struggles of the gaming population. The elephant in the room is that there are so many pros to being a gamer and being a part of a gaming community. It is extremely hard to hear about my friends’ families not being supportive or understanding of their hobbies, or finding out that my friends are being accused of generalized anti-social behaviors, awkwardness, etc. Gaming is the new rock music of our time and the hard thing for people to understand is that every new thing is the bad habit-forming, bad reputation thing. Let’s reflect on television, rock and roll, arcade games, being on the phone too much, instant messenger…the list goes on. You have heard of these things being bad for you and causing bad habits, but like anything else it is all about balance. Here are some pros of being a part of the gaming community, as a whole.
- Gaming Socials: Whether you have Dungeons and Dragons sessions on Fridays, get together for an afternoon of Overwatch on Xbox Live, or join in a local painting social at your gaming shop, there are plenty of opportunities to work on team work skills, socialization, problem solving, relationship building, etc. Gaming online helps you build a team while joining a painting social could teach you some artistic techniques and help you make friends.
- Strategy and Problem Solving: Many games are based around puzzles and strategizing with a team. Just like how you improve social skills, you also have an opportunity to figure out how to effectively play a character with certain skills, complete puzzles, and use the character’s strengths to your benefit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERKpStN4LOg
- Inspiration: Many games have an opportunity to include a life lesson: a difficult scenario for the character that may teach you something. Examples of these games include Bethesda’s Fallout 4, 343’s Halo, and several other games. This may inspire you to improve your means of living, your philosophical view on things, and make you thankful.
- Artistic Talents: You may decide that gaming inspires you to become more artistic. Whether you are painting your Warhammer 40K army a certain color coordination, drawing your favorite character, or blogging about a game, you will improve your artistic abilities and explore other hobbies inspired by this one.
- Stress Relief: Please, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. Most of us players are good at separating the gaming world from the real world and will take time to play Player vs. Player, or spend some time building something in Minecraft to relieve stress. By spending time on a hobby and taking a step back from life you have an awesome opportunity to take a break.
- Sense of Community: By being in social groups with similar interests, you have a chance to operate in a community, have friends, go to events, and debate common issues. A good place to see gamers debate and discuss concepts are the Gaming Subreddit and the Role Playing Subreddit.
- Using Imagination: Let’s be honest, how many sci-fi books have we read that have started first as a DnD campaign? How often do we listen to Critical Role or Geeks New England and get pins and needles down our necks when we hear some creepy stuff happen in the campaign? How scary is it when the alien jumps out at you in Alien Isolation? Using your imagination is a really healthy thing to do and can inspire you to write, record, or work on a project around the game. It can also give you new ideas on how to handle certain situations.