Is there such a thing as too much gaming?

Posted by David Konow

Of course anything worth doing is worth overdoing, but there’s danger in overdoing most everything, even with gaming.

You can hurt your hands from too much repetitive stress, you can get out of shape in a hurry from spending too much time playing in the chair, and you can go too long without sleep, just to name a few hazards that come with being obsessed with games.

So what are the warning signs, and how can you protect yourself? Well, GuySpeed.com recently posted a funny list of tell-tale gaming addict signs that include being the only one in fifth grade with arthritis, using Master Chief’s “power armor” for sexual protection, you find that your thumb prints have been scraped off clean, and you use the word "pwned" 200 times a day.

Alright, all kidding aside, with gaming you indeed have to perform physical and mental maintenance and take care of yourself to make sure you don’t burn out. On Amazon.com, game designer and author Jane McGonigal, who has long preached the positive aspects of gaming, has given us some tips about gaming health.

First off, she recommends not playing more than 21 hours a week, which averages out to three hours a day. As McGonigal warns, "Whenever you play more than 21 hours a week, the benefits of gaming start to decline sharply." 40 hours or more, "the psychological benefits of playing games have disappeared entirely – and are replaced with negative impacts on your physical health, relationships, and real life goals."

McGonigal also recommends playing with friends and family instead of playing alone. "Gaming strengthens your social bonds and builds trust. You can get mental and emotional benefits from single-player games, but to really unlock the power of games, it’s important to play them with people you really know and like as often as  possible."

Along with this, also play with friends and family face to face instead of online. "If you’re in the same physical space, you’ll supercharge both the positive emotional impacts and social bonding."

One other gaming tip McGonigal recommends is if a game makes you feel bad, don’t play it. This is common sense 101, but as McGonigal reminds us, "Sometimes we get so caught up in our games that we forget they’re supposed to be fun. If you find yourself feeling really upset when you lose a game, you’re too invested."

So again, gaming in moderation, not in excess, can be very good for you, and if you follow these tips, you should have longer, healthier, and happier gaming experiences, and gaming habits, for life.