Yes, you can definitely spend too much time playing games to the point where it’s unhealthy.
At the same time, there’s a lot of good things about gaming, and anyone who is a true gamer, or had a gamer phase in their lives knows the obvious reasons we like to play.
Games are entertaining, they’re challenging, they’re a healthy way to get out aggression, they improve your hand-eye coordination, they’re like meditation or exercise in reducing stress and taking your mind off your troubles, and when you play old-school games, they take you back to simpler moments in your life like a time machine.
Now as the Hollywood Reporter tells us, Jane McGonigal PhD, who is the director of game research and development at the Institute for the Future, recently spoke at Siggraph, a computer graphics conference, about how gaming is more beneficial than we realize. She even mentioned studies that claim that games have helped people with autism, ADHD (and you thought gaming helped create it), post traumatic stress disorder, and cancer.
I know I’ve read reports about gaming helping with Alzheimer’s patients, with apps like puzzles thought to help prevent the onset of the disease, and McGonigal said, “When I think about games, I’m very interested in what abilities they create and also the destinies they lead us towards.”
As for the positive things games can bring about, McGonigal mentioned that games can excite you, make you feel content, joyful, relieved, and more on the emotional spectrum. She also added, “Every single second that you are not sitting still, you are actively improving the health of your heart, and your lungs and brain.”
McGonigal is also the best-selling author of Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, which is published by Penguin, and the title clearly speaks for itself. There’s definitely a lot of good that can come from gaming, and now McGonigal is providing much appreciated scientific theory to support it.