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Why People Love Video Games: Stress Reliever? Time Killer?

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By: Devonne Tourre

     When asked, many people say that they love video games because they are funplain and simple. And while this is true, there are lots of other reasons that go into why people love and play video games.

    Video games have an array of genres that range from shooters, to platformers, to strategy games and puzzle games. As it turns out, the many genres of video games compliment people and their interests, and have different functions, such as a destresser or a timekiller.

    One game that caught the eye of researchers was the first puzzle-oriented game—Tetris. According to the Huffington Post and the researchers at Mind Research Network, “When Tetris was first released many remarked about the peaceful, relaxed nature of trying to fit the puzzle together. Tetris actually increases brain efficiency. Trying to fit the T-shape into your Tetris puzzles isn’t just cathartic, but scientists argue, it may actually be good for you.” Research has shown that this puzzle-centered game has the ability to make parts of the brain more efficient, such as the cerebral cortexthe piece of the brain that plays an important role in the consciousness.

    Let’s say that a student has had a long day at work or school. They come home and want to relax and tune out the world for a bit. Video games provide that escape from reality. Games with immersive, open worldssuch as Mojang’s Minecraft and the Batman: Arkham seriescan take the player’s mind off of real life problems for a short amount of time, thus allowing the student to relax.

   Some people like to play games because they allow them to act differently than they normally would and take on the attitude or mindset of a videogame character. Research from the scientists at the University of Essex shows that players feel better about themselves—emotionally, mentally, and/or physically—when acting with a new identity, whether as a different hero or villain, gender, or otherwise.

    Game designer and author Jane McGonigal told Time magazine “When we play video games, we have a real sense of optimism in our abilities and our opportunities to get better and succeed, and more physical and mental energy to engage with difficult problems, and that is actually the physiological and psychological state of game play.” The positive change caused by video games could be perfecting the player’s talents in order to beat a level, grinding to finally defeat that final boss, or going after that final achievement to put the game to rest.
    Whatever the reason people play video games, a lot of gamers play them for plenty of different reasons. Gaming might be just a hobby to some, a mature way to relieve stress, or even a source of achievement,  but a lot of people love to play video games because they feel a passion for them, one way or another.

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