Video games have long been scrutinized for promoting violence and crime, but they have also been linked to psychological wellbeing. On top of that, there is even evidence to suggest that certain types of video games can help keep us sharper as we age, going as far as delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s. This contradiction between the two perceptions arises from the fact that one is based on assumption, while the other is a fact.
There is No Causal Link between Violence in Video Games and Real Life
The perception that playing violent games can lead to violent behaviour is a myth based on assumptions. The American Psychological Association (APA) has repeatedly conducted studies and reaffirmed the same as fact. However, playing violent video games in a minute number of instances may or may not lead to verbal yelling among the players. In an even smaller number of individuals, the worst outcome was shoving and pushing among the players. As stated by the APA, even such links are hard to establish at times.
Playing popular sports such as rugby and soccer regularly leads to much more violent episodes between the players. Therefore, the causal link between violent video games and real-life violence cannot be established without attributing the same link to most sports in general.
Link between Mental Wellbeing and Video Games
According to studies conducted by independent clinical psychologists, as well as several mental health organisations, videos games are directly linked to mental wellbeing. People with or without diagnosed psychological issues find it easier to relax after playing even a short session of their favourite game. Players are often observed showing signs that they feel more empowered, as the confidence in their own decisions grows after playing games where their decisions affected the outcomes.
A sense that one’s decisions matter and affect the world around them can go a long way in making anyone feel better about themselves. For individuals with clinical depression though, it can make a big difference. Most importantly, some games have the ability to instil in us a sense of responsibility as well. In addition to gaining confidence, players also gain a better understanding of how their behaviours and actions can have lasting impact on the lives of everyone around them.
Sense of Reward and Accomplishment: The Importance of Genres
It is extremely important for every video game to provide players with a sense of reward and/or accomplishment. This leads to relaxation and happiness, both of which are of course, instrumental to mental wellbeing. The relaxation and sense of reward is often heightened by a game’s difficulty level, but such games may not be suitable for everyone. This brings us to the all-important question of video game genres and how important they are to ensure mental health benefits for each player.
For example, online gambling games take it to the next level by providing players with an opportunity to receive real life rewards in exchange for their time. Progressive slots games with huge jackpots can make someone a millionaire overnight, and it does not get more rewarding than that. However, online slots and other gambling games can also become a source of depression and frustration for the player if they are not playing at a fair casino.
There are numerous online casino establishments available to South Africans today, making it difficult to know which ones are legit, and which ones are not. We suggest checking out Online Casino Review for more advice on how to gamble sensibly, and where to play slots for the highest chance of winning. They also work closely with BeGambleAware to ensure that addictions are kept in check. In case you do have a history of serious online gambling addiction though, online casinos may not be the right genre for you.
Maximum Benefit: Which Game is for Whom?
The highly acclaimed RPG games in the Dark Souls series present a high sense of reward and accomplishment in front of players. However, that sense must be achieved with repetition, struggle and gradual improvements. Games like that appeal to hardcore gamers more than casual gamers who are looking to find relaxation and confidence from their gaming sessions.
Life is Strange 1 & 2 is much more suited for providing a strange but fulfilling journey in that case, because they focus more on the player’s decision making and in-game experience, rather than testing their gaming skills. Persona 5 mixes skill and decision-making in a rewarding combination that almost everyone will find to be highly entertaining.
Those looking to keep their minds sharp will also benefit from mainstream games like the ones we just mentioned. There is, however, a more focused, clinically proven set of small games which can actively work against the gradual degeneration of our brain function due to age and/or disease. Check them out here for more information.