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wundayatta's avatar

What do you learn from obsessive video game playing?

Asked by wundayatta (58638points) June 25th, 2010

There are a wide variety of games, and I believe some are social and others are solitary. I don’t know what proportion of games played are solitary. I want to know what people get out of playing video games. Is it mindless entertainment, or is there something more? If we get different things from different kinds of games or from different individual games, please break it out by game or kind of game.

I’d also like to compare this to obsessive fluthering. What do we get from that? Mindless entertainment, or more? If more, then what is that more? How does that compare to the more you can get from video games?

Please mention whether you are a video game player or not.

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31 Answers

beccalynnx's avatar

I play videogames once in a while, but it’s usually Wii sports or something of the sort. sometimes old nintendo games like zelda or mario.
I think it is mainly mindless entertainment with videogames. And socially, gives ground. My boyfriend and friends spend much more time playing vgs, and talk about them 24/7. Just entertainment.

Fluther, on the other hand, brings a lot of info to me that i wouldn’t have crossed otherwise. I learn very interesting, and often useful, info from fluther. :)

ragingloli's avatar

- Improved hand-eye- coordination (all of them)
– Improved spatial perception (especially FPS)
– Improved ability to handle geometric shapes
– Improved skills in tactics and strategy (team based FPS and RTS)

Spider's avatar

I play video games, but how obsessively I play depends on what my current interests are, what season it is, and what games are available. I tend to enjoy two-player (both competitive and cooperative games), and solitary games.

I can get mental exercise (thanks for the breakdown @ragingloli), but sometimes I like the mindlessness of them. Two-player games are fun because it’s fun to share fun stuff with other people, preferably in the same room so you can see them throwing their bodies around trying to navigate a vehicle or scream out when something happens. It’s kind of exciting. I never got into MMOs because they seemed way too involved for me.

I’m a fluther newbie, so the level of my obsession will likely peak soon and then drop off – that’s my MO. What do I get from it? Well, a sense of community, primarily. Whether we realize it or not, we are all connected (and I don’t just mean via the interwebs), and fluthering is a way to build our personal communities.

mrentropy's avatar

I play games on occasion. They’re usually RPG-type games. As long as they’ve have a good story line I consider them to be similar to books. Only, I’m the hero! Like, Fallout 3, Oblivion, and… stuff.

Fluther is a complete time waster that allows me to appear almost intelligent.

CMaz's avatar

Since this is about obsessive…

I learn that it throws plenty of VALUABLE time in the crapper.

tedd's avatar

As far as actual education, not a whole lot.

BUT, there is research to show that it can help “make you smarter” in the sense that people who do lots of like, word searches or puzzles or things like that keep their mind “fresh” so to say. Kind of the “Your brain sees this, reacts like this, does this as a result” type thing.

James_Mal's avatar

I learned that wasting my time in front of a television with hot a pixelated women is a lot easier than going and talking to those women in real life. :)

Joking. Sort of…

reverie's avatar

I occasionally play video games, but it’s pretty rare these days, on average, I play less than once a month.

What I enjoy about it when I do play is that it is a very psychologically immersing activity, and it basically stops me ruminating about things, and focusing my attention anywhere than on the current task. When I really want to disconnect my mind and not think about anything important, I sometimes choose to play a video game, as it can be a relaxing activity for this reason, particularly when my mind has been racing or I’ve been experiencing a lot of worries.

Of course, there are other activities that I also enjoy that focus my mind (e.g., socialising, reading, walking, crochet, playing music), but I find that video games seem to very powerful in their capacity to immerse me. Sometimes if I am feeling stressed or my mind is really wandering, I find it difficult to concentrate on reading or other tasks of that sort.

In terms of the specific games I like to play, I really enjoy games that have a nice story and characters, like the Zelda games and Final Fantasy. It’s a very soothing experience, for a number of reasons. In one way, I suppose it’s comforting as it reminds me of being a teenager and having fun playing games at my friend’s house. It immerses me in the sense that you have to concentrate and constantly perform motor actions, and I guess this effect is amplified is there is a nice story, pleasant characters, and so on.

I don’t really go on Fluther obsessively, but I guess it has some of those things in common, in the sense that you can focus and immerse yourself in a discussion and enjoy reading what others have to say. I also find that some challenging topics are enjoyable to contribute to, in that developing my point of view and articulating it in writing can be pleasingly satisfying and a good intellectual exercise.

gemiwing's avatar

I qualify as a gamer.

I’m curious about the word ‘obsessive’, since to me, that means doing something (anything) to detriment of other truly important things (children,spouse, self-care). I would say that using games to escape reality to the point of harming ones life, is the same reason alcohol or religion can be used- something to fill the pothole.

While I don’t play obsessively (I keep tight tabs because of my mental disorders) I’d be more than happy to tell you why I play.

I like playing games where not only am I the protagonist, I get to actively participate in the story. Either by choosing a path, enemy or answer to a question.

I like playing racing games because it gives me visual, audio and tactile input. It helps me wake up or get that manic feeling out without resorting to truly dangerous behaviors.

I like puzzle games because it keeps my mind active and gives me a sense of achievement.

I like sports/adventure games because since I’m disabled, it gives me the chance to experience running/swimming/snowboarding. I feel less left out after playing them.

Buttonstc's avatar

There was a study done several years ago which showed some surprising results in medicine.

Surgeons who had played the most video games in their youth had higher success rates, especially with the Da Vinci system and similar robotic surgery devices.

Considering the amount of manual dexterity required for many of these games, that makes sense (except for those old fogeys who are convinced that video games have no redeeming value whatsoever).

Anyhow, that may be a question to ask your prospective surgeon.

CMaz's avatar

How obsessive can you get with pong? :-)

“except for those old fogeys”
Us “old fogeys” did not have to contend with the Virtual Reality that is with us today.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

There is nothing virtual about virtual reality.

HTDC's avatar

I learn new ways to deal with my anger (not really) you know how annoying it is to lose in online multiplayer games?! Such a love/hate relationship. But it passes the time. Which is all I want right now, something to make the days go faster. Wow, that sounds really depressing…lol.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I learned that the best way to take down a Cacodemon is with a chainsaw. Seriously. Once you start sawing into the son of a bitch, he can’t attack you. Great way to save ammo. The only caveat is, don’t try to fight more than one of them this way.

ragingloli's avatar

Will come in handy on Armageddon.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve never been a gamer, but I have obsessively participated in a number of sites like fluther. I experienced some of the same things other have described. I was manic when I first started this, and then depressed and participating on Q&A sites allowed me to focus my mind and distract it from all the other shit that was bothering me and dragging me down.

It also connected me with other people, which was good and bad. It was good in that I found a number of people who said they cared. Perhaps more importantly, I felt like I was part of a community (whether people cared or not). People knew I was there and they knew something about me.

It was bad because I formed a number of obsessive relationships that exacerbated my mental illness. In fact, they became a kind of addiction. I was pulled out of depression for a while by falling in love, but when the love ended, as it inevitably did (usually within a month), I crashed worse than I had been before.

I have, however, learned a lot. I think I’ve improved my writing skills. I’ve learned a lot about issues of interest to me, and I’ve deepened my thinking on these same issues. FWIW.

Nullo's avatar

I realized one day that the video game can be seen as an illustration of how the soul works: you control your body much like how you control your character. Exaggeration under this model means that every time you load a game, you are effectively having an out-of-body experience.

BoBo1946's avatar

personally, have a lot of free time being retired, and it just something to pass the time!

absalom's avatar

I play competitively as well as for fun. There are teams and whole communities that spring up around certain games, and you get to watch how the competition and metagame evolve, how the communities grow and change, and many people form ‘lasting relationships’ and end up meeting in person. For a lot I think it just acts as another and more relaxed outlet for social activity.

A lot of assholes exist in such communities though (inevitably, because it’s the Internet), so one thing I’ve learned is not to take insults too seriously. Cognitive benefits include those mentioned by @ragingloli; you learn how to mentally approach all video games after having played one obsessively, and I’ve found that getting really good at one FPS will help you substantially in other FPSs.

ganti_x89's avatar

It also helps lower the risk of getting arthritis

stratman37's avatar

Before someone starts accusing gamers of being anti-social “loners” with no people skills, it should be said that the Wii and Guitar Hero and Rock Band are bringing family fun back into the living room.

My boy has been playing GH for a while now, and once we learned you can sing with it? Aw man! You should see my little 7 year old daughter belt one out. She’s becoming quite the diva lately!

Scooby's avatar

I often get the joy stick out! :-/ it’s my favourite toy………………..

evandad's avatar

That learning first aid is a waste of time.

Jabe73's avatar

Reality is only your perception of it so if you get satisfaction from gaming or even excessive gaming then you are no less happy than someone who is out there in the “real world” taking part in more social activities. When you have many people close to you that died in a very short time span gaming really helps get your mind off the stress of your situation. Video games are fun and they take your mind off stress (at least for me) more than being out there among very annoying people. Fluther is as close to “socializing” as I ever want to get these days. Online chess is fun too.

Nullo's avatar

@Jabe73 I challenge you to prove that perception is reality.

Jabe73's avatar

@Nullo It is your own, you could be at work with someone and the day is dragging, you have a horrible headache, it will be a real slow day for you. The person you are working with could be in a great mood, no aches or pains and the day will seem to fly for them, the same amount of time passed but the difference is how each person percieved it. It is the same with someone looking at the glass half full/empty. Each person’s own perception of events is in a sense their own reality but not the overall reality.

I made a similar post in better detail about this on a question about “Is time an illusion”. I’m not repeating it here on this post. I don’t understand what you meant about how video games can be seen as an illustration on how the soul works. Can you prove we have a soul?

Nullo's avatar

@Jabe73 And yet no amount of perception will repair your television after you put a Wiimote through the screen.

wundayatta's avatar

@Nullo Are you seeing a broken tv screen? Of course your TV doesn’t work. It’s broken. You need to perceive it as whole. There can be no doubt in your mind. Then it will work just fine. If there is any doubt in your mind, it’s not going to work. Didn’t you learn this when reading “The Little Engine That Could?”

zenele's avatar

I don’t play video games. I think I played enough when I was a kid. My escapism is usually TV and movies, or roaming the internet and reading the news and stuff. I also liked fluther a lot more before it became a kind of game with awards and stuff.

Nullo's avatar

@zenele Try the Final Fantasy series. 1–6 can be played with a low-powered emulator and don’t require terribly snazzy hardware specs.

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