Video gaming is one of my longest running hobbies to date; rivalled only by a passion for adventuring/exploring and reading. Although, it could be argued that they are all in the same vein, just one happens in the real world, one in the imagination, and the other in a virtual one.
Gaming and my Blog
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that gaming is gently intertwined into my blog; like my page dedicated to explaining how gaming benefits those with dyspraxia. Over the years video games have certainly made it easier for me to handle not only my dyspraxia-related tendencies but adapt to a few other struggles that I have to face.
On my Dyspraxia and Video Games page, I go over the general points and I’m confident I’ve covered all the main bases. If you’re interested the page link to the benefits of Video Gaming to dyspraxia will be at the end of this post. This post is to explore another benefit to gaming that I haven’t covered yet. This benefit isn’t strictly connected to dyspraxia itself and is more on the side of mental health. Specifically how it helps me deal with a wave of depression and/or anxiety.
Reality away from Home
Truth to be told, the real world can be an overwhelming, dark, and depressing place at times. On top of that, there are times where I struggle with my mental health, even at times when there’s no apparent reason for me to be down. During certain times of despair, games have helped dig me out.
When you’re assisting a team of other players, helping in-game characters or simply accomplishing tasks you’re going to feel good about it for sure! There are games which I can get totally invested in and this can really help me emotionally or mentally. Getting totally submerged into a game isn’t strictly a good thing, but in short bursts it can be beneficial.
It’s interesting that certain games I am fond of have the character/characters transported to another world. It’s a scenario I click with easily and for good reason. Games transport me to another world so I can identify with the character immediately should they find themselves in a new world – we’re both discovering a new place and things for the first time! When you jump into a world where the characters are already established within their world it makes for a different, but no way less, gaming experience.
Constructing an immersive universe
For me, a game doesn’t need to have the best graphics or the most realistic physics going in order to draw me in. The game doesn’t even need to have an incredibly massive open world that boasts a 40+ hour game-play either. Some of the greatest games I have ever played have been simple in design, effective in its execution, and can be completed in a single weekend or sitting.
When a game is beautifully constructed and has the ability to pull me into its crafted reality it acts as a type of meditation. A digital world that has the ability to take me away from whatever is bothering me is exactly what I want in certain games. My dyspraxic mind does not leave me alone as it’s constantly whirling ~ probably a byproduct of my anxiety. With so many thoughts swirling and clashing around in my head I need something to focus my mind on. Gaming does that spectacularly and captures multiple senses, which is why it makes it incredible to get absorbed into.
Gaming: The Escape from Reality
Treated as an escape there is a threat that gaming could lead to self-isolation and neglect of life. Instead of tackling-real life problems, deciding to disappear into the cyber world. Gaming for me is an escape, but only to re-energise me so I can come back ready to tackle the important issue(s). I don’t have the ability to run away from my problems as the anxiety would simply swell up inside me. One of the advantages to my anxiety is simply that – fuelled to problem solve. In contrast, I have known people who treat games as their only means of handling problems and this leads to pretty toxic outcomes. Personally, I would need to come back at some point to deal with the problem I am having. Deep down I have built a healthy relationship with gaming and a respect for my own mind.
The temporary distraction helps as it’s one of those things where I’m not playing a game anymore; I’m literally living in another world. If a game has characters that I want to know about then they are no longer characters, they are people to me and this completes the immersion. After this gaming spell I’m revitalised and ready to tackle my own life problems or emotions.
My Gaming Immersion
There are games out there which are considered top of their game; they are the greatest of the greats, the best of the best, the crème de la crème. The majority of top video game lists feature them. People rave about them almost all the time. As for me, there are games that get universal praise which fail to hook me at all. How and if I connect to a game is something that I am currently unsure of, there are just some games that I connect well with and others not so much. The only element I know is if I can relate to the game in some way. Even so, some games I don’t think too highly of can still offer a little time-waster when I need something quick to jump into.
I play games to escape my reality but quite often there are games that have elements of the real feelings and issues that I’m facing or have faced. Sometimes directly addressed and sometimes it’s a subjective theme that just lines up ever so nicely. It helps me feel positive when I help a character through it and then I feel more confident in myself to deal with my own problem(s). On a rare occasion there are characters that I just click with and that helps to really motivate me.
Each game that I invest in offers a different experience to me. Even games that aren’t fully compelling give me a break from my loud mind and let off some steam. With the more compelling games sometimes I feel like I’m not the actual character I’m in control of but helping them (like a Jimmy Cricket type persona of sorts) and with other games I do feel I am the actual character. Depends how well I can identify with the controllable character I suppose.
Games are a wonderful art form and gravely underrated at the best of times. They have tested and benefited me more than any film or book. I could go and on until I run out of internet ink about all the different games I have played but have held back and kept to the general facts.
There is another layer to this topic and I’m aiming to release it next week. Stay tuned for that!
Thanks for reading my latest post and I’ll see you next post.