Video games are often scrutinized for the lack of productive value. Yet supporters of Video games have been quick to fight back. Pointing out areas it has been proven to improve hand eye hand coordination. Along with helping to manage stress level by having fun and diverting your attention from daily woes.
Video games also serve our deeper need to indulge in fantasy. That in itself can provide productive value if ones comes to understand the need to engage in fantasy in some aspect of our lives.
We often indulge in fantasy in other areas of our lives whether we are conscious of it or not. As it connects with our needs to engage in the world of stories. This need has been around since beginning of time. Starting from mans ability to communicate stories around the campfire. Evolving further to Novels, Movies and now the modern medium of Video Games Video Games are the interactive story that allows your to feel more engaged via through the act of participation.
The need to engage into fantasy is a psychological need to experience an illusion of the world. It brings us away the drab drudgery of our daily lives. Diverting away from the potential meaninglessness of our lives. Giving us a temporal sense of significance, but making us feel we are a character in the story.
Yet the real value comes in indulgence in fantasy is through the reflection of it. Understanding what is it that attracts us to that fantasy. Helping to provide a mirror to our soul of why we want something. Bringing us closer to happiness through self realization.
It can be said through self awareness and self realization true happiness can be found. As it allows one to build awareness of why one does things, instead of mechanically responding to life like a robot. However this self awareness played through Video Games is not intrinsic in itself and requires a level of mindfulness. Similar to engaging in other forms of stories like reading novels or watching movies, they have limited value if they are engaged in without reflection. It is through the analysis of what are the joyous moments of that medium that can lead to a better understanding of the self.
So how can one engage in this reflective process? It can be simple as discussing it with a friend what parts were enjoyed and disliked about a game. This can be done either in person or even on social media forums. It can be writing or speaking about it in a game review. Another way is keeping a game journal similar to how World of Warcraft write about their fictitious game characters and their quest. Even just thinking about what elements enjoyed through the game helps.
Although it may not seem so, playing video games is a form of expression. Its expression of our inner fantasy world. We choose the canvas which we want to play provided by the game developers. With the freedom through interaction we are expressing ourselves through the gaming world. It is a form of self projection which we can see ourselves expressed into the outer world.
So what type of things can be self realized through playing video games? It can be an area where we get to express the dark side of our personality. The psychologist Carl Jung called this the shadow. Perhaps if one is gravitating to ultra violent games there might be some anger at the world that needs to be resolved. Having the ability to express that anger through video games can a safe way like releasing it on a punching bag. Once expressed and those bottled emotions are released, we can come to terms as to what is really bothering us. Perhaps it is a game like Skyrim or Dragon Age which provides an element of choice. Where you might make noble altruistic decisions in the effort to help others. Which might help to indicate what type of ideal world you are striving to help build. So both positive and negative aspects of ones psych can be realized.
Gaming is merely a tool to help bring about greater self realization. While it may not automatically provide value without the effort of mindfulness. The same could be said with other mediums. As even reading lots of novels may not bring the same benefits unless there is a level of reflection. So if you are engage in your favourite fun past time, might as well make it an act of enlightenment while you at it.