Playing video games? You’re not a nerd, you’re a happy person

Bluelight
6 min readOct 6

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As you may guess by the articles written by Dealan and Evrik, guys in our Dream Team are avid players and will never miss a chance to indulge themselves with playing, even at their workplace. To be honest, I used to be pissed off seeing how they pretend to be working, until I tried a few blockchain games myself. And you know what? I haven’t started procrastinating, and even admitted feeling happier.

As a scientist, I started searching for an explanation and decided to find out what my colleagues think about gaming. Are we wrong to blame geeks for their hobby? And where’s this subtle line between having some healthy portion of fun and total escapism in virtual worlds?

At first glance, gamers are deep-rooted introverts that dwell in virtual worlds and don’t want to or are scared of communicating with people. Researchers from North Carolina State University, York University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology debugged this myth!

They visited more than 20 public gaming events in Canada and the UK, ranging in size from 2,500-player convention center events to 20-player events in bars. Many players were observed by the researchers, and 378 participated in a thorough survey. They discovered that gamers were often performing several social activities at once: watching games, talking, drinking, and chatting online. Hence, gaming did not prevent communication – it supplemented it.

Another study was conducted by the University of Oxford: they analyzed the effects of playing two popular video games: “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” and “Plants vs Zombies”. The survey of more than 3,000 players revealed that participants felt happier after spending time playing. Although two games are not enough to make convincing conclusions, this study gives us a hint that playing can be good for mental health.

These findings are supported by many other experiments and studies:

  • In 2021, children who were undergoing chemotherapy were offered to engage in video games, drawing, or storytelling. Those who played video games exhibited the highest increase of happiness level.
  • In another experiment, long-term care facilities residents were divided in two groups one of which had video games included in their daily activity plan. Those who played were found to become happier, exhibited elevated mood and a boost of self-esteem.
  • In 2018, a paper by the University of California claimed that family members who play video games don’t just feel happier – they experience more satisfaction and closeness. This becomes possible thanks to having a common hobby that brings fun, allows training teamwork abilities, and allows players to feel support for each other.
  • A study conducted in 2022 showed that playing video games helps children improve cognitive abilities. Participants who played performed better on cognitive skills tests involving impulse control and working memory.

But how does this work? As a scientist, I’m pretty skeptical about such sort of happiness: it seems to be elusive because achievements in games don’t have any relation to achievements in real life. Turns out, games have a bigger impact on our psychology than it seems.

Gaming is more than having fun while clicking on buttons – here is how it elevates the level of happiness:

  • Competence. We all start games as noobs, but as we advance in levels, our characters and abilities improve. This confidence in our skills might make us content.
  • Achievement. Ever lost a difficult boss battle? Perhaps you tried to beat him and lost life after life. But the last time, armed with potions and a sound plan, you eventually succeeded and experienced a sense of utter joy.
  • Teamwork. Virtual adventures are risky. Some dungeons and battles are too challenging to win on your own and require cooperation with others. Succeeding as a team, players enjoy cooperation and unity. Besides, while helping others we get a sense of being useful and become proud of our characters.
  • Meaning. While dealing with quests and tasks, we are immersing into the game’s story and universe. Gradually, players develop a sense of purpose and meaning – it also breeds positive emotions.
  • Stress relief. Helping players to get rest from the real world full of dangers and problems, games can reduce symptoms of anxiety, which is also a drop in the ocean of harmony and tranquility.

As they say, too much of a good thing is good for nothing. Moderation is always key to happiness, even if video gaming is your favorite hobby. If you like playing, make sure you won’t get addicted to it, because drawbacks will start outweighing benefits. Here are the symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Frequent thoughts related to gaming
  • Having bad mood if you can’t play and needing to play more and more to feel better
  • Avoidance of other activities that you used to enjoy
  • Issues with your gaming at work, school, or home
  • Continuing playing despite all those issues
  • Lying about how much time you spend playing to beloved ones
  • Using video games to improve mood and feelings, or escape problems in real life
  • Decline in personal hygiene due to spending all the time playing

If none of this describes you, breathe out – you’re okay! You can keep on playing to elevate the level of your happiness and…the size of your wallet.

With the WEB 3.0 concept gaining traction, lovers of traditional WEB 2.0 games have received a brilliant opportunity to convert spent hours into both happiness and money. Play-and-Earn and blockchain games allow for a myriad of financial incentives:

  • NFTs that can be owned by players (not game creators or platforms like Steam) and sold at any moment for a profit.
  • In-game tokens that serve as rewards and can be sold for real money on crypto exchanges.
  • Airdrops and bonuses for active players and first-comers.

On top of that, some WEB 3.0 games are fully decentralized, which means they allow users to build a metaverse together by voting for changes and shaping its rules (which can also relate to tokenomics and reward distribution).

But why then not all WEB 2.0 players migrated to WEB 3.0? What was wrong with blockchain games? Classic game players admit that:

  • Blockchain games lack decent gameplay, their actions and tasks are pretty limited, and there is no visible progress in many of them.
  • A lot of projects are made too quickly, just for the sake of profit, that’s why graphics are raw and primitive.
  • Poorly made lore does not allow users to feel the atmosphere, take a fancy to main characters and, as a result, get immersed into games.
  • The majority of WEB 3.0 games turn out to be Ponzi schemes that profit no one but creators.

However, the new generation of blockchain games is much more promising than day-fly projects. But they require more time for creation, that’s why worthy projects are still at alpha and beta stage (Bluelight.inc, Illuvium, My Pet Hooligan, and many others).

These games offer much more gripping gameplay, thought-through mechanics, viable tokenomics and a perfect balance between fun and earnings.

Wrapping up

Everyone feels better when they do what they love. By playing favorite games, you can decrease stress and negative emotions, boost your self-esteem and enjoy communication with like-minded people. WEB 3.0 games add profit to the equation, so there’s no reason not to explore what this industry can offer to us. As long as you maintain play/life balance, you will surely get the most out of it.

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