Are games a waste of time?
I love this TED talk by Jane McGonigal.
McGonigal is a game designer and a gamer. And people constantly ask her why she wastes her time with games.
"On your deathbed, you will regret having wasted your time playing games."
After watching this video, you'll see how games are perhaps one of the most important things we can do with out time. They bring us closer to our friends, reduce stress, and help us express our true selves.
Also, if you watch this video, you'll live a life 7 minutes longer! True story!
Jane McGonigal turned her idea into a website that helps people game-ify their lives to fight a range of problems, including depression and other challenges.
Mental health is a serious issue that affects millions of people. Developing support for these people is essential. Today we have the resources to help people and give them the support they need to have powerful and productive lives, which is incredible when you think about how it was in the past: no happiness, no hope.
And even for those who are mentally healthy, but may fall on hard times, games can be of great help. It may not work for everyone, but it definitely helped me, and I think it has the power to help a lot of people.
To be honest, I'm not much of a gamer. However, I did use her idea about turning life into a game once.
Years ago, I was in a bad place. I was very stressed, working very hard because I was in debt. To make it worse, I was not only out of touch with my old friends back home in Canada, but I had no friends here in Australia.
So, I made life into a game. I game-ified my life!
Sending a postcard to an old friend: 1 point
Learning something new and interesting: 1 point
Making a new friend: 2 points
Networking: 5 points
Visiting a new city: 10 points
And you guys know I'm a dancer so...
Taking a dance class: 2 points
Executing a new dance move on the social dance floor: 5 points
Dancing in a new city: 10 points
I couldn't really think of any good goal, but I figured I would only be able to buy new clothes whenever I reached 50 points. That may sound silly, but at the time I had no nice clothes.
It really helped me see life as a series of opportunities, and it made me develop the habits I needed to be happy.
Song: Video Games
Artist: Lana Del Rey
This song has nothing to do with how video games may benefit mental health, but it is a thoughtful song about the memories we have of our youth. For many of us, especially those of us who are older, fondly remember when we had tonnes of free time that we could spend playing video games. Enjoy!
PS. It's not my favourite song by Lana Del Rey. Check out Diet Mountain Dew, West Coast, and Born to Die.