Good explanation of life-gamification and video game analogy.
(2016) 1 in 4 people in the UK alone will experience a problem with mental health every year.
The crossover between people who play video games and people with mental health problems is significant.
Video games are everywhere, and they also make us feel good.
All video games have the same fundamentals: challenge the player, and then reward the player. Being rewarded and feeling proud of something can be somewhat rare to someone with a mental health problem, such as depression. So to be distracted from real life problems, and made to feel good about something they've done, is special.
People with depression tend to have a "sad game." A game in which they gravitate to when things get particularly bad, to distract them and make them feel good when its needed the most. Cognitive therapy and motivation.
Games communities celebrate the game at focus, but also work around players sharing their experiences with one another. Being a part of a support network can be really essential for a person with mental health problems.
We should be talking about mental health more. Talking to others about our experiences, and listening to others' experiences.
Although this speech is now a decade old, it's message is still extremely relevant.
The (large) amount of time that we spend playing video games can be seen in a negative light. How can we spend so much time doing this, when there are urgent problems to solve in the real world? The reality is that we actually need to play more video games to solve the world's most urgent problems. Problems like hunger, poverty, climate change, global conflict, obesity [and in the modern day, mental health too.]
When playing games, players feel a sense of urgency, fear, intense concentration, and deep focus on tackling a difficult problem.
Gamers sometimes achieve what is known as an 'epic win'; an outcome so extraordinarily positive that you had no idea it was even possible until you achieved it. In 2021, this slang isn't really used at all, but the prospect is the same; succeeding beyond your imagination and realising what you're capable of. We need to see this experienced by problem solvers worldwide if urgent real life problems are to be solved - against all odds, encountering the chance of an 'epic win'.
A common problem amoung gamers is that "we feel that we are not as good in reality as we are in games." 'Good' refers to both being successful and earning achievements, but also good as in motivated to do something that matters - inspired to collaborate and cooperate.
In game words, we often become the best version of ourselves. Helping others, sticking with a problem to solve it, no matter how challenging or how long it takes. Getting up after failure and trying again. In real life when we face failure and confront obstacles, we often don't feel this way, instead feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, frustrated or even cynical. We don't have those feelings when we're playing games. What about games makes us feel like it's possible to achieve everything and anything? Can these feelings be applied to real-life problems?
Things that make 'epic wins' feel possible on games: -You are trusted with an important task right away -You are matched with a mission that is your level. It is always achieveable, with a little bit of challenge (on the verge of what you're capable of). You know you can do it, but you have to try hard. -There is always something important to be done, and always many other collaborators ready to assist you with your challenges. This is something we don't always have in real life. Help and teamwork at our fingertips. -Levelling up, stat increases (+1 Attack, +1 Skill etc.) and progression is like positive feedback. We don't get that feedback as often in real life.
In 2010, by the age of 21, each person raised in a culture with gaming, will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games. 10,080 hours is the total time spent in school in the US from 5th grade - graduation with perfect attendance.
10,000 hours is also the theory of success. "Cognitive-science research that says if we can master 10,000 hours of effortful study at anything by the age of 21, we will be virtuosos at it. We will be as good at whatever we do as the greatest people in the world." This is an entire generation of virtuoso gamers. (And by the present time, likely a billion more virtuosos.)
So what are gamers getting so good at? 1. Urgent optimism (extreme self-motivation). The urgent desire to tackle an obstacle combined with the belief of a good chance of hope and success. 2. Social fabric. Research shows that we like people better after we've played a game with them, even if they've beaten us badly. It takes a lot of trust to play a game with someone - trusting that they'll spend their time with us, play by the same rules, value the same goal and stay with the game until it's over. It builds bonds of trust and cooperation; stronger social relationships. 3. Blissful productivity. When playing a game, we feel as though we are happier working hard than we are relaxing or hanging out. Self-optimisation in doing something meaningful with our time. 4. Epic meaning. Being attached to inspiring missions and stories. Being invested in knowledge of an epic world and everything about it.
Altogether - Gamers are "super-empowered hopeful individuals." They believe they can change the world, the only problem being that they believe this for virtual worlds, but not the real world too. But this makes sense, because gamers can achieve more in virtual worlds than they can in real life. Stronger social relationships, get better feedback, feel more rewarded - than in real life. The real world needs to work more like a game.
In ancient times, games were created in the kingdom of Lydia to help keep humanity sane during a time of conflict and famine. The people became so immersed in the (dice) games because of blissful productivity and engagement, that they would ignore their problems. There was a pattern of eating on one day, and playing games on the next, and so goes the cycle, and according to Herodotus they passed 18 years this way. This is how we are using games today. We are using games to escape real world suffering. Escapism from everything broken about the real environment and everything not satisying about real life, and getting what we need from games. After the 18 years the famine wasn't improving so they played one final game. The kingdom was divided into two, and the winners of the game were to go on an "epic adventure" in search of a new place to live, leaving behind just enough people to survive on the resources available. DNA, geology and science have linked theories and evidence to this story being true. They may have actually saved their culture and civilisation by playing games.