Gaming encompasses a wide range of activities, from launching birds at hostile pigs in castles to dedicating years to learning and mastering the art of playing video games and competing with similarly dedicated players worldwide. For gamers, this hobby is not just a pastime but a vital part of their identity and lifestyle. Gamers can be a part of a gaming community that connects, or they can choose to isolate themselves from others and play alone. Regardless of which route they take, gamers use gaming to fulfill a number of purposes: as a form of relaxation or escape, a means of socialization, to prevent boredom, and for a sense of achievement.
Most participants reported using gaming to fill time when they didn’t have a lot of other things to do. They often felt that gaming required less effort or energy than other activities and did not require leaving the house. Some also found that other activities were too much trouble or involved too much physical exertion, needed special equipment, or took a lot of planning and preparation.
Participants used gaming to escape their current circumstances and hoped it would help them forget about the problems they were facing in real life. However, some of them reported that their gaming habits pulled them away from other important things in their lives. For example, some of them went to sleep later than they planned or skipped meals in order to continue playing games. Others neglected to take care of their health, including ignoring physical pain and discomfort. Some even developed repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, which can lead to weakness and numbness in the hands.
While the stereotype of a shy person who uses gaming as an excuse to stay home is popular, it’s not always accurate. Many people who spend a significant amount of time playing video games have good social skills and are active members of their communities. In addition, gamers have shown that they are capable of learning a variety of skills and technologies that can help them find jobs in a variety of fields. Some employers have even begun to list gaming as a skill on their job applications.
In a game, players learn through pattern recognition, inductive reasoning and hypothesis testing. They try out different weapons, powers and strategies to beat enemies and improve their gameplay. James Paul Gee, a professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says that gamers are similar to scientists in their problem-solving skills.
Compared to non-gamers, frequent gamers have faster reaction times and better impulse control. They also have a higher level of implicit temporal processing, an automatic process of understanding how a situation will unfold. This means they can make decisions and respond to situations 25% faster than non-gamers without sacrificing accuracy. In addition, gamers can focus their attention on six things at once, while the average person can only manage three. As a result, video gamers are generally good at multitasking and can perform better than the general population on tests of their working memory.