Re: DSM: Video games

From: Christopher Weeks (clweeks@eclipse.net)
Date: Thu May 10 2001 - 20:27:22 EDT


Allan Saugstad wrote:

> Just wanted to throw my two cents worth in on video games, if I'm not
> too late.
>
> I used to be a bonafide expert at a whole whack of games. I spent many
> hours in my youth mastering a wide range of arcade and computer games.

Me too.

[lots of stuff with which I agree, snipped]

> As soon as I "finish" the game, it completely loses it's appeal.

Yes. I've been doing it long enough that I have had several instances where
I was able to go back to a game long (10+ years) after mastery and dismissal
and play it with a very strange sense of nostalgic deja vu. The games
sometimes regain some appeal in that way.

> Life lessons, all of these, I think.

Agreed. And you're going on to discuss the downside for you. I really think
that each person needs to decide if the pros and cons balance out for them in
a way that is beneficial. Video/computer games did for me when I was young.
They do less so now. But so did soccer. I see many similarities between
computer games and other games (sport, board games, whatever). No one
complains if their kid is a soccer or chess fanatic.

> On the downside though, video games are also a way to escape from real
> life. Even now, in my mid-30's , I find myself turning on a video race
> car game or golf game for a little entertainment. I tune out the world
> and focus on the fun of the game. After a long while of total
> absorption, I finally finish and I really feel spent - and not at all
> relaxed or rejuvenated - kind of like I feel after reading the newspaper
> for too long or TV. It's not healthy for me.

Must you feel relaxed and/or rejuvenated for an activity to be healthy? If I
go for a long bike ride, neither of those words describe how I feel. "Spent"
does a much better job. I might get wound up playing a computer game, but at
least I'm feeling something different. I like a range of feelings. If I
want to relax I go sit in the hot tub and listen to the birds while I read.

My son's mother has two brothers who are mentally captivated by video games
and turn mean when they get to playing their little Nintendo/SEGA/whatever it
is, and she is afraid of that happening to our son. It didn't happen to me
or any of my friends, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't to him. I tend
to think that their "wasted life" is more a result of a messed up home life
as kids, but who knows. Is this antisocial "meanness" the kind of
psychological phenomenon that you feel from your computer games at all?

Christopher Weeks

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Mon Nov 05 2001 - 20:24:29 EST