Video games can bring benefits to physical and mental health provided we don’t loose sight of the boundaries between use and abuse
The appeal of ‘pokemon go’, unlike other games, lies in the fact that it reflects our real world in an almost perfect virtual world. This makes it very attractive.
Why are these new video-games so addictive? Which factors have an influence on this?
Generally, one starts playing because of entertainment and curiosity, but when it becomes an uncontrollable impulse then it is no longer a game and becomes an addiction. What can lead us to this kind of situation? Usually anything appealing our senses can be very attractive to us: colours, lights, music. When one starts playing, we aim at reaching a goal (the next level), which at the beginning of the game is easy and this motivates us to go a bit further to reach the next goal. This becomes a continuous motivation and so on. This sense of achieving a goal is constant and we can get totally involved in the game and in a vicious circle.
For a few months, we have been non-stop hearing about “pokemon go,” one of these games that require leaving our home and interacting with other users. What are the changes compared to the past?
I believe that the main change in this game in comparison with previous ones is that it reflects the real world in an almost perfect virtual world. Players can view these ‘Pokemons’ with augmented reality in this real world.
How much is competitiveness and how much interrelation is there in this kind of games?
Human beings are social and competitive by nature. This fact has a great influence in the success of this game. As regards the social part of the game, interaction with other players both known and unknown adds to the appeal and interest of the game- Regarding competitiveness (intrinsic in human beings), we must consider that we like to participate and win. A magnified feeling when we get so close to reality.
And there is the nostalgic element, a way to rescue that time when we were happier, a feeling we associate to certain games…
Of course, usually, we remember our childhood as a time in which we were very happy, problems were given less importance and we looked at life differently. Therefore, anything that brings us back to that time could make us feel like recreating that happiness.
Some experts attribute health benefits to games, both physical and mental, as long as we do not get addicted to them. Do you share this idea?
I think it depends on many factors: time spent, the way you play, the type of game, the player profile, etc … Being aware of the boundaries between use and abuse is essential because video games can indeed provide certain benefits to our physical and mental health.