The Joy of Gaming

I like to play games, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I will admit that I play a lot of video games, but I don’t think that’s such a big deal –I still get my work done, and I still get good grades in school. My friends and my girlfriend tease me about it, though, and my parents sometimes make comments about how young people play games too much –like we’re playing more games than they did when they were our age, basically. Is that true? Is there anything wrong with someone my age –a college kid –playing a lot of video games? If there is, I don’t see it.

We’re living in an era in which technology is everywhere. While gaming is as old as civilization itself, there’s no question that video games have changed the way we unwind with contests of luck and skill. And the rise of smartphones has made it easier than ever for us to spend a few minutes –or a few hours –at play.

Games in general are extremely old. The oldest board game dates to around 3100 BCE, and other types of games no doubt preceded it. And games aren’t just for children: adults have played board games like chess for centuries. In the 1800s, adults played a card game called Boston. Adults play gambling games like poker, and some games –like Bingo –are widely known as games played by the elderly!

But video games represent a big jump forward for gaming. The first video game appeared in 1971, and the rise of arcade cabinet games that followed turned a generation onto games like Pac-Man and Asteroids. Then came the video game consoles: Atari’s systems were among the first, and the rise of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft as major console manufacturers followed in the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. With the arrival of the internet, online gaming was born: players could now compete with friends and strangers over the internet. Online gambling began to seriously challenge brick-and-mortar casinos, and games brought large groups of players together for “massive multiplayer online” experiences.

Has all of this advancement made people more likely to play games more often? It’s possible. The biggest culprit may be our smartphones. We now spend 43% of our mobile app time gaming on our phones. All of those extra lives spent in line at the grocery store or while commuting on the train are gaming moments that could not have existed 50 or even 20 years ago.

But is this a big deal? Psychologists are, by and large, skeptical. Video games are ubiquitous, but they’re probably not dangerous. You have a hobby, and as long as your responsibilities are taken care of and your relationships are nurtured, there’s no reason not to enjoy it.

So, by all means, make time for video games. Play online and try out new games that stimulate your mind in different ways. Just make sure to balance things by carving out time for other activities and important commitments. Keep your hobby within your budget: look for discounts, buy used and on-sale games, and take advantage of promotions, say gaming experts who are themselves offering a bonus code for Caesar’s Online Casino. If your friends and family have legitimate complaints about the time you make for them in your life, you should consider and respect that. But don’t let anyone shame you for enjoying a hobby that is harmless and popular.

“Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock n roll.” — Shigeru Miyamoto

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