Why Video Games Are NOT a Waste of Time

Although video games are slowly becoming more mainstream in our society, there is still a negative stigmatism of laziness that pervades the video game hobby. People think it a waste of time and time better spent.  Yes, there are certainly lines to be drawn. There’s a big difference from spending a few hours a week on a good story game to spending all your free time in an online universe. Like with everything else in life, gaming as a hobby requires moderation. Know when to allow yourself to play (without feeling guilt) and when to say, “Okay that’s enough, time to get something done.” I’m here to tell you why video games are NOT a waste of time! There are some real benefits to immersing yourself in different games, different universes. Read below to find out why:

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1. They inspire you. I would be a completely different person without my gaming background. Without my brother showing me the wonder and excitement that can be garnered from exploring new worlds, I surely wouldn’t have turned out the same. I’m a very creative person and I do contribute some of that to gaming. Games can utterly inspire us full of awe and wonder. Have you ever explored the lands and terrain of an Elder Scrolls game? Have you ever experience a game with such story and writing that you could taste it? Have you ever heard a soundtrack that used your heartstrings as an instrument? Have you ever built a character so heroic that it motivates you to be better? All of these acts, these moments of exploring, experiencing, being someone or something else inspire us to transform ourselves and the world around us in reality. Due to my gaming experience, I have a yearning to create new worlds, new lands, new tales. They inspire you to think deeper, to feel more, to be better. They dare you to step outside the normal-tread life and create or be something greater. 

2. You can learn history from them. Where did a large chunk of my World War II knowledge come from? Yep, you guessed it: Call of Duty and Day of Defeat. Yes, I know the battles are simulated to be a multiplayer experience, but I was the only person of my age to know all the different locations that the war spread across. I knew the name of the battles, what happened in each, what weapons were used in the war, different automobiles and plane crafts of each nation in the war, and more. Other games like Civilization also teach you things like the progression of technologies, ancient quotes, and what was discovered by who (in the history, not in our actual simulated game!). Many games offer rich history lessons alongside exhilarating warfare. 

Video games

3. You can learn sports from them. I know that a lot of people don’t like people who only know sports through video games, but why should they? Yes, people who only know sports through video games won’t have the same understanding as an athlete themselves, but they will still get the basics. Sports play a huge role in almost every country’s culture, so I feel like it’s important or at least nice to be familiar with the rules of sports. For example, I knew the basic rules of football, but Madden helped me cement them and learn the smaller details. 

4. You can escape. This is the fine line that you need to balance on. You shouldn’t stray too far with this one. This one is connected to #1. You escape to explore new worlds and people and you come out being inspired and wanting to create yourself. After stress, long working days, tough relationships, or hardships, it’s really nice to dive into a game and just get lost. Leave your stress and negative feelings behind the keyboard and immerse yourself into something different from your present world. Just like you would into a good book. It’s important to be able to escape here and there, to come out refreshed with a new perspective.

Video games (ESO), duh...

5. They bring people together. Often, you think of gamers as loners. This isn’t true. So often, my brother will come over to play a day full of video games that we will thoroughly enjoy together. Or Hungry and I will sit down together and play a bunch of FIFA games together, laughing, screaming, and such. You’ll see hundreds of people get together for tournaments, LAN parties (I know, get with it, 21st century), and fun together. Almost all of my memories gaming from being a little one to now include strong social ties. We were always racing down to get on the machines to play together, to enjoy experiences together.

Like I mentioned earlier, I would certainly not be the same person I am today without my long history of playing video (computer) games literally since I can remember. It’s helped me be more creative, pause and experience wonder, be a noble person, be optimistic, and pave the way for someone else to feel these same things. I remember moderation and I plunge in, soaking up the experiences, inspirations, and wonder-filling moments. Many people don’t associate nerds with being in shape, but you’re looking at (err, listening to, reading) two nerds who are in shape! You can play video games AND be hungry and fit!

*Question of the Day: Why are video games NOT a waste of time to you?

3 Responses to "Why Video Games Are NOT a Waste of Time"

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  1. Kai

    November 11, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Great post! I think games have also improved our hand eye coordination (hence us being goalies) and ability to deal with complex systems/data (strategic games like Civ or Railroad Tycoon are great for this)

    • hungryandfit

      November 14, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Yes! Super practical stuff

  2. Claudiu

    February 24, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Well, the logic is flawed in a way.

    Gaming are a waste of time from the perspective that everything you’ve mentioned can be acquired far more effectively in other manners. It is easier to get inspired through a positive biography or learn history from an actual documentary.

    Games to provide benefits. Make no mistake about that. They do develop many skills and two decades later after I’ve discovered video games, I use many concepts in entrepreneurship and management. I use feedback loops and the goal focused nature of games to direct business ventures and personal productivity and it works great.

    However, whatever games provide, there is a better way to do it. It is like eating junk food vs eating healthy food. Junk food will provide X proteins per 100 grams while healthy food will provide Y proteins per 100 grams. If your goal is to maximize proteins, you pick the second option.

    The same with gaming. I see no possible scenario in which gaming is better than reading. I see no possible scenario in which reading is better than hands-on, transformational experience.

    There are degrees of learning. A TED talk is better than surfing Facebook but an eBook is better than a TED talk. A course is better than the book and a long term course is better than a short term, digital one.

    I can’t say that I hate gaming as I’ve invested thousands of hours into it. However, I’ve reached a point in which gaming is not an efficient way of spending my time. Watching a movie for me became better than gaming and reading a book became better than watching a movie. On the same hand, I can’t blame anyone who prefers gaming to anything else as I know how addictive it can be but if your goal is to “be all you can be” and to improve in all areas of life, gaming is not likely to be a fast way to get there.

    Why am I qualified to say this?

    I’ve coded my first game at age 7 in BASIC. I’ve developed games in basic open source engines by age 12. All my childhood was playing games and I think I’ve played anything that can be played on a 128 MB of VRAM. I’ve also ran a small gaming review website and I’ve developed guides for the MMO niche.

    However, while I did love gaming, I know that in the grander picture, games are a poor way of developing skills and that the economic skills you develop in 30 hours of playing Railroad Tycoon 3 you can learn in 30 minutes from a basic economics book. The story you get from a game like Fallout (1, 2, 3 or 4) in playing 50 hours you can get in a good post-apocalyptic book in five hours.

    So they’re not bad. They’re not evil. But there are better alternatives for achieving the same ends.