Photo by Pawel Kadysz on Unsplash

Why Creatives Should Play More Video Games

Gaming isn’t a waste of time. It’s a tool that can provide a variety of benefits.

One of the biggest traits of me is that I’m a gamer. Ever since I was little, I often spent more time playing video games than doing other activities.

Of course, that’s one of the contributors to my health not being where I want it to be, but despite some of the long-term hinderances gaming has done in my life, it’s provided a good deal of benefits.

Benefits that are often overlooked.

A lot of people think that gaming is a waste of time or that it instills a lot of hate and negativity and there is some truth to that.

In recent years gaming and in general the tech industry is believed to be the domain of men, when not so distant in the past the industry was actually a feminized industry. This has sparked a lot of toxic men within the gaming industry.

But I believe these are pocket issues. Issues that can be addressed over time as the industry changes and develops.

Because more people are starting to realize — or at least I hope — the benefits of video games and what gamers bring to the fold. A lot of big gamers have supported a number of big causes as Mat Pat (who runs two Youtube channels titled Game Theory and Film Theory) has brought up in his recent videos. Not to mention there is a lot of research done to gaming that has paid off handsomely.

But I’d like to extend that list.

Because while gaming has made better surgeons, helped with mental issues, ease pain, and even help in making people feel more connected, I think that gaming can also make for better creatives. The artists like us writers, painters, programmers, and more.

Here is why.

Gaming Is A Creative Expression

Engaging with a game is art itself whether you are playing the game or passively watching one. After all, programming these days has evolved more into designing. As technology has progressed, we no longer need 8-bit pixelated graphics and our imagination to figure out what something is. Technology today has allowed us to create smooth characters and use plenty of designs and imagery to convey deeper things.

A good example of this in motion is looking at the Dark Souls series. It’s a set of games from a company called FromSoftware which recently released Seikiro that follows a similar theme.

But what’s so interesting about the Dark Souls games is the fact that the plot of the game and all of the lore is scattered throughout the world. You gather that lore and information from the characters that you meet, what they say, what they wear as well as the items that you pick up (namely the weapons, and armour).

As such, attention to detail on the designers part is important but also the players. It’s up to us as players to piece together the lore and come up with our own theories. And it’s up to the designers and other people involved in the game to give us the tools we can use to do that.

What this means for creatives is that games like Dark Souls allow us to be more expressive. It’s looking for those details and making connections. This sort of behaviour is similar to other forms of art.

Art is expressed through our interpretation. Whether that’s through the words that we use or the picture that we paint and show to the world. Gaming is just another way for us to better tap into those creative moments.

In other words, gaming can provide us fodder for us to better express ourselves or show other sides of us.

Gaming Is Relaxing

But the beauty of gaming is that you don’t need to play any kind of deep lore game like Dark Souls. You can go with something more basic. Take the Binding Of Issac.

It’s a simple game with very simple lore and basic in design.

There’s not really anything incredibly deep behind the lore, but people can still create plenty of theories behind the game.

For me, I see this game as more of a relaxing game. Even though the game is you literally shooting tears at enemies and watching them explode into guts and blood.

It can be relaxing in the sense that you don’t need to be thinking as much the more experience you’ve had with the game. You’re familiar with the items, designs of the rooms and so on after you’ve played a good fifty hours or so. From there it’s a matter of going through the motions.

I’ll admit it’s a bit difficult to explain but I feel this is the case with other games. The more you become familiar with the game and the inner workings, the more that you passively know and don’t need to rely so much on reminding yourself.

You allow yourself to focus on other things or just relax while you’re gaming.

I often use gaming just to pump myself up and figure out what to write about next.

Gaming Can Be Therapy

But another aspect of gaming is that gaming can be therapeutic too. Depending on the types of games that one plays, there is plenty of research pointing at the genre of game activating certain parts of the brain.

For most of my life, I’ve always been playing strategy-based games and through that, my brain has developed a lot in terms of problem-solving.

I recognize this as whenever I talk to myself whenever I have issues, I know how to handle them and instinctively think of ways to work around real-life issues. Taking action at the beginning of all this is a whole other story, but I at least have a concrete strategy of what I can do to solve the various issues around my life.

I see gaming as a sort of therapy for myself. A way for me to bring myself back up and tell myself that it’s okay and things will get better.

And that’s related to gaming as well as we win some games and lose some. And while some of us lose our temper, or feel sad we lost, we still continue to push forward. Because we know we’ll succeed as long as we have an open mind.

And this means a lot to writers and other artists. Mainly because we’re often alone. And sure we have Facebook groups and communities of writers we can turn to, but I feel that some issues are best to work out on your own. And gaming can provide a bit of avenue to help with that.

Gaming isn’t just a leisure thing or an activity that benefits younger individuals. It can inspire new ideas that solve real issues that creatives can bring to the table.