I’ve always loved playing games. I grew up playing each generation of PlayStation, immersing myself in the games’ worlds and the narratives behind them.
Whilst I did spend lots of time with my peers playing football and exploring the local area on my skateboard, I probably look at gaming with more appreciation than anything else out of my day-to-day life as a child or teen. Which from an outside perspective seems pretty sad, but in reality I think it’s pretty amazing.
As a child you feel limited in what you can do, and you have no independence. Everything you want or need todo requires an adult.
When immersed in your favourite games, though, these limitations are non-existent. You’re free to do whatever you want. Explore, fight, create; anything you want is possible, and your actions within these games carry no consequences in the real world.
Additionally, you’re given a purpose.
In the real world I felt no purpose. Sure, you go to school, but throughout my 15 years in education this never felt like a role I suited or had chosen for myself.
When playing as Batman, I was the world’s greatest detective and fighter of crime. When playing Gran Turismo, I was a world-class racer and car collector. When playing Skate, I was the greatest skateboarder that ever lived.
Gaming didn’t just allow me to choose my role, it gave me the chance to be great at it. At school I was always just above average and just below being great (a B-tier student); when gaming I felt like I was great.
In many ways gaming filled the hole that my career would fulfil in adulthood.
Whilst at the time many people thought gaming was (or still think it is) a waste of time, I believe it’s a necessary way for children to express themselves and develop motivation towards work.
School constantly overlooked me or devalued my successes, which could have resulted in me lacking motivation later in life.
However, it’s fair to say that gaming helped me develop motivation through positive affirmation when I achieved something within the game. When I worked hard at completing a level or achieving a goal, the game provides a reward. As a result, gaming regularly taught me perseverance and creativity, which education unfortunately failed to show me.
I rarely get to spend the same time playing games or immersing myself like I once did. Games occasionally get released that I dedicate the time to play, but these are rarities.
I just wish someone told me how playing games would positively affect me later in life when I was loading up Spyro on the original PlayStation.