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Gaming as Escapism - How People escape really with video games

Gaming as Escapism - How People escape really with video games

Gamezbyte recent study into Mental Health and gaming discovered that nearly half of all respondents found gaming a distraction from the everyday pressures of life.

At a time where we have found added pressures on our mental health, many seem to have used gaming as a form of escapism while in lockdown in order to forget about some of the extra pressures that have been heaped upon us. For example: work/school schedules are demanding – this is also why I sometimes play my PC for more than 30 minutes at a stretch before lunch or dinner!

Similarly, there seems to be an overwhelming need by society (in every area) just to meet "the eye test", so gamers often make themselves invisible when they're online because people keep using social media platforms like Facebook's profile picture even though most may not know them personally yet. Furthermore– these distractions require constant attention which inevitably leads users to seek out entertainment options outside of their normal activities; i.e., excessive reading / watching movies, listening intently to music & lyrics etc …

These days with many games featuring rich, almost movie-esque storylines with character-driven narratives it is easy than ever to tune into the life of somebody you might be playing as, and, for a short while at least, escape away from what is going on around them.

Several studies have previously looked at using computer gaming as escapism, Gordon Calleja’s study as far back as 2010 concluded:: "It's clear that video game players enjoy escaping reality; their enjoyment increases when they are in an alternate mode—or more precisely, 'a second type' (if anyone wants to think outside this binary…): having played some kind [of] other online virtuality".

This research suggests we don't always need just one sort or another but rather explore all our options equally – which I suppose helps us see beyond mere nostalgia if there has been enough time spent being reminded over recent months about why things got so frustratingly bland after years where fantasy would've certainly gotten close to winning out!

Digital games are often viewed as being inherently escapist on two counts. First, they are the shining proponents of cutting edge virtuality, embodying the alluring unreality of something erroneously conceived of existing on the other side of a screen.

A second reason for associating games with escapism relates to a common perception of play and games as the opposite of seriousness and work and somehow set apart from the ordinary, everyday life.

The paper discusses the nature of escapism and relates it to the above theoretical issues which contribute to a view of digital games as inherently escapist.

Digital games have been shown in previous publications not only by their innovative mechanics but also by their emotional impact upon participants; many studies show that psychological characteristics like heightened self-esteem can translate into physical changes within video game users where these factors were manipulated.

There is evidence indicating that using computer gaming (with its visual depiction) has an effect both on people's mood and behavior.

Research suggests individuals who use graphic violence such graphics may experience more negative affect when processing violent images compared those experiencing no image manipulation.

Whereas researchers found neither positive nor adverse effects between players' feelings about aggression or killing through videogames.

Whereas “Previous research has linked escapism to psychiatric distress and gaming disorder in recreational gamers. While esport gamers have many positive motivators like skill development, our study found that excessive immersion by some individuals can indicate mental health issues,” explained investigator Zsolt Demetrovics, PhD, Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary.”

The authors also observed the decrease during high-stress periods which may signify negative affective processes (e., depression).

A large scale game studies reported a correlation between games exposure and psychosocial variables including depressive symptoms as well but this effect was not specific or replicated due methodological limitations noted above.

Based on these findings, according with new psychological theory about mediating effects of virtual reality technology, it is possible for video game addiction researchers could use its results if used into different type therapy strategies available using VR headsets such Virtual World Empathy Therapy methods would probably be one effective method depending upon users' level/desire to participate at all levels from novice use.

Managing Editor and industry veteran Paul McNally said: “It’s easy to come at people using computer gaming as a form of escapism and brand it as dangerous. We think, especially in these unprecedented times, that you need to see it in a different light.

If we see that almost half of our respondents say they are playing as a way to forget what’s going on about them in isolation you can perhaps say that, “yes that might not be healthy’, but when you dig further into the research and discover that only 8% believe that gaming has a had a negative effect on their mental health you need to look at the responses in a different light and think, ‘actually, this highlights gaming is beneficial to many, certainly in the current climate.”

The Gamezbyte survey into Gaming and Mental Health is a part of the work we are doing in this area and the full results can be read here.

A second piece of evidence comes from an interview with Dr Andrew Haggerty over social media during PAX East where he spoke out against those who play games (also known) for "trophies" or simply because its something players enjoy being able use later online while others were relegated under the influence of drugs such like MDMA

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