ZiggyD’s Monday Musings: Are Video Games a Waste of Time?

27 Nov 2012 by ZiggyD, No Comments »

G’day ZiggyD here it’s Monday the 26th november here in Australia and welcome to what is likely to be the last monday musing of this year. Im not planning on cancelling the show or anything but its getting close to christmas and I also have to move houses in December so uploads might be a bit sketchy over the next month. I’ll probably give another update on what will be happening in terms of content over the break in a few days time.

The original video:

So, for today’s Monday Musings I am actually going to be answering a question which I am more than happy to do so feel free to send your own musings to my Youtube inbox. Today’s question, however, comes in the form of a comment from TheTraase, which I believe means TheTomato and that’s awesome.

So the question is:

Ziggy, why do i feel so depressed and like im wasting my life playing video games? i love them but i feel like im wasting my time… what would you do in my situation? – TheTraase

I did respond to this comment briefly at the time but it got me thinking and I wanted to expand upon my answer here today.

Firstly, I know the feeling you are talking about. I have dealt with depression a few times in my life and i have also encountered the feeling like I was wasting time playing video games. I’m actually pretty sure that most gamers will have this feeling at some point for a variety of reasons.

I think the feeling that you are wasting your time gaming usually comes from one of two places, either there is something else that you want to (or have to) do but for some reason put it off, or, the general feeling that games aren’t a legitimate use of your time, which is often an idea supported by other people around you.

So let’s tackle the idea that you do actually feel like you should be doing something else first. It could be as simple as you literally spending too much time gaming and are not fulfilling your other obligations such as study, relationships or other hobbies. I think this is probably the most common issue that most gamers will face because gaming is an easy way to distract ourselves from things that we dont want to do or want to do but are a bit nervous or reluctant get into it. Breaking the non gaming stuff I should be doing into chunks seems to help me a lot. For example, instead of thinking I have to get this whole article done for a client because it’s overdue I just do a paragraph in between farming runs of Diablo 3 and within an hour or two it’s done with no real issue. You can do this with anything too, instead of thinking that you need to spend more time with your friends simply break it into smaller chunks that you can actually take action on like every second afternoon you spend an hour or so with someone. The main point is to not give yourself this massive list of things you should be doing instead of gaming, otherwise you will probably just shut down and not do any of it.
So, that’s all well and good for when you know the other things you want to or need to be doing but what about if you just have the feeling that you want to be doing something else when your gaming but you don’t know what it is. Well I don’t think this is so much a problem with gaming but more a problem with you not having explored your own interests enough. I think a lot of people get into the cycle of just doing what they always do whether it’s working, gaming or watching TV and they don’t spend any time searching for other things that interest them. The first step to breaking this spell of repetition is to start training yourself to make conscious decisions in your life. It could be as simple as driving a different route home to what you normally do. Eventually you can then take this idea further and spend an afternoon doing something you wouldn’t normally do, googling something you haven’t googled before or talking to people you wouldnt normally talk to. Once you start doing this occasionally you start to find these little paths of interests that you can follow to find other cool things you might be keen on doing.

So the final thing I want to touch on is when the idea that gaming is a waste of time is given to you by other people and when it is not actually justified. Firstly, I want to say that gaming is a medium that has a massive amount to offer people ranging from entertainment and escapism to skill building and even character defining experiences. Gaming has definitely shaped who I am in a positive way, they have allowed me to explore ideas and concpets I wouldnt have otherwise, theyve allowed me to enter situations outside the normal world and they have given me both physical and mental challenges to test myself against. Games like Final Fantasy 7, Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 have all had varied and huge impacts on my life. You should definitely allow yourself to recognize the positives of the gaming medium. Sure games can be used as a distraction and a time waste but they can also do a whole lot of good.

So that’s my main answer to TheTraase’s question but I do just want to make one final serious note. Gaming can and has been used as a positive treatment for some forms of depression but excessive gaming has been proven to aggravate serious cases of depression. This is because it is a naturally sedentary activity and lack of exercise is huge issue in depression for many people. If you feel like you may be suffering from depression or anxiety then the best things you can do are to talk to a doctor about it and try and break up your gaming sessions with some more exercise. Sorry to end on a bit of a sombre note but I want to see all you gamers happy and healthy so you can really enjoy your gaming for a long time to come.


If you have a question you would like to send for a future Monday Musings then you can send it to me via my YouTube Inbox, which can be found here, on my channel page.

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