Many people think online gaming is a nonproductive waste of time. However, some researchers and brain injury survivors disagree with the notion. Successful gaming requires focus, attention to details, goal setting, scheduling, networking, and communication — the same skills that are necessary to solve the world’s most complex issues such as famine and poverty. In the following video, Jane McGonigal further explores the connection between gaming and saving the world.
If gaming can repair the world, it is not a big stretch to conclude gaming can also repair a brain. Thomas Ragone, a gaming advocate who is also a brain injury survivor, explains how gaming helps him and could help many other people, regardless of whether or not they have a brain injury or participate in a therapy program.
“My name is Thomas Ragone. I play video games between two and five hours per week. Gaming reduces the stress I feel from classwork, homework, studying, thinking about the future, and dealing with the present. Commitment to recovery is a stress filled full-time job. Gaming helps me wind down each night before I go to sleep; it alleviates my stress and enables me to sleep soundly when my head hits the pillow.
“Video games require players to think logically, network, communicate, act responsibly, and react appropriately to survive missions. We all have missions such as learning or strengthening skills, completing homework, passing tests, reading mail, paying bills, getting from Point A to Point B, purchasing groceries, making meals, as well as completing projects on time and under budget. The skills a gamer develops to become successful could benefit everyone because every single person on this planet gets stressed about something – a spouse, friend, relationship, neighbor, careless driver, unmet need, or unfulfilled wish. Your reaction to stress determines the kind of day you and those around you will have.”
What complex real world issue would you like to solve and why did you select the issue? What is stopping you from solving the issue? What games are most helpful in reducing stress? How do you prefer to reduce, or compensate for, existing stress? Are you interested in learning more about how video games can help you reach your goals?