Today, gaming is a widespread hobby. The popularity of games can cut across demographics and platforms. Gamers don’t have to hang out in their den at home with a high-powered computer or dedicated console; mobile apps drive billions of dollars’ worth in yearly industry revenues.
Studies have also shown that video games offer many benefits in terms of learning and cognition. Gaming can even help you recover from a traumatic brain injury, as your attorney sorts out compensation and the doctor prescribes treatment.
Clearly, video games can be both popular and beneficial. They have evolved from being single-player activities to highly social experiences while taking advantage of simultaneous advances in the ubiquitous mobile phone technology. But gaming can also be immersive. Taken too far, this casual hobby can transform into addiction.
Some form of play is essential not just to children, but for adults of all ages, including seniors. But how can you avoid addiction, find balance, and incorporate gaming into your adult life?
Manage your time
Modern lifestyles aren’t uniformly hectic and stressful. People don’t always fill their lives to the brink with work or social commitments. And not everyone runs on a busy schedule all year round.
You might find yourself between jobs, or turning your side hustle into a full-time occupation and waiting for the volume of work to increase. Or maybe your company sends you on a mandatory vacation to avoid burnout. For whatever reason, people often find that they have plenty of time to spare for games.
Conflicts arise when you lack discipline and time management. People can have different levels of proficiency in this regard. However, they are skills, and you can improve them with deliberate training and application.
You might have been accustomed to playing for hours on end in your youth, barely letting the need for sleep overtake you. Or putting off more urgent tasks, such as studying, because you could roll with the consequences. That’s no longer a sustainable approach as an adult. On the upside, through the practice of good time management, you can still set aside significant time for games while also getting important things done.
Know how games affect you
Gamers know that video game design can vary greatly. There are different genres; action, role-playing, sports, and strategy, to name a few. Everyone has their preferences based on these genres, and you’re probably quite familiar with your favorites.
But can you sort games according to a different set of criteria? For instance, which games tend to require the most immersion? With some titles, it’s easier to pick up the controller and put it down after getting your fix. Conversely, the more immersive games can keep you hooked for hours.
Modern games are business ventures and are thus carefully designed to influence the player’s behavior. The most successful developers employ various methods to encourage players to invest more time and money in the game. All games stimulate you with challenge and reward you with a sense of progress, but the most addictive games add a social aspect.
If you’re going to become the master of your gaming hobby, you need to be aware of how each game affects your behavior. Which games can you enjoy for an hour or two and walk away from without feeling compelled to play again? Those titles are probably your go-to for downtime after a typically busy day at work. If playing a specific game gets you so hooked that you can’t put it away for an entire day, avoid it until you can spare that sort of time.
Social MMOs such as World of Warcraft might be off-limits until you’re on a sabbatical. But even within such restrictions, it’s generally not a problem finding a video game that you’ll enjoy playing. How you manage other priorities in your life will be of far greater concern.
Gaming can be a lot more social nowadays, but it’s still no substitute for real face-to-face interactions. And while many games can boost your brainpower, few titles can claim similar benefits for physical health. You’ll need to leave room for non-gaming activities to address these needs.
On the other hand, gaming can be combined with different priorities. If you have kids of the appropriate age, a reasonable amount of playtime can also be game time. When working remotely, suggest that effective team building can take place through team gaming.
These skills of managing your time, prioritizing tasks, and developing self-awareness are all useful in a wide variety of contexts. Train yourself in these areas, and you can continue to play video games as an adult without getting carried away.