Playing games is a way of socialising and relaxing. It has become a common pastime, and some of us even consider it a mental health activity. Despite this, some people have concerns about the amount of time spent gaming and how it might impact our lives. But are these fears founded? This article aims to examine the evidence around this topic.
Firstly, it is important to distinguish between video games and other forms of entertainment such as film and books. The primary difference between these two types of media is that video games are interactive. In other words, players are able to interact with the game environment and manipulate its world. This interaction enables the player to experience what is otherwise impossible with other entertainment mediums such as films and books.
It is also essential to note that the word game in this context refers to a structured form of play, and not an abstract idea or a concept. As such, the term game is distinct from work, which is undertaken for remuneration or art, which is often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements.
While it is possible to create a definition of what makes something a game, it is not practical to define all possible games. This is because games are constantly evolving and changing. In addition, games can be played on different media, including computer games, board games, sports games and mind games. Each of these games has its own characteristics and unique qualities.
Therefore, a good definition of a game should be able to accommodate these different media. The classic game model is a useful starting point. It defines six features of a game: goal, rules, challenge, interaction, and replayability. This definition does not necessarily include all possible types of game, but it provides a useful framework for thinking about them.
Another important factor to consider when defining a game is that it must have an audience. Whether an audience is composed of human observers or a crowd of virtual avatars, they must be willing to engage in the game and have fun. Finally, a game must have some kind of reward to make it enjoyable and increase the likelihood that people will continue playing it.
Research on the effects of video games on well-being has largely been based on self-reporting. This approach is problematic for several reasons. First, it is prone to bias and can lead to false positives. Second, it is difficult to measure digital behaviours accurately. Lastly, it can lead to over-generalizations of the effects of video games on well-being.
To address these concerns, researchers should strive to collect objective data on the consumption of video games. This can be done using tools such as screen recorders and eye tracking. In addition, the video game industry should be encouraged to collaborate with scientists and share its data. This will help to reduce the risk of biased results and increase the trustworthiness of scientific findings.