I usually like to end my days with pre-poo wash on my hair, a clay mask on my face, and a PlayStation remote in hand. When asked by my (female) co-workers what I did the night before, they are always shocked for two reasons:
- That I am playing video games without sharing this experience with a male person.
- And doing it while taking care of my skin and hair.
Apparently there are many things wrong with this. Not only can I not enjoy video games without attempting to impress or spend time with a man, but it is also strange to others (like my co-workers) that I care equally about the maintenance of my skin and hair. Why are these women adding to the taboo of female gamers? The moment we judge each other for being gamers, we deny ourselves the joys and benefits of gaming.
After a long day I like to pop open a bottle of wine and play some video games. In my hour or two of game play yesterday, I shot some Necromorphs (monster virus animals from space), re-wired a ship, upgraded my ammo, and got one step closer to solving a mystery. Of course, we can’t forget that by the time I was done my hair was deeply conditioned and my skin felt softer than a baby’s bum. Yet, my co-workers see me as someone who wasted her time. I don’t know about others, but I cannot remember the last time I spent an hour watching reality TV while feeling accomplished in any sense of the word.
By making video games a taboo for women, most of us are missing out on an amazing part of the technological age. While many men play video games throughout their adulthood, a women playing games is correlated with being lazy or wasting our time. Should I be watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians instead? It is already sad to see other genders boxing each other in, but it is even worse to box each other in with expectations of who we should be and the things we should be doing.
Being able to dive into a video game combines the visuals of an amazing movie with the feelings of a great book. In fact, there are many benefits to playing video games.
They can be used as a form of physiotherapy.
Games are known to improve hand-eye coordination, thus they can help you regain specific motor skills after suffering physical trauma.
They encourage decision-making.
Making decisions, like every aspect of life, requires practice. When playing a game you are constantly faced with decisions. (For example: Which direction do I go? What gun do I use?) It’s extremely rare that in real life you should encounter this many choices without causing a high level of stress. With video games you get to work the decision making part of the brain while maintaining your sanity.
They enhance creativity.
Scientists from Michigan State University conducted an investigation in 2011 where they studied the brain patterns of boys and girls while playing video games. This study showed that those who played longer showed more signs of creative play. Both genders benefited equally from game play.
They help us express our emotions.
Video games can be used as a way to express emotions otherwise left repressed, much like the awesome feeling you get after working out. Violent video games are not for everyone; however I have found that it serves as a purge. Sometimes I come home feeling pretty peeved about the day, and while I can’t yell at everything that made me miserable, I sure can shoot some aliens and feel way better. Video games can provide that safe heaven to let go of your daily stress.
The rewards of playing are exponential. We must only remember that video games are a way to enhance life, not escape it. After a long day of work and exercise there is no better way to end it than by picking up the remote. No, not the one that turns on the TV — the other one. When you play, you allow your mind to forget about time constraints and real life problems, much like meditation. And why should men get to have all the fun?
Written by Ana Urena