|The world of online gaming has gone through so many transformations over the years including being adopted into the athletic world of eSports, yet at it's core, online gaming still serves to connect people from across the globe by building digital social networks and creating a unique environment where people from all walks of life can have fun together.
Steeped in friendly competition and lively conversation, online gaming has the power to boost ones mood through laughter and play. Solo play can also help to reduce stress and worry. In this article, I will share my own first experiences of playing games online and how these digital games benefited my own life, especially during turbulent times.
Please note: This collaborative article does not contain healthcare or therapeutic advice. If you are concerned about your health or well-being, speak with a health professional or visit your nearest medical facility in an emergency. The links in this article may be affiliate links that I will be compensated for at no additional cost to you.
How Online Gaming Boosts Mood & Connection
I can still recall the moment that I was first introduced to a computer game. It was on our first family personal computer (PC) in the 1990's; a Compaq Presario that, at the time, looked like something from another dimension. It was such a novelty to have a computer, and even though we had other gaming devices like a Nintendo, Sega Genesis and even an old Atari (I still maintain that Frogger is one of the best games ever made), having a computer opened up a whole new world to me. One of the very first games I remember playing was Mindsweeper. A simple, yet challenging game that takes a lot of concentration but is hours of fun and entertainment.
Our first computer was capable of connecting to a local intranet that housed online communities called 'bulletin boards' where people could connect and communicate virtually or play games together. This was before the internet was mainstream! I can remember games that relied on DOS, that stands for Disk Operating System, in which you had to type commands to locate files or play games. My all time favourite DOS games were the choose-your-own-adventure style in which you were given a series of questions and your answers created the storyline and ultimately decided your fate.
Another game I loved playing was Checkers. I would sit and play for hours and experience a sense of calm and relaxation, especially after coming home from a stressful day of school or working through my list of household chores. Sitting down at the computer and focusing on a fun, interactive and cognitively challenging game such as Chess was less appealing to me but I did enjoy the difficulty that this game brought along with the feeling of victory if I happened to claim checkmate.
At the present time, the world of online gaming is vast and includes MMORPG's (Massively Multi-Player Online Games) in which hundreds or even thousands of individuals can play a game at the same time. A player can step into a completely new world filled with fantasy creatures and storylines and work with other players to complete quests or battle difficult foes.
While these immersive games can be fun, they can also be overwhelming and take many hours of ones day. Going back to my earliest roots of online gaming, I can recall many options to play online games with friends like the wildly popular Uno. Playing Uno online brought back many nostalgic memories like playing in a competitive frenzy with friends and family while camping or on road trips. And now when I play games like these online I feel content and peaceful while also thinking back on these memories.
Overall, my own connection and history with online gaming has a long and memorable past. During stressful times, I can recall sitting down at the computer and focusing on a fun solo or multi-player game helped my mind and soul take a break from the difficulties of life for awhile. Online board and card games helped me to build connections with others also helped me to feel like the weight of the world was off my shoulders for a little while, which boosted my happiness and overall contentment.
I wonder what your connection has been to online games? Do you have a memory of playing your very first computer or online game? What emotions and feelings do you recall, and how do you feel now when you sit down to play a fun game at the computer? Share your experiences in the comments below, I would be super interested to hear!
Related: 3 Fun & Affordable Self-Care Ideas
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