Now we can all sleep better at night.
According to a new set of findings announced by amateur game journalist and self-appointed pundit of interactive media Karen Gellender, videogames can not only be healthy, but can be used as effective treatments for many debilitating conditions that many people face every day. Gellender had this to say about her unusual findings:
"When it comes to what I do, which is thinking, observation, and thinking informed by observation, it really helps not to be hamstrung by any particular political agenda. Additionally, it's wonderful to be free of the pressure to fund so-called "studies", where arbitrary conditions are set in order to manufacture exactly the results that the respective financial backers want. Instead, I study phenomenon noticed in myself and those close to me, meaning that my findings lack the dubious claim to universality of these much-touted studies, but hopefully make up for it somewhat for actually being, for lack of a better word, true
The enigmatic, brilliant and spectacularly gorgeous analyst then went on to explain the results of her landmark research.
1. Videogames Help Prevent Skin Cancer
The stereotype is that people who get lots of fresh air are healthy, and sedentary gamers are physically inferior in every way. "In some respects that's true" concedes Gellender, "However, whatever good they're doing to their cardiovascular systems, most people who spend a lot of time outside do not take adequate precautions to protect their skin from sun damage. While it may present other problems, the nature of console and PC gaming means that people will spend more time inside, protecting their skin. Any way you look at it, less exposure means less sun damage, and logically following that a lower incidence of skin cancer."
2. Videogames Are Better For Diets Than Television
Videogames and Television are often lumped together as the evil duo of a sedentary lifestyle. Not so, says Gellender."There's a key difference between TV and videogames that is never acknowledged, and it's crucial. With television, the hands are unencumbered, making it very easy for people to snack indefinitely. Gamers are constantly holding a controller, and while you can eat while you game, you have to make some effort in order to do it without making a mess of your controller. Your attentions are also more immediately engaged with most games, so you generally have to take a small break to eat as opposed to doing it continuously. The fact that eating while gaming requires any forthought whatsoever protects gamers from the kind of mindless eating that career TV couch potatoes often indulge in."
To put it more bluntly, Gellender says "No one who paid $60 bucks for a goddamned overpriced wireless controller is going to eat Cheetos and get that orange junk all over their controller: It's just not going to happen."
3. Videogames Can Help Mitigate Social Anxiety
Millions of people the world over suffer from mild forms of agoraphobia, or other forms of situational anxiety. "Personally, I used to get really stressed out when I was trapped in a crowded space, like during train rides.", admits Gellender. "Now that I have my DS, I just pull it out and I feel like I've taken a piece of home with me, and at the very least, it gets my mind off of my anxiety. Sometimes just knowing that I have it and I can 'tune out' whenever I want makes the ride that much less stressful.
Social Anxiety has been linked to increased stress, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease and pretty much any other bad condition that could possibly afflict a person. Therefore, by reducing social anxiety gaming can help prevent against practically any serious medical condition that can result from stress (which is apparently most of them.)
4. Videogames Can Help Treat Eating Disorders
While games have been accused of causing addictive or at the very least compulsive tendencies, Gellender says that this feature of the medium is a double-edged sword. "Sure, gaming can be compulsive-- any behavior that's associated with pleasure can be, and plenty that aren't. The good thing about this is that playing games can replace harmful compulsive behavior, like compulsive overeating, with a benign alternative."
Gellender explains that eating disorders have little to with food, and involve a person being 'triggered' by stress to do a particular action, usually either to gorge on, or deprive themsevles of food. "Since it's not really about food, that stress can be dealt with in other ways. Given enough time, the reaction to that trigger can change from "I'm going to eat a bag of cookies" to "I'm going to go level up for a while." Video games work better in this context than other behaviors, since video games can provide a necessary feeling of self-indulgence. Usually a seemingly more "productive" activity, like reading or exercise, will not be a suitable replacement because it will seem like work, even if the individual enjoys those activities under other circumstances."
Gellender stresses that videogames alone are not a cure for eating disorders or other serious psychological disorders, but can be part of an effective treatment plan. "If people are maladjusted, sure, they have to deal with those issues at their source if they ever want to feel their best. But there's no reason why their coping mechanisms can't be improved while they're doing it."
5. Videogames Can Inspire Creativity
While many gamers spend time on games that they could be using to enrich themselves creatively, others use their games as a springboard for their own projects. "Fanart, fan-fiction, making new versions of classic game music, etc.-- all of these are creative hobbies that good games inspire gamers to take up. And chances are if they're interested in these things, that interest will spread to art, writing and music in general."
She also points out that the use of videogames as pure entertainment is not necessarily a bad thing: "People can use games as a source of entertainment and leave it at that, and that's fine--everyone needs some pure entertainment. But the misconception is that time spent playing games is time wasted because people aren't engaging in productive hobbies, while the fact remains that games can, and often do encourage productive hobbies."
6. Videogames Can Inspire Interests, Even Physicality
For a long time, games have been accused of inducing copy-cat behavior, particularly where shootings are involved. Gellender says that these accusations are not entirely unfounded, but again, you can't accept the bad without accepting the good. "Sure, some mentally disturbed people may play violent games and may become inspired to do violence-- provided they start out with those inclinations in the first place." Gellender admits. "However, far more people will feel inspired to partake of activities across a broad range of fields, most of which are non-violent."
She gives numerous examples, including a man she knows who's love of the Gran Turismo games sparked an appreciation of both automobiles and professional racing, and a woman who uses the virtual swordplay in The Leged of Zelda: Twilight Princess to indulge her interest in Kendo, which she'd love to take up someday but doesn't have the time for. "Games can be both an inspiration for a hobby, or a way to indulge that hobby when the best way may be unavailable" Gellender says. "Since games tend to feature characters who are in physically peak condition and are strong and agile, it's only natural that some gamers would feel motivated to dust off their jogging clothes. Sure, plenty will remain couch potatoes and happy to be there, but for some the desire to improve their game performance will naturally inspire the desire to improve their physical performance."
After this series of outrageous, mind-blowing findings, the analyst is tight-lipped about her next area of study. We take no responsibility for this claim, but some have posited that the title will be "How Corporate Interests and Double-Think Can Cause People With Lots of Advanced Degrees to Say Really Stupid Things",
or "The Emperor's New Clothes: The Myth of Popular Studies, or What Did the Scientific Method Do To Deserve This Shit."
It is unclear whether she has acquired any funding at this time.
Note: The 'analyst' referred to is me! I thought it was immediately obvious, but just in case, now you know. Obviously this is a parody of many of the pretentious videogame "studies" that have been publicized recently, but I do think many of the actual points here are reasonable.