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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gaming as Therapy

As many of my close friends can attest, I am an introvert and like to observe more than participate. I generally start characters who don't get into the middle of things and are not openly aggressive. My characters tend to start out as wallflowers and "blossom" from there as the game progresses. To me, this is very therapeutic from the day-to-day stressors of real life.

I know that there have been several crimes that have been directly or indirectly tied to gaming; from tabletop RPG's to MMORPG's. I can understand how gaming could have such an effect on someones mind, and this is why there are so many games with disclaimers on them. If a person lacks the mental or social discipline to treat this games as just a game, they should probably no partake in them. I have seen my fair share of people who have played the games and thought that the game world was their real world, and it scares me. So far, these people I've witnessed have not gone so far as to become destructive.

For me, gaming is a stress release. If I let all the stress I normally endure during a normal week build-up with no release, my head would explode. I play RPG's, LARP and video games so that I don't become a "disgruntled postal employee". For those that know me in real life, I generally project a calm demeanor and let most things slide off of me like water off a duck's back. While inside, I may be raging to kick someone's ass at whatever insult they may have lobbed my direction or some new way to get under my skin. It's a good thing I didn't take to chemistry when I was in high school for fear I'd work to develop a Jekyll and Hyde concoction.

I deal with in-game stress easier than I think most of my friends do. Recently, I've had several players communicate that they were sorry about an argument that took place in game. I understand that they didn't want me upset that it took a great deal of actual game time, but what they failed to understand in return is that disagreements and arguments are a way of life. I learn a great deal from fellow players by how they react to in-game opposition. As heated as some of the arguments may get, I never find myself taking an issue with it outside of the actual game and I try not to let it have an effect on me.

I game so I can de-stress, and this is a therapy for me. It's not all about escapism... even though that helps in the therapy. I also don't feel that I need a game to occupy what little free time I have in my life. If I didn't have my current responsibilities with my LARP group, I would probably have a relatively relaxful life. I guess that at that point I would have to game just for fun!

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