Games of meaning

We have come a long way with computer and video games since the simple two dimensional graphics of the tennis-like game of Pong captivated early adopters. No longer though, do you have to crowd around a machine in an arcade waiting for your chance to insert coins; these days the games you can experience on your own hand held device are as diverse as the experiences of life itself. For most of us though, “games” have a lesser reputation in our mind than “higher” forms of art like painting, sculpture, books, and film. Yet a new study may challenge that as it has found that in fact games may offer just as much as meaning as other art forms.

The new study involved more than 500 computer/video game players who were asked to recall games that they found to be either fun or meaningful and to rate those games. The subjects reported that both types of game were enjoyable to play but that they much preferred meaningful games and yes, they did report finding meaning in games.

The subjects reported that the more meaningful a game was, the more enriched they felt after playing it. The researchers make the point that where more conventional forms of art or entertainment merely allow a person to observe others, games allow the participant to actually experience those situations. According to the researchers these experiences can provoke insight, emotional growth, or even spiritual development.

In summary the researchers indicate that games may not have the critical acclaim of the more conventional forms of art and entertainment but they actually can provide valuable and meaningful experiences for people…which is just about where film was around 80 years ago when it arrived on the entertainment scene.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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