Why Video Games Are Important

This weekend started with high hopes: I was going to clean the house, get all the laundry done (that pile only seems to grow) finish and edit a short story, write a blog post or two in advance, and work on the current novel. It was going to be a marvelous, productive weekend, I was preemptively proud of myself.

In reality, I loaded the dishwasher, did a single load of laundry, finished and edited a story, and then played computer games. My foreshadowed pride quickly diminished.

For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I am a huge gamer, a member of the glorious PC elite who turn up their snobby noses at those who play on consoles. In reality, I like to play on all consoles, I just opted for a computer over others. I play games that range from shooting to strategy, RPGs to my newest tech addition, virtual reality. Since I started my blog, writing in earnest, and living a more active lifestyle, my gaming has fallen to the wayside. I went weeks without gaming, though, if I am being honest, I barely noticed. I have been so busy, so productive, that everything just seemed like it was as it should be.

But like people who have been presented a feast after they had wandered the desert for days, I gorged on the feast of digital bliss. I played games that I liked, I played games that were new, I actively searched for games to satisfy specific niches, even downloading a new MMO (massively multiplayer online, for those heathens among you) game. I think I spent more time gaming than not gaming this weekend.

Here’s the thing; I am disappointed that I did not get more done this weekend. It would have been lovely being prepared for the next week or two, even ahead of schedule. But I am happy that I did what I did. A blog from last week spoke about how I stumbled, how I almost fell out of the recent successes I have been having in my personal life. What I did not really touch on was that righting yourself after a stumble requires a balance. It is almost impossible to just gogogo, non-stop movement forward. Even if you are enjoying the trip, it becomes more difficult to produce quality, meaningful work.  Looking back, it feels like my brain had become swollen and tired, even if I had not noticed it at the time.

Now, going forward, I feel refreshed. Like sleeping in after a long week at work, it was a lovely break from the pace that I had set for myself. Even studies - real science, not just my ramblings - have shown that taking a break improves productivity and creativity, two traits that I know I need to do what I love. So do yourself a favour and play some video games. Or read, go for a hike, paint, play a sport. Do something to decompress that swollen brain. I needed a whole weekend to do it, but sometimes it can be as simple as getting outside during your lunch break, or going to the movies after work. Disconnect yourself from your career and just be you, at your base level.

And if you’re a gamer too, look me up. Try and make sure that I follow my own advice.