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Play Games: Be a Success!

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I saw Ms. McGonigal on The Colbert Report a week or so ago and now she has penned an article for Huffington Post. Her premise is that playing games is a life saving exercise — up to 21 hours a week . After THAT–well you’re just a troll living in dad’s basement. But less than that and you are really helping yourself.

But when you hit 28 hours a week of gaming or more, the time starts to distract you from real life goals and other kinds of social interaction that are essential to leading a good life. Multiple studies have shown it’s the 21-hour mark that really makes the difference — more than 3 hours a day, and you’re not going to get those positive impacts. Instead, you’ll be at risk for negative impacts — like depression and social anxiety.

So what’s the optimal level of gaming? For most people, an hour a day playing our favorite games will power up our ability to engage whole-heartedly with difficult challenges, strengthen our relationships with the people we care about most — while still letting us notice when it’s time to stop playing in virtual worlds and bring our gamer strengths back to real life.

Thanks to James Fudge for the tip.

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Bill Abner

Bill has been writing about games for the past 16 years for such outlets as Computer Games Magazine, GameSpy, The Escapist, GameShark, and Crispy Gamer. He will continue to do so until his wife tells him to get a real job.

4 thoughts to “Play Games: Be a Success!”

  1. This makes me feel a bit better, as I’d consider myself a game addict, but usually come in safely under her prescribed hours cap. I’m curious what research she’s basing her assertions on, though.

  2. I can see her point about the whole three hours thing. It’s hard to get enough of a foothold in most games unless you’re willing to plug away for a few hours. Anything over three usually makes me feel like I’m just being a lazy slob, but under one hour and I usually don’t see the point. Counting cutscenes, friend messages, and managing save points and difficult spots, I need to have a little bit of time in order to not feel rushed while playing, but not stick to it so long that I feel like the day’s wasted.

  3. ‘Anything over three usually makes me feel like I’m just being a lazy slob’

    I kinda agree with that. A few hours at one sitting is about all I can take these days.

  4. Sounds on par with the same number of hours of watching TV a day. Nothing really new here except what we’ve all known since 1985: damage from playing games is <= damage from watching TV. Now, if you’re playing games for three hours, then watching TV for three hours, and eating Doritos and Doing the Dew for all six of those hours then you might be in trouble.

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