Why do games affect us emotionally

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How games affect you

I am a big fan of games , especially RPG games which are usually based on extensive stories. Few days ago i was wondering why do i sometimes get emotionally affected by the story line of the game i am playing. After all i know it's just a game yet a part of me treats it as if it's a real thing.

What many people don't know about games is that the subconscious mind takes them more seriously than they think. When i talked about watching movies earlier and how they affect your psychology i said that the subconscious mind can hardly tell the difference between a real experience and an imagined experience.

This is also very true for games especially when you get emotionally connected to the characters of the game. While you might consciously think that you are wasting time on doing something silly your subconscious mind would be taking what's going on too seriously (if you really like the game).

This concept can help us understand and answer many of the popular questions that people raise about games like 'why do Gamers get angry' or 'do games lead to violence'.

The psychological effect of games

When it comes to games your subconscious mind can actually get very involved in the game's environment if you identified with the game's characters. In such a case what happens to that character would also happen to your subconscious mind and so some of the emotions the character you identified with experiences will be transferred to you.

This is why you might get so emotional when playing a story based game that has a touching story like Final Fantasy VII for example. See also why we get affected by movies.

In addition to all that, whether you notice it or not, a game will usually communicate some values to you. For example i have said earlier that watching the walking dead series for sometime can help you become more co-operative with others and also more tough.

What happened here is that the show communicated to you some of its values without you noticing and the same can happen with games. Some games teach some good values such as courage, sacrifice , favoring the group over the individual and many other good things.

Do games lead to violence

So do games lead to violence?
The short answer is it depends on the type of game you are playing. Even if the game has killing but the story was designed in such a way that you are doing something really purposeful then you won't get affected in a bad way.

And the good thing about games is that there is rarely a game that has purposeless killing or killing for the sake of killing and this is why many games are mistakenly blamed for violence even though they are innocent. See why do people like video games.

Some games in fact can promote healthy personality changes. Just like seeing a role model doing something can help you become more of a good person seeing the leading character in a game doing something good can also teach you that thing.

In short, games aren't just for kids as they can have a great impact on your mind , psychological state and personality no matter how old you are.

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