This is the last thing friends, family and spouses of game-addicted people need.
As released by Mashable, playing video games can actually elongate your life. Here is the published story for you:
EDINBURGH, Scotland — It’s easy to write off our gaming addiction as a waste of time. But game designer Jane McGonigal argues the exact opposite; that games can actually extend our life expectancy. And she has the data to support it.
McGonial, who previously advocated that the world collectively play 21 billion hours of games per week, started her presentation at TED Global by citing a widely-circulated study of the most common regrets of people on their death beds.
She then detailed how games address all of them, drawing on her personal experience of suffering a serious concussion that left her unable to do most of the things she loved, like playing video games, reading, writing and caffeine. That left her deeply depressed, to the point where she said “I am either going to kill myself, or I’m going to turn this into a game.”
That game, at the time called “Jane the Concussion Slayer,” was initially completely analog, relying on friends and family to present her with challenges that involve physical activity and social connection. When McGonigal was able to get back on her feet, she turned it into an iOS game called SuperBetter.
Much like the game she played in the offline world, it encourages users to complete challenges that increase your personal resilience and in turn improve your physical and mental well-being. But since it’s digital, it’s able to use Facebook, smartphones and game mechanics to make it an addictive experience.
The results, she says, directly address the regrets of those on their death beds, noting how games keep friends closer together and encourage self-expression. “[The game is] helping them in the same ways as it helped me. They’re feeling stronger and better … better understood by friends and family,” she said. This effect, especially for those that play the game for recovery, is what she refers to as “post-traumatic growth.”
The science of this all is rooted in continually trying to build on four strengths: physical, mental, emotional and social. To demonstrate, McGonial had the TED crowd execute on all four through a variety of activities they could do from their seats at the conference center.
Those activities alone, she said, raised everyone’s average lifespan by more than 7 minutes; executing on them on a daily basis throughout one’s lifetime can increase it by up to 10 years, research has shown (McGonial recently published an exhaustive list of the sources used in her research).
Of course, with tasks like “battling mindless eating” and a focus on positive thinking, a game like SuperBetter probably has more of an impact than Angry Birds. Nonetheless, McGonial makes a compelling case for games having the ability to make a positive impact on our lives, with SuperBetter serving as an example the early possibilities.