Gamers game for a range of reasons. If you simply take a poll it is possible they won’t be able to give you a very clear answer. Many simply say that video games are fun. Occasionally you’ll hear that it’s more fun than real life, which can be true. A short interview will run you into a range of answers that would include: Games are fun, they are distracting, they have beautiful graphics, engaging story lines, and they can even give a sense of accomplishment.

In short, some game to get away, others game to get involved.

4 Reasons Gamers Game

  1. Gamers want to be independent
  • They can do what they want, when they want, feel how they want, look how they want and go where they want. They get the life of their choice.
  • Games ranging from Minecraft to World of WarCraft allow gamers to free-roam and take on only the tasks they want to take at a given time. You can build resources, go exploring, defeat the forces of evil or team up with friends online and do different tasks, challenges or just quests depending on how you feel; the ultimate escapism.
  • Halo is a famous first-person shooter (FPS) that allows gamers to progress seamlessly throughout the story of the game. There are still plot points, but the gamer is not forced to click on “next level”; instead a heading just pops up when they enter the next area which enhances the illusion of control as well as gives fewer forced breaks from the immersive play.
  1. Gamers want to be a part of something epic
  • They want to be a part of a massive quest, a grand adventure, and to be a hero saving those in distress, with a clear goal in mind and a conclusion that satisfies.
  • There are times when life has challenges that simply can’t be overcome easily. In fantasy video games one of the more epic enemies you can meet is a dragon. They represent massive power, a huge challenge for heroes and the characters in the storyline alike. In a videogame, however, there is an adventure involved as you build yourself up to a place you can defeat them. The dragons of games are meant to be beat: Players level up, gain gear and work as part of a team which are all constant reminders that the gamer is going somewhere. It makes you feel like you’re actually doing something. For some, the call of the packaged heroic-journey is easier to access and achieve than the risk of taking on the dragons of real life.
  1. Gamers want to be belong
  • We all want to know we are appreciated, that we are wanted. There is nothing worse than being an unwanted fifth wheel at some hangout. A pity invite to an event can be worse than no invite because of the humiliation of knowing you aren’t really wanted. It’s easier to believe you were just overlooked.
  • For some gamers the draw of gaming is that they are respected by their guild, their peers, their teammates or at the NPC (non-player characters, the computer characters) that are designed into the game. When they complete a level, quest or adventure they are rewarded with things that are desirable to them.
  1. Gamers want to max-out
  • “Max out” is the idea that you’ve become the best you can be. You’ve improved to your maximum potential and the challenges of the game that once stressed you out seem piddly in comparison. In life there is always some area you fail in, but in video games you can become the best at everything. You can max out your levels, max out your stats, max out your wins, and max out the scenarios/competitions/quests by beating them all and leaving nothing unconquered.
  • Max out can be the most exciting part of gaming and it ironically can be the most depressing reality as well. When max-out is our goal, it’s the carrot that drives us through levels, through hours of game play, through honing our skills so we can reach the top. Yet it’s the least satisfying thing to actually accomplish. There is nothing less satisfying than reaching the highest level, or beating the final boss in a game that was exciting to level through, and realizing there is no longer anything to strive for.

Becoming Addiction

Unhealthy and addictive gaming is born when these four reasons for gaming become the means to escape from reality. Not everyone who games is addicted, or even unhealthy.

Yet when gaming is used to escape reality, or create an alternate reality, there is always something new to attain, always that next carrot to achieve. As gamers we can only feel happy when we are on the cusp of getting something and when we finally get there we feel let down. There is no peace in gaming for escape; only striving.

In our attempt to create a better and more satisfying life, we create a sort of treadmill that we run ourselves ragged on. Real satisfaction isn’t available in a video game. Playing more of it won’t make us feel more real.

Jesus himself said “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

In Him we can actually know peace and not drown it with continuous striving for achievements. We can best love and support our gamers, and game in a healthy fashion ourselves, when we understand that the most epic adventure in life is letting a loving God take the lead.