The Psychology Behind Playing Online Video Games

Video games can be found everywhere, and they're available in formats ranging from handheld Gameboys to playing online video games over the internet with people from all over the world. We know that spending long hours playing video games is bad for us, and we've gotten the message about finding something else to do with our time loud and clear. Still, the gaming industry only gets bigger and companies are constantly coming up with new games and equipment.

It's a love affair. People can't stop themselves from 'just trying this game for fun', and they'll find themselves hooked to the newest fad, game or trend faster than snapping their fingers. There are different niches of games to satisfy everyone, from hard-core combat to fairylike fantasy. It's easy to find one that suits your preference, and soon enough, you're registered, logged on and playing online video games with all your heart.

So Why Do Video Games Suck Us In?

One reason playing online video games may have become so popular is because our fast-paced, real-life world has conditioned people to have short attention spans for situations that move too slowly. We've become victims of our own creation, becoming bored easily and turning away from cards or tabletop games to an exciting, easy, quick fix for our entertainment. Playing online video games gives a real boost to our nervous system - our attention level spikes sharply, we sit up and feel the tingle of excitement, anticipating the barrage of mental stimuli and instant gratification playing online video games offers.

Another reason we might cleave to playing online video games is because gaming takes up a good chunk of our concentration and focus. While we're trying to plan our next move, or running through our options in lightening-fast decision making, there is one thing we tend not to do: Pay attention to the world around us. Take note of people's behaviour while they are playing online video games - they seem to be phased out, and speaking to them most often gets no response. It's as if they need to be woken up from their games and brought out of their trance-like yet extremely complex mental state.

What does a trance have to do with the possible psychology of playing online video games? Simply, the person is using the game as a form of escapism. While playing online video games, no one has to deal with work issues, home problems, doing laundry or feeding the cat. Nothing but themselves and the computer screen matters, and for a period of time, they can phase out and forget the world, and their problems, exists.