Why are video games so addictive?
When it comes to video games, there are whole communities built around playing games and exchanging
information. Internet video games, such as World of Warcraft, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, or RuneScape
provide valuable communities for their players in which video game enthusiasts are able to construct new identities
and engage in unimaginable adventures.
These types of video games require two or more players, mostly opposing one another, and the play takes
place via online activities and chats. Players can be in different parts of the world, but the game takes
place in real time. Due to the number of online chats and forums, players are active even when they are not
playing. What really gets the adrenaline pumping is when players are able to join competitive leagues and
monitor their own performance in comparison to other players around the world.
If you want to test your knowledge about some of the most addictive video games to date, try these quizzes
- Dungeon Fighter Online
- PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
What do addictive games activate in the brain?
Addictive video games are games in which the thrill is largely based on conquering (lands or universes for
example), rewards (goods, valuables, money) or winning a challenge. This type of victory does wonders for
the ego and the player feels satisfied for having acquired or won something. As a result, they run straight
back to the game to get more of that “feeling.”
Addictive games have various things in common and their developers are masters of “hooking” their players
into coming back for more action. Video games with a cult-following are built on levels of complexity in
which the player must acquire new skills and apply them to new and challenging situations. When a player
advances in the video game, the more intriguing its world becomes. Players are able to secure new
opportunities for problem solving, strategic and critical thinking.
A study in 2005 concluded that dopamine (a feel-good hormone in the brain) doubled when people were gaming,
which means that addictive video games are chemically addictive as well.
Are video games an issue at all?
Video games themselves are not necessarily the issue, especially if you are just gaming out of curiosity or
to ease your boredom. In fact, studies have shown that playing video games can help you achieve short-term
Here are some benefits of moderate gaming:
- Improves color sensitivity (the ability to distinguish between different shades of color). You can test
your color sensitivity here.
- Increases visual attention (when it comes to conditions like lazy eye)
- Improves spatial recognition skills
- Improves ability to multitask
- Improves mental flexibility
- Boosts Brain Age
Each of us has played a video game at least once and the problem only arises when gaming results in harmful
consequences such as mood swings, a tendency for conflict, loss of control, and withdrawal from social
situations. Game wisely!