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Games make us happy because they are hard work that we choose for ourselves, and it turns out almost nothing makes us happier than good, hard work.

 We don’t normally think of games as hard work. After all, we play games, and we’ve been taught to think of play as the very opposite of work. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, as Brian Sutton-Smith, a leading psychologist of play once said, “The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.”


When we’re depressed, according to the clinical definition, we suffer two things: a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity. If we were to reverse these two traits we’d get something like this: an optimistic sense of our own capabilities and an invigorating rush of activity. There’s no clinical psychological term that describes this positive condition. But it’s a perfect description of the emotional state of gameplay. A game is an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy. In other words, gameplay is the direct emotional opposite of depression.

Reality is Broken, by Jane McGonigal

This book is fantastic and well worth reading even if you only play games and aren’t interested in making them. It’s about how games make us better and how they can change the world, by making it more gamelike and thus more motivating and rewarding. 

You can also watch her TED talk about the same subject here!

(via kaijuborn)

Reposted byIMSyouamSenyia

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