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What good do games do? Send us your stories

Despite the near universal praise of GTA V and its rampant success, there's been a few kill joys in the media that decided to take it upon themselves to bad mouth the game and the industry, by suggesting that violent games breed real world violence. Myself and Carl covered some of the more heinous examples, where publications painted gamers as deadly trainees waiting to unleash violence on the world and that knowing a lot about a game was tantamount to being a crazy person. Fortunately, many Kitguru readers disagreed, suggesting that in-fact, games can do a lot of good.

With that in mind, today I'll be posting up a guest post from reader Anthony Spronson, who thinks gaming has many benefits. But something tells me he isn't the only one, so if you too have a story about the benefits of gaming or how you feel gaming has improved your life, please send them through to me at jon[@]kitguru.net (without brackets of course) and we'll try and put together a few more pieces around why gaming isn't all about violence and isolation.

If you've got a positive gaming story, send it through to jon[@]kitguru.net and maybe we'll feature it in our next look at the benefits of gaming

The Benefits of Gaming – Anthony Spronson
You might not be aware of this, but there are plenty of gaming charities that are focused solely on providing gaming experiences for the disabled. One such charity is The AbleGamers Foundation This charity aims to “improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities through the power of video games”. The charity continues: “video games allow individuals with disabilities to experience situations that may be difficult or limited in the real world [and] provide social networking opportunities to maintain mental and emotional health”. Gaming involves these people in an everyday activity where how you look or what you are has almost no relevance. People just accept you as you are and treat you normally.

You don’t have to be disabled to feel the same way. Gaming, by nature, is a social adventure. Whilst there is the ability to play solo, you still want to talk about it with people – even if you don’t personally know them. How many of you are playing GTAV now and are messaging your friends about how cool such and such a moment was? It breaks down a social barrier because everyone is experiencing something along the same lines, and we all want to share how it made us feel.

Gaming is all about bringing people together regardless of race, nationality, or opinion. And that couldn’t be truer with the dawn of online gaming. People join guilds, clans, and groups, because not only is it beneficial from an in-game reward point of view, but because it makes the game instantaneously more fun. Playing an MMORPG solo will never be as fun as playing it with other people. How many times have you sat down, logged in, met up with friends, and then suddenly lost all sense of time because you’ve been having a load of fun? All of this is a positive experience in regards to mental and emotional health.

The funny thing is – counter to the overblown notions of the publications that place the blame of rising violence to video games – I’m not compelled to mimic the content inside games in reality. But rather, I’m compelled to mimic the sense of community and understanding that the social side of gaming provides. And that’s what these gaming charities focus their attention on, inclusion and fun.Which is what games are really all about.

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