Video games, a source of positive emotions!

Video games, a source of positive emotions!
In the last decade the world of video games, of any genre they are, has known its period of maximum expansion and the use of recreational video products shows no signs of decreasing, indeed it is constantly growing, thanks also to the now ever increasing number of “casual” gamers who play through smartphones and tablets and often do not even know they are gamers.
One of the elements to be taken into consideration to better interpret this success is the ability of video games to arouse emotions.
Even looking at the dawn of video games, we can find this characteristic; let’s take for example Tetris, which could be summarized in “place the geometric, two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes that the game generates, to optimize the spaces”: the speeding up of the falling bricks as the levels progress and the pressure of the music change the emotional experience of the player. The mechanisms behind these simple emotional activations are innumerable and vary according to the different games: from identification with the characters and identification in the story, to the graphic and entertainment aspects, to conclude with the challenge dimension. The combinations of these components and the resulting emotional activation can produce very different outcomes: just as a video game can make us happy, move and excite, it can also arouse anger or frustration.
With this article we will try to better understand the role of video games in the relationship between positive emotions and well-being. As we have said, video games have the ability to involve and excite us and, if their diffusion is so developed, it is due to the fact that in most cases, when you play, you can enjoy pleasant moments characterized by a feeling of well-being.
This quality has affected positive psychology which is based on the use of positive emotions, the basis for the promotion and development of well-being. Positive psychology investigated positive emotions in video games through two approaches. The hedonic approach focuses on the relationship between the individual and those experiences that generate pleasure and are attributable to a positive emotion: video games are supporters par excellence of this type of sensations, resulting as excellent means for the search for well-being and pleasure. Let’s think, for example, of famous I phone games such as “Angry birds” or “Fruit ninja”, in which the activity to be carried out is not particularly complex, but the gaming experience, starting from the graphics to the completion of the challenge, is designed to gratify the subject, rewarding his effort and encouraging his progress.
The eudaimonic approach, on the other hand, alludes to well-being resulting from the development of personal preferences, which, if satisfied, lead to happiness, understood as the maximum expression of one’s potential and of “becoming masters of one’s own destiny”. Games that focus on this dimension are generally more complex, as they require the involvement and identification of the subjects in order to promote high states of “well-being” during the videogame experience. This includes all those products that include an avatar to customize and evolve, for example Destiny or World of Warcraft. Video games can therefore become a means for individual well-being, helping a person to orient himself within his own self and his own world, constituting a sort of “gym” where the individual can learn to express himself and experience the their emotions.
Our hope is that by going beyond the negative opinions and statements discrediting video games, we become aware of the great opportunities that this medium brings with it.