Reviewer Lois C. Henderson: Lois is a freelance academic editor and back-of-book indexer, who spends most of her free time compiling word search puzzles for tourism and educative purposes. Her puzzles are available HERE and HERE Her Twitter account (@LoisCHenderson) mainly focusses on the toponymy of British place names. Please feel welcome to contact her with any feedback at LoisCourtenayHenderson@gmail.com.
Long to escape the mundaneness of the everyday world, but caught up on the treadmill of having to pay bills and of having to be accountable and responsible for all your actions? Like millions of others, you might choose to resort to online gaming to relieve your overwhelming sense of being caught in the Styx. In the “virtual world” of an online video game for at least a few hours you’ll be able to play a host of roles that can take you from downtrodden suburbia to vanquishing mighty kingdoms and enthralling even the most famed conquerors of all time—this all with minimum effort on your side. What could be nicer (or more addictive)? You can even help out someone else who is in trouble (a fellow gamer), so that you’ll gain friends and comrades in arms by a mere twitch of your hand. Forget all the hard work that you normally have to put into building up friendships over the years, only to feel inevitably disappointed when they almost invariably let you down…
In Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound, Drs. Scott Rigby and Richard M. Ryan, in a university-backed study on
the psychology of video games, show you exactly how and why gaming has
come to appeal to the vast international audience that it has today. As
they are quick to point out, the ominous side of video gaming is the
possibility that such games offer for venting the violent streak that
might, unbeknownst to us, have permeated our psyche. Whether our being
given almost totally free rein within the comfort of our own homes to
express our deepest and darkest emotions without danger of serious
societal sanctioning has led to health and legal practitioners becoming
increasingly concerned about the negative impact that prolonged gaming
can have on our behavior offline.
Drs. Rigby and Ryan, in Glued to Games, explore, by drawing on the first-hand experiences of a wide range of people, the strong motivational dynamics that lead to people spending what amounts to months of their time glued to the computer in a separate, yet parallel, universe. The satisfying nature of the interactive experience is the main focus of the two authors’ work, and is the basis of their encouragement of the use of gaming as a means of promoting well-being in both the educational and mental/emotional health spheres. Their achievement of a balanced outlook on gaming is to be commended. With this demystification of the phenomenon, they have broken a great deal of new ground that should be of interest to educators, health care practitioners, legal experts, and the general public alike. Their provocative and thought-inspiring approach is likely to leave you with much to think about quite probably from a different angle to that to which you have been used. As they pithily say in one of their many trenchant headings, “In Game Psychology, Perhaps Content Isn’t King”.