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3 Ways Video Games Uplift Your Mood

...and the seven titles you can play to be one!
by Karen Mae De Vera | Feb 26, 2016
Most Popular

Sometimes, you have to deal with an absolutely shitty day. Maybe the bills piled up too fast, work was overwhelming, or your ex moved on too quickly. In order to cope, some people play their feelings away with videogames.

Older bros might bemoan the medium's violent content but science proves that the hobby offers benefits as well. 

Gamers multi-task well, make fast decisions, and have better hand-eye coordination and dexterity. In a study conducted by the University of Toronto which tested gamers' sensorimotor skills, gamers and non-gamers were tasked to maintain a green square cursor at the center of a white square that moved in a pattern. Lo and behold, the gamers did better in said exercise.

One of the study's head researchers, Davood Gozli, said: “The gamers were significantly more accurate in following the repetitive motion than the non-gamers. This is likely due to the gamers’ superior ability in learning a novel sensorimotor pattern, that is, their gaming experience enabled them to learn better than the non-gamers.”

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But aside from making your fingers far more dexterous, what other benefits are there to gaming? We have three more here:

1) Casual gaming can relieve stress

A 2009 study from the Virtual Reality Medical Institute touches on how casual gaming can improve mood and reduce stress. Results show that by playing so-called “work break” games like Bejeweled II, most of the participants’ anger was reduced significantly afterwards. So go ahead and play COC during your free time at work.

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If you wanna try some new games then check these out:

Traffic Rider
iOS and Android
The next time you’re pissed as hell and cursing the high heavens while you’re stuck in yet another bumper-to-bumper nightmare, just boot up this game. Imagine that you’re experiencing the app racer in real life as you hop on a motorbike and weave through an endless line of cars and trucks. Rack up points in the game in order to upgrade your vehicle and burn rubber. (Eff you, traffic!)

Pocket Mortys
iOS and Android
This Rick And Morty gaming app (based on the show of the same name) is a blatant rip-off of Pokémon, though it doesn’t pretend to be otherwise, but with a lot more snark thrown in. (Was there ever any doubt with the wise-cracking Rick around?) Your mission: Collect over 70 alternate universe versions of Mortys. There’s Stray Cat Morty, Robot Morty, Scruffy Morty, and even Mullet Morty. The game’s mixture of wacky humor and childhood nostalgia is guaranteed to lower your stress levels.

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Cut The Rope: Magic
iOS and Android
Puzzle games like the Cut The Rope series improve your problem solving skills. And indeed, it is quite a predicament! How can you lead a green blob of indeterminate species, with a voracious appetite, towards its much-coveted candy? Well, in this installment you can now transform into different animals to achieve your goal.

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2) Cooperative gameplay enables pro-social behavior

There was a study done in Texas Tech University, which found a link between positive social behavior and playing cooperative video games. John Velez, assistant professor of Journalism and Electronic Media in the College of Media & Communication, explains: “What we found was cooperative play seems to have the biggest effect in terms of decreasing aggression toward other people. Playing with a helpful partner increases the expectation of others to reciprocate that pro-social behavior and generally be helpful."


So, if you're looking for a great team-building activity, let your staff play a good round of MMO. Besides, you can’t lead your LoL or Dota teammates to victory if you don’t possess basic social skills. If you want your team to bond, put them in a situation where they can be destroyed and humiliated together by a bunch of strangers. Bottom line: You’ll be less of a dick if you learn how to play in a team whether virtually or IRL.

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Here are some recent multiplayer games that scream teamwork:

Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
This ain’t the same Plants Vs. Zombies tower defense game you used to play in between classes. This PVZ plays more like a kid-friendly version of Call of Duty but with an anthropomorphic Corn that shoots kernel and a zombie piloting a mech. In multiplayer mode, the tables are turned and you join Team Zombie as they try to defend themselves from an attack by Team Plants.

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LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Relive your favorite flicks from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in brick form. The game covers movies such as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Thor: The Dark World. The great thing about the LEGO game series is the drop-in, drop-out mechanic—meaning a Player 2 can join you in your journey and leave anytime.

3) Violent action games can improve your mood instantly but make you more aggro

In a study done by the University of Wisconsin, they learned that playing action-packed games competitively could cheer you up. These are our suggestions:

Street Fighter V
Thanks to the new V-Skill feature (which provides unique abilities per character) in the game, you’ll basically be on a level playing field with other people since everyone will need time to adjust to the new mechanic. Kick, punch, and grapple your way to virtual victory and let out all your real life frustrations.

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After all the effort put into defending our planet against aliens in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it was all for naught since they end up invading Earth anyway. You’re outnumbered, outgunned, out-everything, but hell if it doesn’t make for one hell of a savage tactical game.

A warning though: the same study also found links between violent video games and real-life aggression.

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“The findings suggest that video games can be used to manage negative emotions, but doing so with violent games might be problematic," the researchers explained. "If video games are going to be sought for emotional release, the authors recommend players seek out nonviolent games.”

Players may have increased aggression and view the world in a more hostile manner, according to Science Daily. So yes, you can brawl out your feelings competitively but just remember to differentiate between the real world and cyberspace. Play wisely and live nicely, guys. Peace out!


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