I heard a talk from Dr. Jane McGonigal about gaming and game mechanics. She is a game researcher and studies this stuff, but she said a line that stood out to me – games helps to make a better you. Seeing as I study identity, I was interested in that.
Games and gaming have the ability to make you feel better, and the idea is that if you feel better that you will become better.
The reason why Zynga does so well with Farmville and Words With Friends is that the game gives you a sense of fulfillment. That’s why you plant crops and create words with these tiles. Even when you lose or there’s some trash talking, it creates better relationships.
So go and play a game. Challenge someone in a game. Play with someone. Feel better and then become better, but only if you need it. I haven’t never played Farmville, but I play Words with Friends. Let me know if you need someone to play.