Why Are Gamers So Enthusiastic?


Whether they play video games, tabletop role-playing games, skill-based card games or sports, gamers love to compete, practice and learn new strategies. This is a passion shared by people from all walks of life. While gaming can be a great way to meet new friends and socialize, it can also be a huge time waster, draining energy and productivity, and even lead to addiction. But why do so many people find the motivation to game? Pyschology and Cognitive Neuroscience PhD graduate and Outschool Teacher, Dr Steph Acaster, explores the psychology behind gaming.

Almost everyone has played a game at one point in their lives, from traditional Tetris puzzles to modern fantasy and action adventure titles. These games have become increasingly popular in the last decade, with some achieving critical acclaim for their immersive storylines, diverse characters and innovative gameplay.

Gamers have been shown to exhibit better problem-solving skills than non-gamers, which is due to the way in which gaming encourages pattern recognition and inductive reasoning. The ability to quickly analyze a situation, create and test hypotheses, and work through the process of solving a puzzle can be a useful skill in real-world situations, says University of Wisconsin-Madison professor James Paul Gee.

In addition to improved problem-solving, gaming can improve physical health by teaching players to think strategically and act faster on the fly. This is especially true for video gamers, who are known to have faster reaction times than non-gamers. They also have better impulse control, a result of the way their brains are wired to respond to stimuli.

While some people might be tempted to view video gaming as a waste of time, research suggests that gamers are actually more productive than non-gamers, and spend less money on their hobby than other leisure activities such as movies. Moreover, gamers are generally in good mental health and have higher self-esteem than non-gamers.

According to Bartle’s gamer taxonomy, there are four types of gamers: Enthusiasts, Casuals, Esports participants, and Heavy Gamers. The Enthusiast persona prefers exploring detailed, expansive game worlds over high-score chasing, with storytelling and tactical/strategy games taking second and third place. They also put a high value on the community aspect of gaming, citing Steam communities and discussing game content as a significant part of their identity. This persona also puts a lower value on the latest tech, as they see gaming as an affordable hobby that doesn’t require expensive equipment to enjoy. This is a stark contrast to the Heavy Gamers, who prioritize high-end gaming devices.