Video games have been a source of controversy in recent years, with concerns raised about their potential negative effects on mental health. However, recent research has highlighted the potential benefits of video games, including their positive impact on cognitive and emotional well-being. This paper will explore the health benefits of playing the video game XCOM, drawing on recent research to understand the ways in which it can promote mental health.
The Benefits of XCOM for Mental Health
XCOM is a tactical role-playing game that involves players commanding a squad of soldiers to fight off an alien invasion. The game requires players to strategize and make complex decisions, promoting cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills (1). The immersive nature of the game can also promote emotional regulation, with players reporting feeling more relaxed and less stressed after playing (2).
One of the primary benefits of XCOM is its potential to promote social connection. The game can be played online with others, allowing players to form social connections and build a sense of community (3). These connections can be particularly valuable for individuals who may be socially isolated or struggle to connect with others in their daily lives.
Furthermore, the game can be a source of empowerment and self-esteem. Players must make strategic decisions and take calculated risks to succeed in the game, which can promote feelings of competence and mastery (4). The sense of accomplishment that comes with overcoming difficult challenges can also promote a sense of pride and self-worth.
Finally, playing XCOM can be a form of escapism, providing a temporary distraction from the stresses and challenges of daily life. This can be particularly valuable for individuals who may be struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
Implications for Mental Health
The potential benefits of XCOM for mental health are significant. By promoting cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation, social connection, and self-esteem, the game can help individuals develop coping skills and improve their overall well-being. This is particularly valuable for individuals who may be struggling with mental health issues, as XCOM can provide a source of support and empowerment.
Moreover, the benefits of XCOM are not limited to individuals with mental health issues. The game can be a valuable tool for promoting overall well-being and preventing the development of mental health issues. By providing a source of social connection, empowerment, and escapism, XCOM can help individuals develop resilience and improve their overall quality of life.
XCOM is a video game that can promote cognitive and emotional well-being, social connection, self-esteem, and empowerment. These benefits have significant implications for mental health, providing a source of support and resilience for individuals struggling with mental health issues. Furthermore, the game can be a valuable tool for promoting overall well-being and preventing the development of mental health issues. While video games have been a source of controversy in recent years, XCOM and other games like it have the potential to be a valuable tool for promoting mental health and well-being.
- Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American Psychologist, 69(1), 66-78.
- Riva, G., Wiederhold, B. K., & Cipresso, P. (2016). Psychology of virtual reality: Concepts, methods, and applications. Springer.
- Cole, H., & Griffiths, M. D. (2007). Social interactions in massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(4), 575-583.
- Ryan, R. M., Rigby, C. S., & Przybylski, A. (2006). The motivational pull of video games: A self-determination theory approach. Motivation and Emotion, 30(4), 344-360.
- Russoniello, C. V., O’Brien, K., & Parks, J. M. (2009). The effectiveness of casual video games in improving mood and decreasing stress. Journal of Cybertherapy and Rehabilitation, 2(1), 53-66.