In the past few months, the sale of board games and tabletop games has rocketed by a staggering 240%. People are at home with more leisure time to spend on hobbies, and families in particular are turning to old-fashioned pursuits. Video gaming has also rocketed during the lockdown period by 75%. Roleplaying games (RPGs) have been particularly popular, plunging the gamer into new fantastical worlds. They are not only fantastic entertainment, they can also have a positive effect on your health and wellbeing.
Dungeons and Dragons
A study by Dr. Raffael Boccamazzo of the non-profit charity Take This found that Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) was particularly good for people struggling with anxiety. He worked with groups of teenagers helping to build their social skills. Where DnD comes into its own, is that it’s a collaborative way of creating stories and adventures. Players need to work together to create a world that is vibrant and exciting; it is only through good communication that they can do this. DnD is extremely successful at breaking down barriers between people so that they can work towards a shared goal. It brings people out of their shell, helping them to face anxieties head on and grow in confidence.
A whole new world
Whether you are playing a MMORPG, or a tabletop RPG, there is no denying that what RPGs provide you with is a healthy dose of unreality (unless of course you are playing Plague Inc, which is a bit too close to home at the moment). In a world that is rapidly changing, a little escapism can do an awful lot for your sense of wellbeing. Scientific studies have shown that playing games can help with stress and anxiety levels as well as leading to increased levels in productivity. What is even more exciting about RPGs is that the world that you are escaping to, is one that you can have control over. We can’t do anything about the news and the events that have been unfolding in real life, but with an RPG, you can change your characters, your environment, and the twists and turns in the story.
Gaming for pleasure
Ultimately, RPGs are just great fun and that is good for your health. When you play an RPG, it triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. This lowers your blood pressure, reducing stress and helps you to feel relaxed. Working towards goals in your game can also give you a sense of achievement, boosting your morale. In a time when so much is uncertain, having something to work towards is good for your health and wellbeing.
RPGs are not a form of procrastination — they are the ultimate in escapism. You can play as a cooperative, working with other people and building your social skills. You can play on your own, enjoying an amazing and fantastical world that you are creating. In times of lockdown and uncertainty, playing an RPG can transport you somewhere completely wonderful.