Cyber-psychologist Berni Goode talking about Flow on Charlie Brooker’s How Videogames Changed the World.
Flow is extremely important. So, so important.
It’s what keeps some people sane. It’s what drives the world’s most skilled and accomplished athletes, the most intense gamers, the hardcore hobbyists, even many of the most talented artists, musicians and actors - flow is what you get when unstoppable drive meets an unflinching will and unlimited dedication.
Flow is being utterly, truly “in the zone”. And it’s one of the most amazing feelings there is.
This is why finding a sport, or a hobby, or a martial art, or a handicraft, or a new video game, or any skill-based activity that uses focus and requires practice and repetition is so beneficial for things like depression and anxiety and overall mental/physical well-being.
Has anybody played Papers, Please? I’m pretty sure the opposite of this is going on.
Papers, Please is this recent indie game where you’re an immigration officer for a fictional 1980’s Soviet block nation, and the core gameplay is checking paperwork for errors or forgeries. That’s all you do. But there’s all this human misery and drama that comes with being a low level bureaucrat.
Each day, you get more and more nightmare paperwork to check through on an impossibly small desk, with an increasing amount of rules and regulations, and you’re on a strict time limit. You get paid a wage depending on how many people you process, or you can accept bribes, and this determines if you keep your family from starving or freezing to death. I’m at the point where I’m starting to have to humiliate people by strip searching them, and it’s so dehumanizing.
I don’t know about anybody else, but it’s pretty much one of the most emotionally tolling video games I’ve played. The pacing of this game is brutal, and my choices are starting to cause the whole system to close in around me. It’s sheer panic attack inducing. Definitely a unique and compelling experience but stressful as all hell.