Book Plunge: The Gaming Mind

What do I think of Alexander Kriss’s book published by The Experiment? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I listened to this book on Audible while I was often out walking. Kind of funny that I was listening to it that way since usually I would be playing Pokemon Go at the same time. Kriss is a psychologist and not only does he write about games, he’s an avid gamer himself, whether it’s a video game or even D&D with his friends.

When he’s with some of his staff at a mental institution, they talk about a patient who’s been administered and the lady bringing him in describes him as “One of those gamer guys.” Kriss, in I am sure a protocol breaking moment, asks “What games does he play?” Most of the people around the table were probably sure that gaming was the kid’s problem. Kriss instead sees it as part of the personality of the person he is dealing with.

Kriss then wants to know what games the person plays and why and often finds clues to how they interact with people in that. I was sure I was going to enjoy this book when I heard the first chapter was called “Me, You, and Silent Hill 2.”. I have never played the Silent Hill games, but I have heard enough about them that I recognized much of what Kriss said.

He talks about also a topic that seems to be popular today of gaming addiction. Sometimes, it seems like it’s an obvious case. What about the lady who never played games at all really and could not stop playing Candy Crush? Most people would try to break the addiction, but Kriss decides to study her more and then they find out why she plays so much, find a much deeper solution, and she now plays the game still, but not to the obsessive length she did before. The underlying issue has been dealt with.

What about the boy who plays Minecraft constantly? As it turns out, Kriss didn’t take his side or his mother’s side, but eventually got to the point where the mother learned to understand what the child was doing in Minecraft and it led to such great conversations that the talks are now called the Minecraft Moments. Had gaming just been seen as a problem, this would never have happened.

Throughout the book, many issues are dealt with such as kids not being social due to video games or anything of that sort. What about the possibility of kids turning violent because of video games? Many of us know that this is really nonsense, but too many still think there’s a lot of truth to it.

As a gamer myself, I saw a lot of valuable insight in this and I’m still mulling over it. Why is it that RPGs tend to be my favorite type of game or why while I played several Mario games growing up, Link was the main hero I gravitated towards? Why is it that even as a Seminarian, gaming is still a major part of my life?

One great aspect of it definitely is the social aspect. I have friends I play Final Fantasy XIV with and when I had my first get together with students here, it involved playing video games. We played some Uno after, but we definitely played video games. These are bonders and as someone on the spectrum, I wonder if I would have made any friends growing up without the connection of games? I even think my being in seminary is a result of that as I see it as a part of the battle of good and evil.

If you are interested in gaming, I recommend that you get this book. If you are a parent of a child and you are concerned, I recommend this as well. Basically, if you love games or love someone who does, this is a great read to get. You can order it here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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