The more I heard what Dr McGonigal had to say, the more pieces pinged in my memory.
Stress relief? Health benefits? The first time I walked into the pixel streets of Lumbridge, I was suffering from nervous exhaustion in real life. My heart had enough of a murmur for extended tests to be conducted. I was crippled with panic attacks.
Runescape sorted all of that out. My heart's fine.
Society and community? When I was made redundant, it was a fellow gamer who gave me a job. He enjoyed reading my gaming blog and wanted to employ my writing skills for his company. This Wizzley article is dedicated to a man who met his wife in a MMORPG. In two week's time, I will be staying at the homes of two people whom I met gaming. This is all off the top of my head. Give me a moment to think and I'll be recounting such anecdotes all day.
In fact, I already did, when I wrote on Suite101 about parenting teenage gamers, and how parents miss the very real education opportunities eagerly grasped by their off-spring.
Urgent optimism? One of the things so often commented upon is my sheer stamina in writing. People can't get their heads around how I remain so motivated to write. Have they never read my Tips and Tricks articles? From the very first, I've been treating Wizzley like a gaming platform. I set my own levels and hiscores. I strive towards the goals of Editor's Choice Awards, higher readership figures, comments, likes and all the rest. I'm gaming! How can you not be optimistic when you're gaming?!
Epic meaning? Straight off the top of my head there's that moment with Skilla4Lyfe and his mission. Only level 3 combat, he could have been killed by any passing low level boss. He wanted to take on a high level, so to complete a difficult quest.
It should have been impossible. But there were between eight and twenty people, at any one time, escorting him through the mazes. We teamed together to clear this path, striving ever to see the impossible done. He finished his quest. We collectively cheered. Job done.
These are the same minds who, on a gaming forum, once saved a life. A player had indicated that she was going to suicide. No-one knew her real name, her location nor even the country in which she lived. But on the case were several hundred people used to taking on impossible odds and solving quests.
By the time they'd finished, her local police officers were paying a visit to her parents. Intervention came in the nick of time. Gamers NEVER let one of their own fail to level up. We defeat ALL the bosses, pixel or otherwise.
These are the minds forming a whole generation. These are the minds spear-heading the immediate future of the human race. At least they are in the countries with a massive gaming culture.