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‘Gaming and Me’ – new BBC documentary asks how do video games make us feel?

Gaming and Me: Connections, Identity and Support is a new documentary by Alvaro Alvarez recently released on BBC3 through iPlayer this week. It features video gamers from the UK detail the positive effect gaming has had on their mental health. 

We meet Abi, from Weston-Super-Mare, a gamer and cosplayer (pictured above) whose love for a The Last of Us, helped her become more in-tune with her own emotions, feelings and identity. Joe, an old school gamer from Glasgow, told us about how gaming helped him in coming to terms with his depression; and Elissa, from London, details how Animal Crossing made the lockdown much easier for her and her friends at university, providing the connection and sense of community they were missing. 

2020 has been an unprecedented year for all of us in many ways and so many people have used video games as a method of survival and escapism leading to huge spikes in console sales.

There has been an ongoing debate over video games and their effects on players’ mental health. Can they make us addicted? Are they a conduit to violent behaviour? Are these even the right questions to ask? 

Gaming and Me is a really refreshing documentary that looks at the positives of gaming. Through 2020 we saw that people were using video games as a positive effect to survive lockdown isolation and loneliness. The documentary shows how people use games to explore to explore their identity, to combat loneliness, and to recover from depression.

Games provide us with the ultimate form of entertainment and escape, but more and more we’re seeing people use them to address real world issues like depression and self-discovery in ways that the original game devs would never have thought of.

I particularly enjoyed the queer diversity shown in the documentary with Abi and her love for cosplay. There’s also a wider discussion about the growing impact and inclusion of diverse characters in games and how this is beneficial to the wider community.

We need more documentaries like Gaming and Me to not only celebrate the positives of video gaming, but also to show the breadth of people who play games.

Watch Gaming and Me: Connections, Identity and Support now on BBC iPlayer in the UK.

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