Video games are not the childish, immature pastime they used to be just a couple of years ago. It’s a multi-billion industry, and the people who profit off of it are not limited to developers and company executives anymore. Being a gamer has become a profession of its own.
There are plenty of ways to make money while playing video games. Whether you’re a member of a competitive eSports team or you play your trade by streaming live gameplay videos on platforms like Twitch, you know that there is a lot to play for.
As most pros will tell you, you won’t get very far in your career as a gamer if you play down the importance of mental and physical comfort when playing games. Things like blood circulation and the state of your nervous system play an undeniable part in the quality of your gaming sessions. Every little detail matters, from the screen size to something as minute as the footrest on a gaming chair.
Staying comfortable doesn’t only impact your score. The lack of appropriate amenities and enduring prolonged periods of discomfort can be detrimental to your health. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or eyesight deterioration are very common amongst gamers, but they don’t really have to be. If you take the right precautions, you’ll be able to keep up the long sessions with any video game you’re currently into, without having to worry about it negatively impacting your health.
A Solid Chair is a Priority
Once you get to a certain skill level in a game, particularly competitive shooters like Counter-Strike or sports games, such as FIFA, you will have to spend a lot more time playing, if you want to maintain your reputation and ability.
Spending long hours on a wooden, dining table chair will almost definitely lead to poor posture and back problems in the future. You don’t see many pros hunched over a tiny screen on a chair that looks about as comfortable as a bed of nails. They’re using proper gaming chairs, and not only because they look really cool. The right chair can save you from a lot of immediate and long-term physical issues, especially if you are a PC gamer.
Sure, it’s way easier for the best pro gamers out there to go out and get a nice gaming chair, since they’re sponsored by a bunch of companies, including those that produce gaming equipment! But a solid chair doesn’t necessarily have to be a crippling expenditure. You can get a decent one for under $200 if you know where to look.
Do yourself a favor and invest in a chair as soon as possible. It’ll bring your game to a whole new level. Not to mention the heavenly comfort when compared to a regular, wooden chair with minimum back support.
Upgrade Your Gear
It mostly applies to those who play on their PCs, but console gamers could use some of these tips as well. The equipment you use to enjoy each and every game matters more than you may think. It’s not enough for it to simply work out of the box and not cause any framerate or performance issues. Your keyboard should have enough palm support to make sure that your wrist doesn’t get stiff from hovering over the ‘WASD’ keys all night. The same goes for your mousepad. If you can, you should even consider picking up a dedicated gaming mouse with additional buttons. They’re more ergonomic and can open up a lot of possibilities when playing.
Another often overlooked issue is the computer screen in relation to your eye level. You shouldn’t have to constantly look up or down to be able to see what’s going on in the game. It’s terrible for your spine and will make you feel even worse than a night of sleeping in an uncomfortable position. There is nothing enjoyable about constantly having a stiff neck.
Physical Activity Can Help Extend Your Sessions
Have you ever watched an esports tournament and wondered: why are all these guys so fit? Even to this day, when we think of professional gamers, we can’t help but visualize a chubby dude with a neckbeard, or a scrawny, pale kid with a serious vitamin D deficiency.
In fact, the complete opposite is the truth. Pros frequent the gym to stay sharp, not only in terms of their bodies but also when it comes to their minds. Exercise releases various endorphins that make you feel better about yourself and more able to focus for extended periods of time. Players who participate in the most prestigious tournaments on the planet often spend nearly as much time moving around as they do in front of their PCs.
While sports might not directly affect the game mechanics, they will help you perform by boosting your thought process and memory and eliminating negative thoughts that tend to be in the back of our minds. Depression, anxiety, and stress levels are all significantly reduced thanks to physical activity.
Don’t Overlook Mental Health
Even though the stigma surrounding mental health disorders is slowly, but surely being eradicated in modern society, some social circles may still be reluctant to discuss them in the open. The video game industry is one such community. Dominated by men and the group-think macho mentality, a lot of players struggling with mental issues feel like admitting their condition will be detrimental to or even end their careers.
In order to maintain maximum comfort when gaming, and to stay free of distractions, you should keep a tight check on your mental health. If you notice something that concerns you, find a good therapist and take it up with them. You don’t need to share all that with your in-game team members, but ignoring signs of deteriorating mental health will be far worse for your skill than a little bit of ridicule from your buddies.
As a professional gamer or someone who is just taking their first steps towards a career in this industry, taking appropriate measures to maximize your physical and mental comfort when playing is an absolute must. Once you do that, you’ll notice the gradual improvements in your skill, as well as the fun you’re taking out of the game.
Finally, don’t overlook the other aspects of your life outside of gaming. Exercise, healthy social life and a balanced diet all contribute to your mental condition, which needs to be in top shape if you dream of competing at the highest level.
Maciej Grzymkowski – an avid traveler with a particular affinity for Southeast Asia, mostly due to the sheer amount of technological innovation that comes out of there. I firmly believe in the power of open-source software and giving developers the recognition they deserve.