Gambling and gaming and stocks and bonds: The (mental) health perspective

What do you think of gaming, of gambing, of investing in stocks or bonds?

The first aspect is likely that of money, you can lose money with gambling, or win money, you can win and lose money with stocks and bonds, and with most games you can’t win but you do ‘lose’ money that you pay to buy the game, or that you use to buy upgrades such as ‘gold’ in strategic exploration games such as “World of warcraft” which is described as a multiplayer online role playing game but as you need to gather items and gain powers. That doesn’t seem interesting to me, though exploration can be fun for me, as it was when playing the early games in the Tomb raider series. But it includes the drudgery of work by need to make money via means such as gold farming. And thus people began to mine and sell that to other players which is possible via the in-game mechanics for that. Did the game developers foresee what would happen? I saw many advertisements for ‘gold’ for this game everywhere, but I did not play it. It was even being placed on ebay in listings in places where it didn’t belong, polluting the listings of ‘sor sale’ ads in categories where they didn’t belong and thus annoying people. In other words, such players were spamming sites with their messages and offers.

Now think about what players feel when playing such games: Without putting in money, it is frustrating, it may take a very long time to gather money and powers so that you can do what you want to do. This was not new, it was already a type of gameplay that existed long ago, in multi player and even in single player games. In the game Elite (1984, first released for the BBC micro) for example, you needed to trade, buy buying goods on one planet, fly to another planet, and sell it there for a higher price. That the prices were higher on that other planet is something that you could deduce from the type of civilisation that that planet was stated to be in the on-board encyclopedia of planets. This was a little bit of a bore but not too much, with some work you could quickly gather good equipment and make more money quickly to go to your objective, which was not money, but to reach the status of ‘Elite’. Here you could lose money/cargo, get attacked by the police when carrying contraband, which is all very similar to what the game mechanics of ‘World of warcraft’, with the main difference being that there is an end goal, and that it is not a multi player game.

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Now look at arcade games and action games on phones, and on some websites. The games Tetris and 2048 for example. These are in some way addictive, but to me also annoying. I had played it a few times before on a unix machine where I didn’t really play more than a few times. But later I played Tetris a bit more on relative’s handheld game to see if I could improve on that score. I could and I did, but I really didn’t like this game, there was not fun in it for me, the only reason to play was the challenge to get the highest score.. What I did then was to never play it again. 2048 is similar in being annoying, here because although you can devise strategies, there are always crucial moments where randomness can give a bad outcome such that the game is essentially over almost immediately due to the difficulties a badly placed new number gives.

Arcade games can be addictive but I feel games like Tetris and 2048 are far more so, and at the same time annoying. Too much playing can affect how you sleep too, you could dream about movement patterns with all such games, for example.

With gambling the only issue is feeling bad after losing, and the positive obviously feeling good after winning. You can do that in a casino, in a local pub or cafe at a machine, or go on the web to casino websites or best sports betting sites such as vibrabet (if you want to have a look at such a site, be careful that you only spend money that you can afford to lose!).

With stocks your mental health can be affected in times of a stock value depression. Will they go up again, will they stay low? You can never tell in some areas, it can take decades for stocks to go back up to their level, and so gambling in the stock market is something I would not do as you could be worrying or just thinking a lot about it for a long time.

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