Can Playing Games Together Improve Your Collaborative Relationship?
Thanks in part to the rise of mobile gaming, many people think of all games as solo activities. And yet the truth is that over time, the social benefits of games of all kinds have only become clearer. There was a fascinating infographic put out by Forbes a few years ago in which 44% of gamers said that the top benefit from games is “emotional well being.” Furthermore, 66% said they’d made up to five friends through games, and 37% said they’d made more than that! These numbers paint a very different picture than the standard image of the individual, face-to-screen gamer. Even so, the social benefits just alluded to still concern individuals. That is to say, it is individuals who are benefiting socially from playing games, in most cases. But this raises an intriguing question: Might certain types of games (video game or otherwise) also be able to benefit you and your significant other as a collaboration? Could you in fact improve your collaborative relationship by participating in games together? To our knowledge, this is not something that has been specifically studied in any meaningful way. However, there are some examples of games we can think of that would seem to match well with the concept. Simulation Video Games Simulations have become a fairly wide-ranging category in the video game world. TechRadar.com recently looked at some of the best games in the category as of this year, and managed to highlight a train-driving experience (Train Sim World), a farming game (Farming Simulator 19), a competitive racing challenge (Assetto Corsa), and more. They’re very different games, but what they share is that they challenge players to make something work. Sim games are essentially about living out artificial expertise and careers through games, and frankly it’s hard to think of a more interesting thing to try as a collaborative exercise! Taking on a “sim” or “second life” game as a couple is a nice challenge to see just how well you work together. Pictionary Outside of the video game world, Pictionary is a specific, perfect example of another game worth trying. Essentially a board game version of charades, Pictionary challenges two partners to draw and interpret objects for one another. It’s playful, and by no means are we suggesting that a couple struggling at Pictionary will fail to collaborate in other walks of life. Even so however, Pictionary can certainly spark improvement! Even in a playful setting full of laughs, making it through rounds of Pictionary can help two people to better understand each other’s tendencies and non-verbal cues. Poker Poker is another game typically thought of as a solo experience, but which makes for an interesting team challenge, so to speak. This is because most of the factors that drive success in this game are actually psychological, rather than necessarily tactical. A guide on Poker.org states that learning how to win at poker mostly means learning to limit betting exposure, accept defeats, stay grounded after victories, and read other players. These are all mental exercises, and going through them as a team could be surprisingly intimate. When you and a partner are on the same page in what is largely a game of psychology, it’s safe to say there is some strong collaboration at hand. Minecraft Back to video games, Minecraft — perhaps the most popular game of the last five or ten years — is also a very intriguing option! This is a game of boundless creativity, and one that people can play together from different devices and over distance. This alone makes for a fascinating collaborative project. Building something in Minecraft with a significant other — be it a sprawling, ongoing creation or a specific project — could be construed as a way of developing unspoken chemistry. Understanding a creative project over time and distance without actually doing much in-person collaboration speaks to a sort of undefined closeness between minds. Ultimately, developing Collaborative Awareness is about getting to know your we as a pair. This is done by developing continuous feedback loops and practicing non-verbal communication and comprehension. And when you think of it all in this fashion, there’s very real potential for certain games like the ones discussed above to become useful tools.