Playing Video Games Can Extend Your Life by 10 Years

According to video game designer, and two-time Ted speaker, Jane McGonigal, Playing Video Games Can Extend Your Life by 10 Years and they most certainly do. And not only does playing increase your life in the end, but in the mean time, playing improves your health, and increases your personal resilience, keeping you motivated, curious, optimistic, and able to tackle personal challenges with more ease than not.


I used to play my fair share of video games. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer but I’ve definitely gone through stages of focused and hard core video game playing. There was the old Atari system my brother and I would play while staying with my dad on the weekends while he slept off a hangover in the other room… and then came Nintendo, and I’d sneak into my brother’s room when he was gone and spend hours trying to beat Super Mario Bros. Then I went for a long period of time without gaming until I was about 24 when I became OBSESSED with playing a car racing game on the Xbox called Project Gotham, staying up all night trying to level up. Followed yet again by another few years without until the husband bought me a shiny new metallic pink Game Boy and I played every Sims game ever made. In 2008, the husband and I became addicted to Dance Dance Revolution and got so good at it we used it as a workout and stayed about 7lbs lighter in doing so. Rock Band with friends came soon after and online puzzle games here and there were always an option. And then of course the Nintendo wii was released and we all played it until the novelty wore off. And as excited as I was about the Xbox Connect, that wore off too.

But I haven’t really “gamed” for a few years now and the other night the husband asked me why I don’t play anymore, as he is still an avid gamer, and I said that it just felt like time wasted now. I said that now when I play I feel like I should be doing something else more productive instead.

About two days later, and by no mistake, the husband pulled up this Ted Talk which we watched on our TV {I love technology} by Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life and now it’s got me rethinking gameplay again in a whole new way.

You should really give it a watch when you have a moment… it is long, but so worth it.

Below are a few highlights I took from it if you don’t have time to watch it:

  • Parents who spend more time playing video games with their kids have much stronger real life relationships with them.
  • 30 minutes of online gameplay a day was enough to create dramatic boosts in mood and long teram increases in happiness, and outperformed pharmaceuticals for treating clinical anxiety and depression.
  • When we play a game, we tackle tough challenges with more creativity, more determination, more optimisim, and we’re more likely to reach out to others for help.
  • Shaking someone’s hand for at least 6 seconds dramatically raises the level of oxytocin in your blood stream, which is the trust hormone.
  • Build your emotional resilience. If you can manage to experience 3 positive emotions for every one negative emotion over the course of an hour, a day, a week, you dramatically improve your health and your ability to successfully tackle any problem you’re facing. It’s called the 3 to 1 positive emotion ratio and if you are REGULARLY achieving the 3 to 1 positive emotion ratio: if you are NEVER sitting still for more than an hour at a time, if you are reaching out to ONE person you care about every single day, if you are tackling tiny goals to boost your will power, you will live 10 years longer than everyone else.
  • And while of course you can do all of these things without games, games are a great vehicle to doing so.

Jane, through a traumatic event which almost forced her to take her own life, created the game SuperBetter to make her stronger physically and mentally, and it works for others too. SuperBetter is available on iTunes for $4.99

So yeah, while I’ve taken many of the tips into practice, I may just have to re-think my video game playing habits and make gaming a little more of a priority in my life again, at least once in a while, because clearly, playing does more good than we think.


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • T.

    September 11, 2013 |

    I’m not a gamer, but those are some great pieces of advice!

  • issa chou

    September 11, 2013 |

    GREAT article.. all those years of ‘gaming’ will have paid off..

    and where have i been right?? MIA blogger.

    -issa @

  • Alela Sirah

    September 11, 2013 |
  • Anonymous

    September 11, 2013 |

    If it’s true (And I’m not quite sure about that), the kids/teens around here should live to be 200! For myself, I would rather spend my time communicating/commenting/reading blog sites such as this wonderful one. Well, lots of luck, which is what we really can use now-a-days.

  • Jane Droll

    September 11, 2013 |

    does playing scrabble or dots count as gaming? those are pretty much the only kinds of gaming i do (with the occasional bet on horses or at vegas — lol)

  • Maegan Tintari

    September 12, 2013 |

    Drollgirl: I was wondering the same thing and thinking YES it must, especially if you’re playing with others, you’re using the same problem solving techniques, and resilience-building tools while playing anything I would think?

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