Some might see this as probably pathetic, but something so simple can change your life completely.
When I was a kid, I used to hang out with my mates, used to be great until some new kids moved just around the block which kind of stirred up the atmosphere.
They were alright to begin with, but as we all got older, silly little things like knock door run, turned into stealing stuff from shops, vandalizing stuff in stores and just being an a***hole. I'm a nice person, I wouldn't hurt someone or steal from someone, but at a young age with people a bit older than me pressure you into doing stuff. I was caught stealing from a shop, I felt embarrassed, ashamed and scared to think what my parents might do if they had found out. I always feel guilty if I know I am in the wrong. My "friends" just laughed about it, comments were spread around and I didn't want it to get back to my parents. I had to man up and tell me parents what I had done because it would just make me feel sick.
They grounded me for several months and that's when I started playing video games a lot more. After those months, I chose to just keep playing.
I think if I hadn't gotten caught, told my parents, gotten grounded and chose to keep playing games, my life would be different to what it is now. Hell, I chose my career based on video games as a kid and I'm actually working towards it now.
I'm 21 right now, I study hard, work part time and I feel I am progressing.
The people I used to hang out with are like 24 I think, one works at Asda and has been since he was about 18. One I think is unemployed, used to be a tattoo artist, but stopped. He hangs out with the wrong kind of people. Another, pretty sure I heard just lounges around and smokes dope. The other one I heard isn't doing too bad. He wasn't a bad person to be honest and was again, influenced by the others.
As a whole, they have helped me get through some tough times mentally. They are great escapism, and excellent for blowing off some steam. When very little else has touched it, games have helped with depression-- at the very least, they are good for helping me not dwell on negative stuff in life.
I'm pretty sure they have also helped me be better at paying attention to little details and problem solving. Perhaps my reflexes are also better because of them.