Accessing flow states through Pac-man and juggling

Pac-man

Pac-man (By Gerardvschip at en.wikipedia CC-BY-SA-2.5, from Wikimedia Commons)

Reporter Joshuah Bearman talked to gaming gurus Walter Day and Dwayne Richard for his Harper’s piece about competitive video game players, and describes flow states they sometimes enter when they’re playing. It’s a feeling you’ll probably experience when you’re learning how to juggle 3 balls.

True quests, he (Walter) says, are about losing oneself, which in the end is finding oneself. “Top gamers have yogic concentration,” he says, “combining utter focus with extreme relaxation, like what I’ve studied with the Maharishi.” Walter says the players, like all great athletes, can enter flow states when navigating Pac-Man or marathoning on games like Nibbler. And many players do in fact report moments, deep into the hours, when everything but the game recedes. “It’s happened to me many times,” Dwayne says. “It’s like you have some kind of automatic comprehension.”

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