Video games, for me, have been the pastime of choice for my entire life. Ever since I was a little guy I have been glued to a screen of some type. I found the stories fascinating, the characters larger than life and the difficulty appealing. Here was another world (or worlds) I could get lost in and thoroughly enjoy myself. I may not be able to go on a wild quest of adventure with my companions in tow, but the person I played definitely could. Video games have done something for me that most other things in life could never do. Perhaps the most important thing out of it all: The games let me escape from the world around me completely for however short or long a period of time.
If I am stressed out, these games let me blow off steam in a way that I otherwise could not. They take my mental focus off what is causing me to panic and worry. I end up putting my entire thought process and focus onto playing the video game and trying to accomplish what it wants me to. Nothing else invades my mind and although I am completely absorbed by the game, my mind is at peace. Having only a singular thought in my mind and no others barging their way in is the closest I usually come to bliss.
When I am down, video games are there to help pick me back up. While I usually don't play games in a bad mood because I get angry quickly, it can definitely help blow off some steam. It's the singular thought process video games bring me coming around again to help level off my mood.
Hell, if I am in a good mood video games are even better. I can really dig deep into the story/game I am playing and enjoy it that much more. The same game I played unsuccessfully when I was in a irritable mood is now enjoyably successful.
One thing most people over look is that video games are increasing more social as technology develops. My favorite game is League of Legends. There are literally millions of people who play this game, and you have to communication and cooperate with everyone on your team to achieve victory. My friends and I are on Skype most of the time to achieve better communication. We chat about the game, how our days are going while waiting to play a game and share in the overall joys of the game together. Also, the social aspect helps lift people, including myself, out of bad moods. It's hard to stay grumpy when you have three or more people in a call on Skype trying to cheer you up.
So when you see your friend/child/spouse playing a video game, don't rag on them for it. It's not immature to find a positive way to relieve stress and the events of the day (except when playing to excess, of course). I'd much rather have my friend or child playing a video game than spending hour in front of the TV. Your brain has to be working harder at that game than droning through a TV series, right?