Here we are, a revamped blog and a solid vision of what this is going to become. Welcome!
As you can probably tell from the title of this post (and my About me section), I like video games. The word ‘like’ is a bit of an understatement; I’ve been hopelessly in love with gaming ever since I got my hands on a hand-me-down Gameboy and a Super Mario Land cartridge. Over a decade and countless games later, the experience has not lost any of its magic, and while there will always be naysayers and frantic anti-gaming groups, let’s just take a moment to look at some of the positive effects of gaming and why it could actually be something we should encourage.
So why should you play video games?
1 | Because they’re not the root of all Evil
The psychological effect of violence in video games and notion that they are to blame for addiction are highly sensationalised in the media, most likely because it sells papers and gets page views. I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the people who report on this sort of thing in mass-media have hardly ever actually played games before – but of course I could be wrong. Parents and other concerned parties might read these articles and, backed by a lack of knowledge on the subject, are filled with a mix of outrage and blind panic. There have definitely been cases where addiction led to some tragic ends:
Terrible parents are terrible parents regardless of their propensity for playing games.
The bottom line is that people who are predisposed to violence or addiction will become violent or addicted to something regardless of whether or not they play video games. The link between increased violence and video games is questionable; a long-term study revealed a ‘correlation between falling youth violence and the popularity of violent games.’ Let’s face it – even the most stressful of Mondays can be softened by a few rounds of gaming, whatever the genre.
2 | Because it’s actually quite a social activity
While it’s worth mentioning that many video games are created with multiplayer/Player to Player experiences in mind, I’d like to focus on actual face-to-face interaction for the purposes of this post.
Contrary to popular belief, people who play video games aren’t pale, blob-type men with an overwhelming desire to stay indoors and forgo bathing from time to time. Simply having this one interest in common can make socialising and meeting new people a breeze; I actually met one of my oldest friends around 8 years ago by asking for help with Final Fantasy X.
3 | Because it’s actually good for you
Like many things in this life, moderation in gaming is key. Numerous studies have shown that playing age-appropriate games has a direct link to good cognitive development and other mental functions – here’s a quick look at some of the benefits associated with gaming:
- Cognitive Development – greater neural processing, help with pattern recognition
- Ability to handle failure – video games allow children to experience and cope with failure in a ‘safe’ environment
- Morality – games like Fallout 3 attribute good or bad ‘karma’ to certain actions in-game; this encourages the user to consider the impact of their actions and reinforces the fact that decisions carry weight
- Improved eyesight (yes, you read that correctly)
- Sharper problem-solving skills
- Better multi-tasking skills
So the next time you hit play on your favourite game, spare a moment to think about the impact it may have had on your life. You might be surprised.