Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock and roll. (Week 7)

Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock and roll. – SHIGERU MIYAMOTO

Video games are a popular social medium in developed civilisations today. They are laced with exceptionally real characters, incredible graphics and plots which we can only dream of. Video games, like many other popular forms of entertainment, provide a way to escape from reality and become someone else; whether it be a gangster shooting hookers in Grand Theft Auto or an Alien hunter in Halo. The possibilities for video games are endless and are even becoming an important tool for educational purposes. My first video game…

However, narrowing down a favourite game is hard as I have been through various stages of my life in which I was obsessed with certain games. Pokemon, SSX,  Tamagotchi, Ray, Nintendogs, MarioKart, Frogger, Diner Dash, Feeding Frenzy, Star Surprise, Penguin Skate, NeoPets, The Crimson Room, various Barbie games, Guitar Hero and Lego World all featured up there for a while. I suppose you could same my favourite and most puzzling is “The Crimson Room.” The computer game is a strategy based game where you must find your way out of rooms by discovering clues and tools that will aid your escape. It’s difficult and requires the player to think creatively. I feel like rather than a “meaningless” game where you just kill or collect things or finish a quest, you are exercising strategic planning.

In the past, I could definitely have called my self a “gamer.” Someone who spends considerable time playing games for their own benefit or profit. I was obsessed and determined to finish every game. And would even play the games over and over again to achieve different and better results. This was satisfying in my success, but also very frustrating when I finished every game and had nothing left to achieve. The allure of each game was the impossibility and the challenge of the tasks. I keep calling it an “obsession” because I spent so much time playing these games. I was addicted. Every spare moment would be spent traversing the imaginative world’s that these games created for me. I would print out tips and cheats and discuss my progress with my friends. It was highly competitive and a phenomenon. Although I may have grown-out of this addiction and moved on to more engaging enterprises, my brother is still chained firmly in the realm of his video game obsession. Our family tries to understand how he can sit for hours on end completely enthralled by the screen without getting bored or restless. It is as if he shuts down and goes into his own world where real life has no meaning and time is irrelevant. But it is not just the game that attracts him. While it may be exciting to win the games and achieve the tasks, it’s the social element as well. My brother communicates with his friends and uses it in a similar way that I use instant messaging and phone communication. With the advanced platforms and capabilities of video games today, gamers are able to chat and type as if they would if they were to make a phone/video call. And they can do all this, amidst the action of the game.

At this stage of addiction, video games can have adverse affects on its users. Increased participation in online gaming realities diminishes users’ social skills and face-to-face communication skills. Most video games also require a motionless component- that is they use a controller whilst staying still to operate their on-screen character. This discourages children from partaking in physical exercise that will improve their health and wellbeing. However, there are some game consoles, like Wii, which are designed to encourage and include physical movements whilst playing.

I don’t think there is a definitive answer to whether video games are either good or bad. It really depends on the extent of the person’s invested time and the actual content of the game. For my essay I will be researching and exploring both sides of the argument about the benefits and adverse effects of video games.

Catch you later cats and kittens,

Anneleise xx

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