With the recent release of Grand Theft Auto V made by Rockstar North, video gaming has come under a lot of criticism and scrutiny. Games like GTA V have been blamed for violent thoughts and tendencies manifesting their way into “innocent” children. These games have also been brought up in recent cases where children have committed murders and other cruel acts.
The media will always look for a scapegoat and video games have always been an easy target. What’s odd is that they didn’t think about the possibility that these children might have ALREADY been considered as violent before they ever played a video game. What about them ignoring the fact that video games ALL have age ratings? When will someone ask the parents why they let their child play an 18 rated game? How about questioning where a child got their hands on a gun before they shot someone? NOPE, the media and so called experts say “let’s all point our dirty fingers at the video gaming industry and ask them why they make such violent games”. I’ve discussed all of this with most of my friends so I thought I’d post something to focus on some of the more positive aspects of video gaming and deliver some justice!
Games like the Assassins Creed series have taught me about history better than any teacher ever did (sorry Miss Hyatt). Playing through these games, I learnt about the Third Crusade in Jerusalem, the Renaissance in Italy and the American Revolution. There are of course many fictional elements to these games but you do learn a lot about important characters that actually existed in real life. Leonardo Da Vinci was much more than a painter and you get to see that first hand. Tell a friend to read a book or watch a documentary related to these topics and it’s more than likely they won’t. Instead, tell them to play one of the AC games and they’ll get an indirect history lesson along with the experience!
Problem solving and creativity
I’ve lost count at the amount of times I’ve had to rack my brain trying to figure out things in a video game. Many games have various elements that the user must combine to get a result. This could include making use of different gadgets to hack a security system or completing puzzles. I can honestly say that the only reason I can solve problems in real life (and quickly) is because I spent so much time playing thought provoking games as a child.
Role Playing Games (RPGs) such as the Fallout and Mass Effect series require the player to create their own customised character with unique skills, looks and personality. Depending on the players creativity, even the outcomes in the games story can be altered. Games like the WWE 2K series allow players create their own championship belts, wrestlers, moves, arenas, storylines and entrances. The possibilities are endless.
Stress relief and depression
There are many ways to relieve yourself of stress….. -_- …… yes, that AND playing video games of which the latter you can actually discuss afterwards without being embarrassed! Many games with compelling storylines can make you forget, at least temporarily, about the troubles of life. Also, studies have shown video games can help people cope with depression. It has always been my solution when I’ve felt down so maybe more people should try it out!
Hand-eye coordination, reactions and concentration
When I was younger, I always wondered why my parents found it so difficult when they tried to play any of my games. Even if it was a basic game which required only one or two buttons to play, they still couldn’t do it properly. It all comes down to hand-eye coordination. The fact that gamers can play using a controller while constantly looking looking a TV screen means they have well developed hand-eye coordination.
In terms of improving reactions, many modern games such as FIFA don’t give you much time to make a decision. If you wait too long to make a vital pass, you will most likely lose possession. It’s impossible to play games like this without improving your reaction speeds.
Gamers can stay focused on a single game for hours (or days but that isn’t healthy) which of course, requires a high level of concentration. Many children suffer from ADHD so giving them access to video games could help with their progress. Autistic children have also benefitted from playing video games and it can often be one of the very few things they feel comfortable doing.
Online community and interactivity worldwide
Some people prefer to remain indoors rather than going out to socialise. Some lack confidence or are too anxious to interact with people face to face. If you put a headset and a controller in the hands of one of these people, their social lives could be drastically improved. They’ll be able to speak to people about games they enjoy and play together (competitively or cooperatively). That being said, there are many trolls on the internet who aim to torment the online gaming community but that’s not to say it’s impossible for someone to make genuine friends through gaming.
People can also play with anyone around the globe so it’s pretty impressive stuff. I’ll never get bored of getting my ass handed to me by Chinese Tekken players, that’s for sure
Many online shooters such as the Call of Duty and Battlefield series demand successful teamwork to gain advantages in many online game modes. This all helps develop communication skills which are vital in most elements of real life. If someone can work really well with a random group of strangers which playing a shooter, those skills will most definitely pass over at school or work.