The Misconstrued Idea of Video Games

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

An essay I wrote in school a little while ago. Idk if it matters much, but I put a lot of care and research into it.

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English 10

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February 6, 2020

 

The Misconstrued Idea of Video Games

 

Ever since the creation of the wide-spreading phenomena of video games, media has created a narrative of hate to spite it, and some with good reason. Even though there are some bad, like all things, there are many positives to this ever-growing topic.  One of the biggest questions that come to mind when it comes to video games is if they cause violence in young adults and children, and the answer points to more than just one thing, even though people like to say the sole issue is video games. Although media shines a bad light on video games, portraying them as a threat of violence, video games have many overlaying benefits to society, providing much-needed help with social and physical issues in the community. The many benefits of video games span from physical exercise and the tackling of social issues that many teens have. Even though there is some violence in video games, there seems to be a large amount of exceeded proportions when talked about in the mainstream media.

As previously stated, video games have good aspects as well as bad ones. To understand the benefits there has to be some type of understanding of the unpleasant parts, especially ones documented by popular forms of media such as newsletters like USA Today. With the constant controversy video games have caused, if meant to or not, there are many swayed opinions on the safety of video games. The safety of video games have come into question since the concept of them has made it to the mainstream, but ever since the infamous shooting at Columbine, with one of the shooter’s past time of playing Call of Duty (a popular army game) coming to light, the questions grew intensely (Warnick). The questions, though justified, should not be asked in such a broad term, not all video games contain violence, just as not all movies are action films, different genres convey different meanings to the many different players playing them. There is scientific evidence in these beliefs though. A professor of psychological and brain sciences and associate dean of faculty for social sciences, Jay Hull, said: "Based on our findings, we feel it is clear that violent video gameplay is associated with subsequent increases in physical aggression." (USA Today). Many people would accept that conclusion, trusting the very trustworthy person in a field such as psychology, and even looking into it, you may find some evidence leaning to their side, but the situation isn’t in black and white. There’s more to it than violent games make you violent. A lot of people would test this mindset, but it seems adults already have their minds made up on this topic, with 65% of adults believing video games cause violence, the majority being people over 60 years old (Warnick). At this point, it doesn’t seem like there’s much good to video games. A wide majority of people would agree with that, but also previously said, to understand the benefits there has to be some type of understanding of the unpleasant parts, and as there are many unpleasant parts in video games, there are also many benefits that video games cause inside and outside of the virtual world.

There’s a wide range of benefits when it comes to video games if psychologically or physically, the picture of the average “gamer” has grown more diverse than being a shut-in, with 79% of men and 49% of women playing them, a person who plays video games can range from whoever in the world. Some games, like most games for the Nintendo Wii, require movement that provides more intense exercises than just random play out in the yard (Warnick). What some people fail to realize is that video games have changed over the years. Video games aren’t limited to an arcade machine where you have to stand in one place for an uncomfortably long amount of time, there is a new way to play, like Nintendo’s Wii, Xbox’s Kinect, and any game that’s VR (virtual reality). Games like Beat Saber, Superhot, and Boneworks are all games that are fun and story-filled, but also require intense movement from people who play. Another thing that people fail to realize is how much gamers want to give back to the community that they’re a part of. There are many charity organizations for video games (Warnick). If it’s The AbleGamers, Child’s Play, Gamers Outreach, or Games for Change there are many places where you can donate or have hands-on service with the people you feel need it. Even the most notifiable gamers on Youtube and Twitch, like Pewdiepie, Jacksepticeye, and Markiplier to name a few, do consistent charity work with places like St. Jude’s and the Make-a-Wish foundation. It’s not just people who want to stick out a hand to help others, but video games can be a more therapeutic way to help people. Chris Ferguson, Ph.D. a media researcher at Stetson University who studies video games has found in his studies that people who play games for fun are relieving stress and combating depression (Warnick). There can be a lot of cases of anger when you lose in video games but like a lot of things in the world, there are moments that’ll anger people. It’s all about the games you play. One game that has come in and out of popularity is one of the most famous games of all, Minecraft. Along with the beautiful soundtrack, Minecraft gives the player a safe and warm feeling playing alone or with friends, having fun adventures or building something to be proud of. There are also many challenging and competitive games that give kids a sense of competition without physical activity (Warnick). Wanting to be good at something and wanting to better yourself is a feeling that everyone has every once in a while, video games give that opportunity to the people who play, giving them practice, focus, and sense of accomplishment once they finally reach the top of the mountain, or hill depending on what they want to accomplish. Video games truly do get an unjustly bad reputation from the media, clumping them all together into one violent form of entertainment. Even if there are plenty of examples of violence in video games, the situation should be examined scientifically, not with such blatant bias.

Violence is a very present occurrence in video games, from cartoonish violence to more realistic forms of it. It’s the topic that pulls video games into the terrible spotlight that they currently stand under today. Some of the best-selling video games are shooters like Call of Duty or GTA V (USA Today). Games such as those bring forth a reasonable fear for children’s well being, not as much physically as is mentally. Video games are open to almost anybody in the world, making only a small paywall (or in some cases nothing) the only guard from them getting their hands on it. Once they get their hands on games like CoD or GTA is the only mark on what’ll happen to them. Some video games, and their contents, can make impressionable children do things they wouldn’t previously do (USA Today). Children are impressionable, that is an agreeable statement for all people, but impressionable children can still understand right from wrong when it comes to the subject of murder, stealing, etc. Any decent parent can tell their child that they shouldn’t attack people unjustly or steal, ensuring at least the child understands that it’s wrong. Along with this fear of what children are playing there’s also a fear of how long they’re playing. Video games have some addictive components in them (Jabr). A very common business ploy when it comes to the video game industry, mainly in mobile games, but still quite common in console and pc gaming, addictive components such as scoring systems, leaderboards, and almost all of the competitive aspects that many video games have makes players feel the need to better themselves and top the leaderboards. Putting it in that way, these components don’t sound that bad, and it’s not in comparison to the blame games take from them, but some people may not have the control to stop, having a dopamine-like effect that makes it harder to stop than others. Though it may be hard for parents to monitor kids from playing these types of video games, there are many parental controls in all systems nowadays that are easily accessible, and very helpful in stopping kids from staying on for too long. Violence in video games is a prominent issue that has been open to discussion for a long time, but besides the issues that video games have, there should be more discussion on what issues video games help fix.

Almost everything in the world has some use of good, diseases and viruses help make vaccine shots to cure them, the outcome of wars help pave the path for the future even if afterward it may seem bleak. Though viruses and wars are bigger issues in the world, video games hold that same use of good, helping in many aspects of life. Video games can provide meaningful activity for people with disabilities (Warnick). Organizations like the previously talked about AbleGamers organization provides specialized gaming support for the physically and mentally challenged, helping them be able to have fun in the real and virtual world. It’s not only disabled people that get helped with video games, but also students in the classroom. Some video games can play significant roles in the classroom (Mifsud). Games like Minecraft and Kahoot help students learn while having fun. With Minecraft’s rise to fame, they created an education mode, making it a fun learning experience for all ages. Having fun and exciting activities put into curriculums in school helps students want to work and learn, and it has shown great success in classrooms all around the world. Even though helping with education and the physically disabled is great and should be something talked about by the media, the help that video games give for the mental health of so many people is one thing that angers many about the backlash that video games get. Some people say that they wouldn’t have a social life if it wasn’t for video games (Ellis). Nowadays there are internet programs like discord and open online worlds that even people with crippling anxiety can talk to others comfortably. The age of solo gaming has died off years ago, and along with its death came a whole new world of possibilities. Anyone can make friends without feeling fear about themselves, without feeling self-conscious, because with all of these new applications they know they have something in common, and that is their shared love of video games.

So, do video games cause violence? Are video games a beacon of light that’s glowing hue casts good fortune for anyone who’s graced by its shine? The short answer is no. There’s so much more that goes into violence or even love of anything in the world, there can never really be an agreed-upon answer, but the unjustified hatred of this growing trend should stop. Though there may be issues inside certain games like violence, stealing, and terrorism, there lies a good side to video games. The people that were brought together, the people that were helped, the benefits that have affected many people’s lives for the better, there has to be more of a recognition of those parts of video games; because the blind hatred only holds back the people that may benefit from these parts. Media’s portrayal of video games may have some truth to them, but the constant stating of the same facts with little or no additions to the information has left many readers jaded, and from an avid video game player, it’s hurting them more than helping them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Ellis, Katie, and Kai-Ti Kao. "Who Gets to Play? Disability, Open Literacy, Gaming." Cultural Science Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, 2019, p. 111+. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A608278656/AONE?u=pl2181&sid=AONE&xid=f714cf9e. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

 

Jabr, Ferris. "Can You Really Be Addicted To Video Games?" The New York Times Magazine, 27 Oct. 2019, p. 37(L). Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A603897224/AONE?u=pl2181&sid=AONE&xid=19c023c3. Accessed 9 Jan. 2020.

 

Mifsud, Charles L., et al. "Attitudes towards and effects of the use of video games in classroom learning with specific reference to literacy attainment." Research in Education, Nov. 2013, p. 32+. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A367546092/AONE?u=pl2181&sid=AONE&xid=e1335797. Accessed 10 Jan. 2020.

 

"Video Games' Clear Link to Aggression." USA Today, Oct. 2019, p. 6. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A604316380/AONE?u=pl2181&sid=AONE&xid=05c7fcf0. Accessed 9 Jan. 2020.

 

Warnick, Aaron. "Video games and health: Sorting science from popular beliefs: Many believe games cause gun violence." The Nation's Health, Oct. 2019, p. 1+. Gale Academic Onefile, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A603632157/AONE?u=pl2181&sid=AONE&xid=8801cfd2. Accessed 14 Jan. 2020.

 


Submitted: March 31, 2020

© Copyright 2021 [Name Redacted]. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Celtic-Scribe63

A very detailed look into video games and how they are portrayed in media and how they can affect players.
I have been playing video games since they were invented, first arcade games, and then through consoles such as, Atari, Spectrum 48K 128K, commodore 64, PC, Sega Mega drive, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, 0ne. And I have to say that I have had many hours of fun and great memories playing all sorts of games, either on my lonesome, or with friends or online, such as Destiny. They have been a big part of my life and I feel they help with keeping your brain alert and hand and eye coordination.
And now with games becoming more interactive, they do help people with a little exercise, patting virtual balls about or boxing or even having dance offs.
Video games are here to stay. They will always have their knockers, and those that blame them for their own violent behaviour, just as movies and books and comic books have fallen victim to in the past. Such is Life.

Tue, March 31st, 2020 11:34am

Author
Reply

Thanks for commenting on another one of my writings! I agree 100% with you, nothing will really stop people from disliking it or grouping them together to make them all look bad. I don't have as much experience with video games (my first game system ever played being a Nintendo DS), but they do play a big role in my life, and I wanted to stick up for the industry a bit. Thanks for your input!

Tue, March 31st, 2020 11:44pm

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