The video games industry has risen recently to an extent where it can compete with the movies business in terms of annual earnings. However, despite this progress, this industry is criticized for many factors such as violence and popularizing the non-physical forms of play and entertainment. This essay is an attempt to demonstrate arguments against this popular belief along with addressing the areas in which video games can be found beneficial.
Video Games and Physical Activity
The association of video games with the lack of activity is widely spread due to some misleading concepts and stereotypes of the person playing a video game. This stereotype usually includes a teenager that is sitting in front of the television and spends hours and hours playing a video game. Usually, the image of this kid is either a demonstration of the rise of obesity or the opposite. Recent researches have found that there is no connection between video games and obesity or physical inactivity.
On contrary the video games can be used as a motivation to participate in real forms of sports, “playing sports video games seems to be associated with participation in real-life athletic activities” (Hayes, and Silberman).
In another proof of the video game industry popularizing sports is the fact that “the most popular video games are not war games or fighting games, but sports games. Of the 20 top-selling video games in 2006, nine were sports-related games, including Madden NFL 2006, NBA Live 2006, and MVP Baseball 2006″ These games can be used as a support to actual physical activities, in a sense that they provide historical backgrounds and information that imagining themselves as athletes and famous sports figures can encourage the players to take a step to play the game in reality,” 63 percent of 11- to 12-year-olds dream about being a sports star”. (Hayes and Silberman)
Video Games and Violence
In controversy to the previous statement as the sport video games are the most popular, therefore non-violent, it is used to believe that video games are popularizing violence.
In establishing the aforementioned belief many researches were used, where it says that there is “a causal link between playing violent video games and aggressive thoughts, interpretations, and/or behaviors” (Smith, Lachlan, and Tamborini)
As an analysis of the researches” statements various groups affected should be separated. If the previous statements concern all the population where “In fact, the average age of game players was 29 and the average age of buyers was 36, with men making up 59% of the paying audience.”(Reuters) then it should be said that the same rules that regulate violence in movies and TV programs should be applied. If applying the researchers’ statements to kids and teenagers who are indeed in a risk group, some precautions should be made.
The role for regulating the amount of violence is given to the parents who must control the content of the games that their kids are playing, and it should be added that in this case that their role is more important than the role of the rating associations in terms that the content of the games can vary. If this control is applied then the violence in the video games can be regulated on the same basis as the violence on TV and if the parents are not able to control what their kids are playing they “may financially control the acquisition of games, particularly for younger children.” (“Technology: Violence and Video Games” 173)
In violent issues that are not connected to children, it could be assumed that the violence in the video does not encourage people to have violent and aggressive behavior but on contrary, if this behavior has existed it is a safe way to “release the steam”. As viewed by Greg Costikyan, a designer of the board, simulation, and video games in a report to an online magazine “they’re (the players) satisfying their antisocial impulses in a completely harmless way.” (“Technology: Violence and Video Games” 173)
Benefits of Video Games
After starting against the so-called negative impacts of video games, it should be noted that there are parts in the views on the video games that believe that video games are beneficial.
The benefits of video games could be divided based on the overall performance gains and the implementation for educational purposes. In the overall gain sector it is believed that the video games that require dexterity, linear thinking, and that make other complex demands on coordination, eyes, and the brain as useful in the staving off of such progressive illnesses as Alzheimer’s. Other factors that could be mentioned in favor of the videogames are the development of quick reaction, memory training, motor skills, and elevation of esteem and motivation.
In a study made on one of the most popular games “Tetris” it was found that regular playing of the game for a month has decreased the glucose levels in terms that the brain has adapted to spending less energy to solve mental problems, thus was developed. (Johnson) In the learning sector, the implementation of various aspects of video games such as competency, puzzles, and elements of exploration can attract the student to study as this implementation meets the needs and learning styles of todays and future generations of students. “Computer video games are an emerging instructional medium offering strong degrees of cognitive efficiencies for experiential learning, team building, and greater understanding of abstract concepts.” (Rice)
In reviewing the arguments presented it is obvious that the negative impact of video games is arguable and controversial. Video games cannot substitute real sports and physical activities but it was proved that they can encourage people to do so. The violence in video games is overrated, although it has some impact on high-risk groups, therefore the role of the parents in controlling the content of the games is vital. In general, stating the benefits of video games, it should be outlined that video games if following regulations can be a good tool that mixes education with pleasure.
Hayes, Elisabeth, and Lauren Silberman. “Incorporating Video Games into Physical Education: Between Their Popularity and Their Efficient Delivery of Information, Video Games May Help to Enhance Students’ Motivation, Understanding, and Performance in Sports.” JOPERD–The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance 78.3 (2007): 18+.
“Survey: Video gamers getting older, heading online” Reuters (2004). Web.
Smith, Stacy L., Ken Lachlan, and Ron Tamborini. “Popular Video Games: Quantifying the Presentation of Violence and Its Context.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 47.1 (2003): 58+.
“Technology: Violence and Video Games.” Phi Delta Kappan 81.2 (1999): 173.
Rice, John W. “New Media Resistance: Barriers to Implementation of Computer Video Games in the Classroom.” Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 16.3 (2007): 249+.
Johnson, Steven. Your Brain on Video Games. 2005. Web.