Video games are now one of the largest forms of entertainment in the world. Because they are so popular, it’s no surprise to hear about them in the news from time to time. Most of this news, however, is about the negative aspects of games. This is of interest to me, because I have played video games for over half my life now. So, to hear that the violence in video games has an influence on some violent crime that has happened comes as a shock to me. So, I began to think, maybe games don’t influence anyone to commit a crime, but that it’s the failure of someone in that criminal’s life to teach them right from wrong.
Furthermore, I began to think that people might benefit more from playing video games than not playing them. So, I did some research and the results seemed conclusive. People benefit from playing video games in many ways. One way that games can help people is that games can improve the functionality of a person’s brain. One noticeable impact is that games improve spatial awareness just as effectively as some university level classes are designed to do. The impact of this type comes from playing 3D shooter games in which the player controls an avatar, and they must survey the entire area of the game to outplay enemies, real and programmed. Another way that games improve the mind is that games can affect how people problem solve. Most people that play games try to solve problems by experimenting and using trial and error. Not only this, but games can also increase the ability of a person to solve problems without applying as much effort.
These skills all transfer to the real world as well, especially in STEM fields (this is good for me since I am majoring in Math and Computer Science). Not only can games have an impact on the mind itself, but they also affect a person’s state of mind. The first way that games affect the state of mind of someone is that they can be a source of motivation. Because of how many of the most popular games balance challenges in games with the sense of accomplishment that you get from completing, games can so that you want to keep playing them. In a sense, these challenges motivate you to keep playing. More than that, most people won’t complete a game without failing. Since no one enjoys failing, players will continue attempting the part of the game that they failed at until they either decide that it is impossible, or they finally find a way past it. This aspect of games motivates people in two ways. The first is that people can learn that they can accomplish almost anything if they work hard and persist long enough. The second is that people learn to see failure, not as a negative thing, but as a tool for learning. I’ve recognized the second aspect in myself in my university classes, because, if I made a mistake on an early exam, I normally learn from it and don’t make the same mistake on the final.
The second way that video games affect a person’s state of mind is more noticeable. That reason is that games promote positive emotions in a person. In fact, video games have been linked with improved mood, a more relaxed state of being, and reduced anxiety. I can identify these things in myself when I play games, and that even applies to the multiplayer games that I play where I consider many aspects of the game to be stressful. Even under the stressful situations that I can find myself in, such as having to play a round of a game in which your team is outnumbered, I find that I’m not negatively impacted. Instead, I accept the challenge knowing that the odds are against me and makes the feeling of happiness for winning that much stronger if I win. If I don’t win, I don’t get upset, because I had already accepted losing as a likely outcome.
Games also have a positive impact on the social lives of many people. Personally, I have befriended many people from different video games, and I still stay in contact with those people. Also, since many online games encourage the use of in-game voice chat, players learn how to cooperate with others and use their words more effectively. Furthermore, if a game requires many people to work together, it is very likely that a more experienced player will take a leadership role to help the less experienced. Thus, video games can improve leadership skills and encourage people to be helpful. Another way that games have a positive impact on people is as tools for education. In fact, many games have been created with teaching as their primary purpose.
Personally, I can remember how, in elementary school, we would go to the computer lab at least once a week to play games. The games were all based on a subject that we studied beforehand. Besides the games designed for learning, I can remember playing games that where I would have to solve a puzzle or answer a question right before I could go forward. Then, there are popular platforms for learning languages like Rosetta Stone that also contain minigames to help people learn. One more way that games are beneficial is that they help with treatments and recovery in the medical field. One of the more notable games in the medical field is Re-Mission. This is a game that is designed to help patients learn how to deal with their cancer treatments and the side effects of those treatments.
Also, there are other games that are created to help stroke victims learn how to use the part of their brain that was damaged again and improve their balance. The last benefits of video games are benefits for the creators more than the audience. Games, as a form of media, allow people to express views through the imaginary world. The views that are portrayed in games range from opinions on worldwide political movements to small scale personal choices. The large-scale views are normally the focus of the game while the personal choices define the outcome of the game. Furthermore, videogames are especially effective at presenting ideas because they provide narrative, like other sources of media, and require the interaction of the player, which means that the player can get a better sense of what the game creator is trying to express in the game’s story. Another, easily noticeable benefit of video games is that they create jobs. As videogames have become a larger source of entertainment, they have created many jobs in fields such as programming, graphic design, and music development. Thus, videogames have many benefits for both the players and the creators.
Also, I believe that the benefits of games outweigh the negatives, because the negatives are fixable. If parents and guardians would provide their kids with more counseling on what is right or wrong, most of the negative aspects of video games would be greatly diminished, and games wouldn’t receive as much negative attention in the news. If there were less negative views on video games, I believe that the gaming industry could grow and help spread these benefits to more people.