Is it good or bad?
A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device. Video games are mainly divided in the genres of action, adventures, role-playing, simulation, sports & strategy. The most used media of video games are PC, Playstation, XBOX, Wii & DS.
The origin of video games lies in early cathode ray tube-based missile defense systems in the late 1940s. These programs were later adapted into other simple games during the 1950s. The first commercially viable video game was Computer Space in 1971. But these are the era of 2D. But in May 5, 1992 the 3D era of video games start with Wolfenstein 3D. Since then, video games are rising to the top as an very important media of entertainment. You can find video games everywhere nowadays; they are in nearly every child's home in one way or another, you can find them on mobiles, arcades, Digital TV, portable games consoles and of course normal games consoles.
Screenshot of the 1985 arcade game Super Mario Bros, one of the most popular game of all time
Video and computer games, like many popular, entertaining and addicting kid activities, are looked down upon by many parents as time-wasters, and worse, parents think that these games rot the brain. Also, violent video games are readily blamed by the media and some experts as the reason why some youth become violent or commit extreme anti-social behavior. But many scientists and psychologists find that video games actually have many benefits – the main one being making kids smart. Video games may actually teach kids high-level thinking skills that they will need in the future.
Below are the benefits and harmful effects of video games, according to some experts:
Good Effects of Video Games
- Playing video games involves problem solving, planning, estimation and analysis of the moves or actions of both you and your opponent. This affects the player positively by developing in him/her problem-solving skills, analytical and estimation skills and quick decision-making.
A puzzle solving adventure game Tomb Raider Anniversary, with one of the most popular video game character ever, Lara Croft
- Many computer games encourage hand-eye co-ordination.
- Video games give child’s brain a real workout. In many video games, the skills required to win involve abstract and high level thinking. These skills are not even taught at school.
- They are a healthy way to release stress and anger accumulated over the day.
- They improve visual perception (spatial awareness).
- They are interactive, so players feel more in control.
- They set problems to which children have to find solutions. This is training for later life.
- Video games promote attention to details, (such as clues, memorising, sequencing and using strategies.
- In shooting video games, the character may be running and shooting at the same time. This requires the real-world player to keep track of the position of the character, where he/she is heading, their speed, where the gun is aiming, if the gunfire is hitting the enemy, and so on. All these factors need to be taken into account, and then the player must then coordinate the brain's interpretation and reaction with the movement in their hands and fingertips. This process requires a great deal of eye-hand coordination and visual-spatial ability to be successful. Research also suggests that people can learn iconic, spatial, and visual attention skills from video games. There have been even studies with adults showing that experience with video games is related to better surgical skills. Also, a reason given by experts as to why fighter pilots of today are more skillful is that this generation’s pilots are being weaned on video games.
One of the first person shooting game Medal of Honor: Airborne
- The player learn to manage resources that are limited, and decide the best use of resources, the same way as in real life. This skill is honed in strategy games such as SimCity, Age of Empires, and Railroad Tycoon.
- In strategy games, for instance, while developing a city, an unexpected surprise like an enemy might emerge. This forces the player to be flexible and quickly change tactics.
- Sometimes the player does quick thinking, making fast analysis and decisions almost every second of the game giving the brain a real workout.
- Young gamers force themselves to read to get instructions, follow storylines of games, and get information from the game texts. Also, using math skills is important to win in many games that involves quantitative analysis like managing resources.
World of Warcraft where everyone must read the instructions
- In higher levels of a game, players usually fail the first time around, but they keep on trying until they succeed and move on to the next level. This helps to build perseverance.
- Playing a video game is similar to working through a science problem. Like students in a laboratory, gamers must come up with a hypothesis. For example, players in some games constantly try out combinations of weapons and powers to use to defeat an enemy. If one does not work, they change hypothesis and try the next one. Video games are goal-driven experiences.
- Gamers use in-game maps or build maps on their heads to navigate around virtual worlds.
In-game map from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Many games are played online and involve cooperation with other online players in order to win. This helps to build teamwork and cooperation with others.
- The most well known simulations are flight simulators, which attempt to mimic the reality of flying a plane. All of the controls, including airspeed, wing angles, altimeter, and so on, are displayed for the player, as well as a visual representation of the world, and are updated in real time.
Microsoft Flight simulator plane similar to real life
- Video games make learning fun. Kid's like games because of the colors, the animation, the eye candy, as well as the interactivity and the challenge and the rewards of winning. The best way to learn is when the learner is having fun at the same time. That’s why video games are natural teachers.
- Video games increase player’s self-confidence and self-esteem as he masters games. In many games, the levels of difficulty are adjustable. As a beginner, players begins at the easy level and by constant practicing and slowly building skills, he becomes confident in handling more difficult challenges. Since the cost of failure is lower, he does not fear making mistakes. He takes more risks and explores more. Players can transfer this attitude to real life.
- Violent video games may act as a release of pent-up aggression and frustration of your kid. When player's vents his frustration and anger in his game, this diffuses his stress. Games can provide a positive aggression outlet the same way as football and other violent sports.
- Video games can cure the need to wear glasses, and this can lower suicide rates by 1%.
Nottingham Trent University professor Mark Griffiths says that video games can prove to be a distraction for those undergoing painful cancer treatments. In a study conducted in 2004 by Butch Rosser, a surgeon of Laparoscopy, he studied the surgical skills of surgeons playing video games and surgeons who did not. It was astonishing to know from the results that surgeons playing video games were faster in action and made lesser mistakes during work than those who did not play video games. There are careers building around video gaming. We have programmers working as video game testers and game designers. Those conversant with video games have an edge over those unaware of video games. Video games that include simulation of real world scenarios are becoming popular. The United States has launched a game called America’s Army, which reproduces a real wartime experience. It is going to help train the new recruits.
Bad Effects of Video Games
- Video games can affect many different skills. E.g. sports, music and art..
- If played constantly, video games may affect performances in study.
- Games can confuse reality and fantasy.
- Too much video game playing makes players socially isolated.
- Some video games teach kids the wrong values. Violent behavior, vengeance and aggression are rewarded.
- Video games may also have bad effects on some children’s health, including obesity, video-induced seizures. and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, carpal tunnel syndrome.
- When playing online, players can pick up bad language and behavior from other people
The video games are taking only a few bad effects where there are a lot of good effects.
So as there are only a few bad effects of video games while there are a lot of good effects we should look at it as a blessing of modern science. This media of recreation is getting bigger day by day. There's a lot of employment created as peoples starts to take it as an occupation. In both ways, by playing & making video games people can earn a lot of money. Research shows that sometimes making video games earns a lot more money than making a film.
Its time we begin looking at video games in the right perspective. It is important that we realize the positive effects of video games. We need to become aware of how can video games have a positive impact on human's development.
Note: Few of this I write my own. But to fulfill this, I collected few data from Various Websites including wikipedia, gamespot. I also collect some from few game journalist, game analyst/researcher. Here are few sources & references I took help from.
- Anderson, C. A., & Dill, K. E. (2000). Video games and aggressive thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the laboratory and in life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 772-790.
- Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of violent games on aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and prosocial behavior: A meta-analytical review of the scientific literature. Psychological Science, 12, 353-359.
- Wiegman, O., & Schie, E. G. M. v. (1998). Video game playing and its relations with aggressive and prosocial behavior. British Journal of Social Psychology, 37, 367-378.
- Dietz, T. L. (1998). An examination of violence and gender role portrayals in video games: Implications for gender socialization and aggressive behavior. Sex Roles, 38(5-6), 425-443.
And a very special thanks to -UnseeeN- for providing some useful images.