Video games are always a target for controversy, especially on the 24-hour news networks. When Fox News is short on “Obama bad, Mitt Romney good” stories, they bring in some hack who’s done a study claiming a negative effect of video games on our youth. Then they bring some guy, who always looks like a hippie, who fails to present the counter-argument. Allow me to act the way this “hippie” should for a moment.
Video games have often been pointed at for being too violent and causing people to murder. Not only is this idea unproven, it hinders the overall perception of games. Whoever “reports” this idea has absolutely no journalistic integrity. It is simply meant to shock and scare the public to make hasty parenting decisions.
What video games do, however, is increase hand-eye coordination, and quicken reaction time in players. According to Wired.com, the military uses a simulator close to “Call of Duty” to help train recruits, and some more progressive nursing homes made the investment to add a Nintendo Wii to help with rehabilitation, according to MSNBC.
Another misconception about gaming is how it promotes people to be anti-social. Sure, there are those 350-pound 40-year-olds surrounded by week-old pizza boxes and Red Bull cans playing “World of Warcraft” 15 hours a day from their mom’s basement. But they are a small percentage compared to the online multiplayer crowd. Many people might play for only a couple days a week or maybe a couple hours a day, but the truth is, it is a way to communicate with players from around the world.
There are also people out there who think games are immature and a waste of time. As far as games being immature, most studies and polls show the average video gamer is always over 30. I don’t know about you, but 30 seems like a pretty mature age to me.
As far as being a waste of time, you could make the argument that everything entertainment-wise such as movies, music, and books are also a “waste of time” because they are just entertaining you. The fact is, all these forms of entertainment are an escape from reality and help relieve stress. And video games are the most immersive form of entertainment, making them the most effective form of escapism.
Although there are many ignorant reporters and news outlets out there, hopefully with more casual gamers joining in on the fun, there will be less pessimism towards gaming in the future.