Video games have become more popular in the last 20 years that former U.S. President Obama allocated $10 million for research on video games (Obama & Biden, 2013). It appeals to anyone from teenagers to adults. With different types of games being published each year, everyone can easily find a game to synergize with. Video games have a great variety of advantages and can be useful or life-altering. This paper will discuss how playing video games can help with one’s well-being and social life. There are some disagreements which the paper will also talk about. The aim of this paper is to show people how video games can be beneficial to people and why is it related to everyone.
Firstly, video games are a source of learning. It is true that some play to retreat their mind in a distant world, like in the past. Therefore, games like Age of Empires which allows players to go back 2000 years and play king, meaning that players can interact with fragments of history. A study shows that the players of a history-themed video game can enable the players to ponder history just like a professional historian and increase their historical knowledge as a buff (Chapman, 2016). Some open-world games like Assassin’s Creed allow players to interact with the game world and the narrative, which means the story ending of the game can be different depending on what the players do. That experience encourages players to find out all the endings and invest more time on the historic event that actually occurred (McCall, 2013). Due to the interactive nature of video games, players may be inclined to learn more about the history and thus increasing players’ knowledge.
Secondly, video games create a community for people to socialize and encourages them to partake in civic and social duties. Contradictory to common beliefs, about 70% of people usually play games with other people both in cooperative and competitive games, increasing the amount of time spent with other people (Entertainment Software Association, 2012). Take the Battlefield series for an example, a game lobby normally consists of 64 players and every 4 players are put in a team to complete the map objective. This kind of cooperative-heavy type of game clearly improves players’ prosocial skills because of all the communications made in-game (Ewoldsen et al., 2012). A study also points out cooperative video gamers with a certain level of civic experience are more likely to engage in civic movements in daily lives like doing charity and voting (Lenhart et al. 2008). Consequently, video games may have a positive impact on society and increase the quality of citizens over-time.
Thirdly, video games also bring positive changes in cognitive and percipient skills. Action games are usually with complex 3D settings, request fast-moving and highly focused type of games (Spence & Feng, 2010). Like the well-known Counter-strike series, players have to be aware of the in-game view and eliminate the other players of the game whilst completing a side objective like planting a bomb. The longer players stay in the game, the better they are concentrated. The lasting benefits would be better visual sensitivity (Steenbergen, Sellaro, Stock, Beste, & Colzato, 2015), more decisive (Green, Pouget, & Bavelier, 2010) and being able to deal with multiple tasks simultaneously (Donohue, Woldorff, & Mitroff, 2010). This type of game immerses the players into the in-game character more than other types of games because most of them are FPS (First Person Shooter). It is so interactive that it makes the level of immersion the reason why players are always so concentrated because they want to win the game. Consequently, video games can prove useful in improving cognitive and percipient skills.
Despite all the clear benefits of video games, some people may argue that violent video games bring negative effects on gamers. They prove by saying some video games focus on killing, advocates the use of drugs and glorify violent behavior that these actions may twist the mind of a person (Akruti, 2019). That would cause players to act with violence.
The points they make are not sensible and if that was true, any wars should have never happened because there were no violent games before. On the contrary, violent video games can actually reduce a hostile mindset. There are studies that pointed out playing violent games cooperatively and competitively can reduce players from accessing their aggressive cognitions (Velez, Mahood, Ewoldsen, & Moyer-Gusé, 2012). The reason why is because the players can release their aggression into the game world and not the real world. This would make sense that people tend to feel less angry and troubled after playing violent video games. This outlet is basically a way to control anger (Surette, 2012). A more logical argument is if the aggressive individuals are spending time playing these violent video games, then that effectively eliminates those individuals from being on the streets where they may commit violent acts. To that end, video games can not only allow players to reduce hostility and keep the known violent people from the streets at home.
In conclusion, video games benefit people rather than hurting them. As discussed above, video games enable people to learn more by the interactive nature the video games, the most obvious example is how video games make players learn about our history. Apart from that, video games provide a platform where all players can socialize with each other. Ultimately, leading more people to take part in civic duties. Whatsmore, video games can improve one’s cognitive and percipient skills by playing some FPS games. It helps players to concentrate on the games as well as in their life. In addition, video games can also do a good job of barring people with a hostile mindset and making the street safer for everyone. All in all, video games are helpful and not harmful, and people should know.