Video games have been historically surrounded by controversy. Around the time of their birth, a certain level of doubt was held in the public with most distrusting them or actively criticising the alleged effects they could have on children. This included issues ranging from apathy to aggression, with video games coming under fire due to the latter in instances like Columbine. In more recent years though, attitudes have changed, and the industry is enjoying astronomical growth – video games have now topped both movies and music. We now live in a world that actively embraces video games and it is important to note how beneficial video games can be to both adults and children to dispel any more doubts that still may exist.
Crucially, it cannot be said that there are no downsides to playing video games. Much like anything, playing them for too long can cause negative health and mental effects and should be actively avoided. Also, children playing games that are not intended for them could have developmental effects on them. However, if both of these things are avoided, then only the positives remain, of which there is a plentiful amount.
One major reason why many people play video games is that they offer an escape from the real world. This, considering the hardships faced by many over the last year, is critical to maintaining good mental health. Just like physical activity is craved by the body, entertainment is craved by the mind so that we can relax and destress. Some games can completely lose players in the scope of the world that developers create, and some can rival the complex narratives and characters that are achieved in some blockbuster films.
Games like Grand Theft Auto have a sandbox world where players can do anything, even go to the casino. In places like Florida, most gambling is prohibited and more information can be found here, so gamers will appreciate they can gamble in-game. Being able to retreat into these worlds after a hard day at work is a useful quality of video games and one reason why they can be helpful to the average person.
Some video games are exciting to play, but they are also unexpectedly educational. When parents see their children assassinating a Templar leader in Assassins’ Creed, they might scoff at the violence of the scene but not realise that in school, that same child can give a brief explanation of who the Borgia’s are, or who the main players in the Golden Age of Piracy were. It’s this kind of knowledge that is understated when it comes to video games that make them so great to play. They can even increase general critical thinking skills as many games exist under the ‘puzzle’ genre. Playing these from a young age is a sure way to develop the logical skills that people need in everyday life.
Another reason why gaming should be encouraged is that the online scene is an inherently social experience. Playing games online with people allows the opportunity to maintain relationships, something that was especially useful during the lockdown, and to build new connections. This is invaluable to both child and adult and the fact that games facilitate this bonding means that they are of immeasurable value.
The benefits mentioned are just a taste of what gaming can bring to people of all ages, and those who actively oppose them would do well to consider the numerous positive effects they can have.