The Gustavian Weekly

Video games aren’t all bad | The Gustavian Weekly

By Daniel McCrackin - Opinion Columnist | September 30, 2016 | Opinion

Playing video games helps develop fine motor control.

Playing video games helps develop fine motor control.

Video games, specifically console games, have been a large part of modern culture since the introduction of the Atari in 1977.

For almost forty years, video games have been ingrained into daily life, and have advanced so far as to have become a medium for cultural, artistic, and even political expression.

They can be accessed at home via a computer or console, or on the go through the amazing advancement of mobile technology such as tablets and smartphones.

Yet, what effect do all these video games have on us as a society? Many children growing up have likely heard the rhetoric of TV and video games rotting people’s brains and turning them into vegetables. In fact video games actually have a lot of benefits in terms of development.

First off video games help to improve fine motor control.

Now the same can be said for a large number of athletics such as basketball, baseball, or soccer which require a lot of hand-eye coordination, or hand-foot coordination.

However video games do the same while also proposing certain mental challenges.

A large number of video games propose puzzles, a necessity for strategic thinking, and even certain social interaction skills when making dialogue choices.

While these things may also be somewhat present in sports, a lot of that is coordinated by a coach or other athletic leader like the captain.

In a videogame one is working almost exclusively independently, or in smaller teams which at first usually lacks an easily identifiable leader.

In this way video games also teach a certain level of independence, they foster a wish to succeed and in some cases can even inspire those who play them.

There is a wide slew of fan created art, music, technology, computer code, modifications, and even entire other games based on inspiration from popular video games.

Video games build communities of the people who play them, and create a new medium for people to interact across.

This can take a negative form when people start to abuse the anonymity of games for the purpose of insults and slurs, however a large portion of games monitor interactions heavily to try and keep speech cordial.

Video games built communities of the people who play them, and create a new medium for people to interact across. 

There are also large conventions where players from a community can interact with one another, the most well known and famous of these being the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3.

This is where Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony, as well as number of smaller developers like Square Enix and Aksys Games exhibit their big products that will be appearing over the next year.

Gamers arrive from all over the country, and in some cases all over the world, just to try out the games that are still in their beta, or even alpha form to help developers create an awesome product that can be shared.

They also attend be some of the first to learn about new products and see famous gaming celebrities such as Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Star Fox, some of the most well known and celebrated franchises of all time.

Finally, and most importantly, gamers come together at these conventions because of what video games are, a way to have fun.

The medium is often lambasted for how it is an indoor only activity (not true, especially with advent of AR games) and how because of this it makes people who play them anti-social.

The truth is that video games are a way for people who may be shy or more introverted to be more social in a space they are comfortable in, until they get to a point where they can attend conventions and meet people who love the same things they do face to face.

So while many may mock those who love video games, it is important to appreciate what they contribute to society, fun in the form of an artistic medium.