The Good and The Bad of Video Games


Photo credit: Rob Dixon © 2013

This is a collection of various video games spanning multiple consoles. These games were procured over numerous years.

Rob Dixon, Columnist

Video games have become a staple in after school and geek culture. The cultures span massive age groups, where sometimes, that span causes some massive concern. It is not uncommon to see questions regarding what ages are appropriate to play certain games, and whether or not video games cause negative impressions on younger children.

The answers are simple. The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) rates a game from E for everyone, to M for mature. If a game is rated M, you probably shouldn’t let your younger sibling or perhaps your young child play these games. Of course, if there is permission involved and there is a trust that exists that things won’t go down hill, then go ahead and let them play.

The answer to whether or not video games can cause bad impressions on their younger audiences is no, they cannot. Research has shown that the aggression caused by video games is more of competition than anything. So the fear that video games cause aggression in younger audiences is mostly ill-founded.

However, there is always a small margin of players who take the game much too seriously, and will do almost anything, including making threats, that may or may not be serious, on your life.

Video games are a great way to relieve stress and socialize with your friends without even being in the same room as them. The true downsides of this popular pastime are much more real and have more effects on others than a competition that some people take way too seriously.

The largest issues that face video gamers are addiction, missing out on real life experiences, and loss of funds, as video games are quite expensive. Addiction as defined by the American Heritage Dictionary is, “the condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something.” That being said, if you log countless hours playing video games, browsing video game magazines or  online forums, you might be addicted.

As for the loss of experiences, this goes hand in hand with addiction. If you are too involved in your gaming to get up and go socialize with others in the real world, you are probably addicted.

Video games can become very expensive. Imagine you own twenty games, all of which were bought new at around 50 to 60 dollars each; it really adds up. According to a NewZoo study, Americans spend about 25 billion dollars annually on video games. It really, really adds up.

Video games can be a positive part of your life when played in moderation, and purchased with the same moderation. They will stand as a staple in geek culture and after school life for years to come.