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Playing Competitive Video Games Can Provide Learning Opportunities For Growing Children If Not Played Excessively
Video games are often described as virtual competitive versions of real life sports played on electronic or electromagnetic media. At the moment, there are virtually millions of games produced, played, and sold all over the world. Video games are considered to be good forms of entertainment both for children and in some cases for adults, who indulge in playing them during their leisure time for fun or for competition amongst them and their peers. Since video games are created to be and look as real as possible, later versions of these games have the clearest graphics that show the clearest images and have real-looking effects and sounds. What is more, later versions become increasingly portable as there exist numerous portable gaming devices and consoles for ultimate gaming experience. These include peps tablets, Xbox consoles, and some game inspired PCs. Another factor that has transformed past gaming experiences is the advent of online gaming. With the availability of fast Internet around the world and the success story that is a global village; many gamers can play with people all over the world in the comfort of their houses, and sometimes earn rewards from that. With such advancements, gamers all over the world spend most of their time indulging in these wild adventures in glee and competitive wander (Anderson, 2003).
Creation of video games began in 1940s when Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann in 1947 filed a patent allowance petition to create a cathode ray tube amusement device that could use buttons and knobs to direct a cathode ray to fire at magnetic targets in a ray tube. In 1949-1950 Christopher Strachey improved their idea by trying to run a game of checkers through the system. The program though exceeded memory capacity of the computer and could not be run to the end. Realizing this in 1950s and 1960s, innovators began running these programs on university mainframe computers as there were few computers to go around, and mainly the idea of video games was given a posterior view and was generally almost extinguished by the inventors of that period. Some innovators though did not agree to be sidelined. Steve Russell went on to incorporate the game Space Wars into a Pdp computer, and this game became the most popular and played game during that period in time. This innovation made other inventors like John Bergeson incorporate the first baseball game into a computer. These were simple yet wonderful inventions that went on to encourage more and more innovators in the field of video games, (Anderson, 2003).
From the cathode ray tube innovation in 1947 to 1977, game consoles developed and even the ping pong game machines were a reserve of few real players and innovators since such inventions were deemed to be of no value whatsoever in comparison to similar innovations in health warfare medicine and aeronautical fields. To innovators and the general public invention of game machines was really not that important as were innovations in other fields that were deemed to have a direct influence on people’s lives. However, in the period preceding the invention of the first generation of game consoles, the idea of video games was spread out to players amongst the general public creating big interest and making other innovators taking up the mantle of research. In early 1990s, when the idea of gaming became viral and was all over the world, they were able to introduce the unfathomable idea of online games that engaged gamers on many platforms and in different parts of the world playing against each other (Deselms, 2003).
From the humble, yet beautiful and useful beginnings discussed above video games have come to be no longer the reserve of the rich, but have been spread to all possible platforms. Today we have advanced machines like the PlayStation vita that are not only portable but also provide the user with a very realistic view on their screens. World class clarity as well as sound quality enable the player not only to enjoy their experience as a gamer, but also to compete effectively in the game not disturbing their eyes as they visualize the game and as they usually like to say “game on!”. Gaming devices around the world have also been taken to another level in style and size. It is so simple nowadays to enjoy the experience of gaming. If one owns a personal computer in his house, he will not only enjoy the experience of gaming, but will also be able to play competitively in all spheres, (Baldwin, 2001).
But at what cost would one be doing this? What price in terms of societal beliefs, work ethics, and self-destructive behavior would one be willing to pay for the sake of the experience of fun that is not only short-lived, but also addictive and dangerous? What is the brunt that one has to bear in order to enjoy the thrill of competitive video gaming that is the buzz at a time and age like this? Are there any grievous mistakes made in the name of video gaming and online video gaming that affect the society or functionality of all social events and practices that in the absence of such games used to proceed uninhibited? And since games industry is often considered the entertainment for people of younger age, should there be a valid reason to worry about their development being hindered by these games? These are the questions that are to be asked and that people should seek to answer in the conditions of an upsurge of the gaming industry all around the world. People should also question the surety of such an event existing in our lives by considering its benefits and disadvantages and weighing options as to delete the game or game on (Deselms 2003).
A study carried out in 2012 shows that children in their adolescent years are more prone to spending most of their time playing video games. Adolescent male children play video games thirteen hours a day on average, while their female counterparts on average spend eight hours playing games per week. However, the alarming number of these teens admitted that their parents did not set a limit on the number of hours they could spent playing video games and never even bothered to ask or take interest in what material the video games comprised of. According to the research done by Walsh in 2000, these teens clearly show the tendencies of aggressiveness in their behavior and were engaged in fights with their peers. Moreover, they were prone to refuting authority and confronting their superiors: both parents and teachers. According to this research, these youngsters were also seen to perform significantly worse in their academic lives, which if analyzed properly may be due to the number of hours they spent playing video games. That time, in contrast, should have been used by them to study and do home work (Deselms, 2003).
Analyzing this phenomenon more closely would help curb the problem that video games create for people and improve the lives of the young generations. The first characteristic depicted by teenagers that play video games is aggressiveness or tendency towards aggression. Some video games played nowadays are characterized by educational content and positive messages that can help teenagers and players develop not only fine motor skills but gain knowledge about information technology. However, more popular games possess certain characteristics that are meant to provide a thrill. They are less educative and have less useful scenes and acts of lawlessness embedded in the game to provide the extra thrill to the game. Most teenagers react to this by becoming extremely attracted to violent scenarios more often than to more positive and educative parts of these games. There are often scenes where the virtual player shoots at other participants in the game in order to escape or gain points in the game. This often makes teenagers want to participate in more and more of these crimes as there is a thrill to doing them and getting away from virtual policed officers. In other scenarios players are to steal cars or rob people of their property in order to proceed to the next level (Bensley, 2001).
The wielding of weaponry is often associated with the advancement in the stakes of a game and gives the player an upper hand against the enemy he has to fight. In some instances, the more crimes one is able to commit without losing their virtual life, the more points they are able to earn. These are the horrific details about what most popular games. Unfortunately, they are more popular because they are better made and are more modern as compared to more educative and sensible games. The effect of all these acts of aggression as shown by researchers is that children who get exposed to these acts of vandalism and mindless indulgences end up being numb to horrific scenes and the effects and consequences of violence. Most video games encourage children to fully participate and execute these horrible acts to the point where to these young minds violence and horror become the norm rather than the vice (Baldwin, 2001).
Another even more shocking detail that has been discovered by researchers is that these young minds are so into video game world that they have begun participating in and sometimes planning or executing these acts of mindless vandalism and riotous behavior as in the real life (Fery, 2001).
Another common aspect is that children or youngsters that play these games over a period of time are seen to lack basic social skills and are often obese or overweight. Due to the long periods of time that these teenagers spend glued to their computers immediately after they arrive from school, they often become obese since they do not spend any of their time outside playing with their peers or running around as children of their age are supposed to do. Most of these children spend their time behind closed doors talking or relating to their computer or game apparatus and the only friends they have are their online game competitors whom they play against. Here lies another vice as children often lack knowledge about whom they associate with. Most of these people are often sex pests or uncanny characters, whose aims in life are not clear. Most of these teens end up with no social skills. They lack the simplest skills of associating with other people, such as polite language, and behavioral skills like speech manners and respect. They are often deprived of the chance to grow up as normal children because their lives revolve around either school work or their games (Lieberman, 2001).
Online video games do not help matters either because most of them involve the use of rough, vulgar, and sometimes offensive language. Most of these games use dirty unmentionable words to depict the bad boy character or to display anger, disappointment, or frustrations. This does not help growing teenagers, who at this stage are often angered, frustrated, or disappointed. There has been reported frequent use of swearing words and vulgar language among most teenagers. This can be blamed solely on some video games they happily play and in worst case scenarios emulate behaviors from (Lieberman, 2001).
Recently, focus has been put on cases of online bullying of teenagers who are involved in social networking and games. In as much as it is a form of entertainment to many, video games have very high stakes, and in some cases losers tend to be frustrated and some of them may take it out on the winning side. They do this by threatening, abusing, and intimidating their opponent in order to satisfy their vengeance for losing a game. In cases where players are in one room, there have been many reported cases of fights breaking out amongst the players over bets (Bensley, 2001).
In another case scenario, some games are played by placing bets on wins or losses. In such cases, stakes in the game are taken to very high points, and for both sides winning is the only option they have and the only reason they have to play. This often leads to contested wins and losses as there can be just one winner amongst them. This often leads to fights and bad feelings between the two sides involved in the game. Most teenagers are well inclined to be sucked into the vice of gambling or betting in these otherwise harmless looking games (Bensley, 2001).
In some other cases, there has been a huge effect of these games on academic studies of these video gamers. Most of them are youngsters, who are still in school and who have classes to attend and assignments to submit. Nevertheless, these students spend each minute they have being glued to the screen of their games setting record after record and advancing to next levels at the expense of their more important studies. Another consequence the importance of which cannot be underestimated is that they neglect their future they need to build at the threshold of few minutes of relaxation and competition, which seems rather of less worth than it is accorded if to take into account the associated disadvantages (Fery, 2001).
Playing video games, no matter how helpful it may be for relieving stress and achieving relaxation as well as its contribution to the development of motor skills of the player, brings more problems than benefits. A possible solution would be to totally eliminate playing of video games or to reduce the frequency in order to create a brighter future for our upcoming generation (Baldwin, 2001).
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