Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Closer Look at Video Games: Guest Post by Peer Leader Intern Hannah Davis

It’s easy to see how a video game can be a fun way to avoid reality; you can be a sniper in Call of Duty: Black Ops, a gnome in World of Warcraft, slay zombies in Left 4 Dead, or fly planes and bomb the enemy in Wings of Prey. In this virtual world you can be anyone you want, from an intimidating ogre to a sexy elf. It doesn’t matter who you are in the real world because in video games you can create yourself into any form you wish. You can even prove to other gamers that you are in fact a force to be reckoned with!

There are many positive aspects to playing video games. You can temporarily escape from stress, create another social network with people of similar hobbies and interests, and can practice skills that can be used in later life, such as increased hand-eye accuracy and faster reaction times. Several years ago in his article Video Games: An Escape From Reality? Jeffery D. Davis said that the U.S. Army and Navy use video games to train their recruits to cut down on simulator costs. He also said that because so many soldiers have grown up playing shooter games, they tend to learn battlefield tactics faster.

Although it sounds like these first-person-shooter games can be valuable in training our military, many are concerned about the violent aspect of these games. Many people argue that video games are too bloody and gruesome, which in turn is causing our young generations to have violent tendencies. It has been suggested that games like Grand Theft Auto teach bad examples of how to behave in society. Players steal cars, swear, and kill innocent people. At the same time, there is debate if these types of games can be blamed for the increased violence in our society any more then the violence shown on TV and the movies.

And what is there a point where video games become detrimental? Can you become addicted to the games you play and neglect your life’s many duties? The answer is yes. I have personally seen people spend large amounts of money on games, miss classes and isolate themselves in their room to play Counter Strike and Portal, and even stop hanging out with their friends and family in order to spend countless hours in front of their computer. Marriages have fallen apart and people have lost their jobs due to avoiding their responsibilities in order to complete their raid or because they were on a winning spree. Their addiction can ruin their lives, but like all other addicting things, there are steps towards recovery people can take to get their gaming under control.

So, overall there is both good and bad aspects to the beloved video games many people play. The industry will continue to grow as more people discover the pleasure associated with this activity. Games will be made to cater to the desires of gamers, whether it is a racing game such as Need For Speed, a simulation game like The Sims, or Madden, which is a sports game. There may always be some games that people may consider to be too violent, but it is up to parents and consumers to decide which games are appropriate.

What do you think about violence in video games? What do you think about their addictive properties? Is this something we need to worry about?

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