Thursday, January 14, 2010

Video Games are Good

So I guess there is a portion of society that thinks video games are evil. And I'd also guess that they think so because of the way some people die from video game addictions, or how some kids have no real social lives and instead play VGs all the time, or it could be the school shootings that get blamed on VG violence. Okay, so these people might have a point.

But saying VGs is evil for these reasons is like saying food is evil because people get fat and die eating it. My giant, bacony Five Guys burger (I couldn't type that without salivating) could be compared to, say, World of Warcraft. I really enjoy it, but I don't have it all the time. If I had Five Guys or WOW all the time, I'd die from it eventually. And like WOW is designed by psychologists to be addictive, many fast food chains employ chemical flavorings designed to make you crave their food. The thing is, eating fast food every now and then can be a part of a healthy diet. I argue that video games of all types can be part of a healthy recreational diet.

Violence? Social lives? Yeah, we all know those kids were screwed up before their N64 showed up under the Christmas tree. People blame video games for being a drug-like "escape from reality." I doubt anyone has had a drug trip that pushed them into a fantasy that they were the muscle for a fascist-style dictator in a socialist community where their penultimate authority allows them to not only fully allocate all resources, but also destroy anything and salvage its every component for use in whatever other structure they see fit. Or that they can wield ancient weapons and ride exotic creatures as they hunt down the enemies that threaten whichever community hires them as mercenary.

In fact, those fantasies sound a lot more like those brought on by another media substance occasionally considered evil: books. For readers, who often sequester themselves to finish entire series they find exciting, the interactions they have with words on a page penetrate to affect the psyche as much as any video game, and for most readers, more. Of course there are massive differences between VG and book interactions, but none of those makes video games evil.

So if I've finally assuaged those of you with some religious anti-VG feelings, maybe I can get a little relief from those of you who look at me funny when I mention my xbox games or WOW toons. I'm going to go kick some more Keflings on my 360.


Lisa said...

I say that if you want to play video games to relax, you can do it. I agree--it's only bad if that's ALL you do. Unless you're on bedrest. You can do whatever the heck makes the day go by. :)

Sarah McMullin said...

Agreed. If you're on bedrest you can play video games ALLLLL day if you'd like.

Sasha Ester Merritt said...

Video games certainly to pass the time, in fact they seem to bend it!

My main beef with many games is that it puts the player in a position of being a killer or a person who commits brutality and so s/he is acting out these behaviors over and over. This can't be good for the mind and is what make me uncomfortable.

It is different from reading or watching a murder mystery, although, really, I've lowered my intake of even these kinds of shows as it doesn't feel to great to watch simulated murders over and over. I couldn't stomach being the one who does it in a game.

Any way, I don't see you spending too much time on Grand Theft Auto or the new Mob Killer games.

Take good care and I'm sending lots of happy healthy twin thought your way.