In today’s frantic and stressful society, a desire to escape sometimes is imminent. There are piles of work to do, constant headaches, and relationship tensions are rising. In this current condition one may be aware that it will be impossible to get anything accomplished. What one really needs is a chance to get away from it all, to replenish the mind and release all of their apprehension. A relaxing vacation to a secluded private island would do the trick, but of course this is impractical. Instead, at no cost one can fully immerse into a lush, stunning virtual paradise oozing with beauty and serenity.
This is the magnificence of the modern video game world; it lets a person be somebody they could only dream of, construct amazing structures and inventions, or can even provide relief and fulfillment. However, stress relief and personal enjoyment are not the sole advantages. Video games should be more widely accepted and integrated into the daily and professional lives of individuals because of the many positive effects they create, which include: self satisfaction, educational and economic opportunities, advances in technology and science, and the spawning of creativity and ingenuity.
One of the age old attacks against video games is the statement that they contain an addictive allure that grabs hold of students and chokes the academic life out of them; well, according to recent studies, quite the opposite may be observed. In a study of young children age four and five, conducted by the Ready to Learn Initiative, it was found that through the addition of digital devices and video games into a school curriculum, it was possible to greatly increase letter recognition and early literacy skills.
A further study by the Education Department Center found that kindergarteners with poor home conditions, who had experienced a video game based curriculum in preschool, were more adapted and successful (“The Benefits”). This prevents students from falling behind and creates interest in school. Although it is true that a handful of games possess no real advantages and are a distraction from work, the sheer number of games designed as educational tools or as brain-teasers clearly outweigh that fraction. In fact, nearly sixty percent of all video games are categorized as E for veryone, which primarily consists of healthy brain-growing challenges and activities.
Large video game companies such as Big Fish, Broderbund, and Educational Insights are devoted to developing products that will wrack a player’s brain. Collectively, they provide exciting puzzles, history and science education in an interesting way, and dynamic math-oriented games (Gibson). The majority of players are hard at work improving their skills and cognitive abilities, while a few negative cases of video game players get all of the publicity. The benefits of games do not end there, however. (“The Benefits”)
Many online video games provide valuable economic lessons and other important skills required in jobs and professional life. For instance, Second Life, a colossal in the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) industry, contains thousands of college students working for credit in their classes and career-related experience. Business students can take advantage of the game currency called Linden dollars, which can be exchanged for real money; they do this by selling in-game real estate and running retail businesses while learning about marketing, budgeting, and management.
Fashion design and 3D-modeling students can collaborate to create articles of clothing and wardrobes. Even architectural students are taking advantage of the opportunities that Second Life provides by designing virtual buildings and structures (Driscoll). This video game opens up a world for these students to directly apply the information they are learning in class in a hands-on and logistically sound way. It also provides them with a source of income that supports and encourages their efforts.
Other games and simulations are even used to ethically train medical students and to ready military recruits for the harsh reality of war. As a result of sophisticated games such as these, the pupils make less mistakes and are more prepared when they begin their high-risk careers. Aside from these rigid settings, other casual games are developing the skills of teenagers and adults in a more subtle way. Cooperative games such as World of Warcraft require teams of players to work together to reach a common goal.
Each individual is given responsibilities and specific roles, and a few people are even selected to lead the group and provide direction and structure. Hundreds of similar games also teach the same teamwork, leadership, and responsibility to their players, which are all vital qualities to have in order to be successful in society. Not only can video games polish an individuals abilities, but they have the potential to facilitate advancements in the fields of technology and science as well.
For example, the highly commended game, Foldit, requires the players to fold real proteins in the most efficient way as possible while competing against others online. Computer software alone is not very successful at predicting the future shapes of irregular objects, and so with the presence of the human minds puzzle-solving skills scientists have been able to create breakthroughs through utilizing this game (Toppo). For example, a sample of a monkey HIV protein which had mystified scientists for over fifteen years was recently introduced to the players for analyzing, who were then able to solve it in a mere ten days.
The most proliferate solutions may even help scientists develop cures for many medical conditions such as AIDs, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease (Toppo). However, playing video games such as these isn’t the only way advancements have been produced. According to Rick Nauert, PhD, the hardware used in gaming consoles, particularly the graphics cards, have been implemented into medical and research equipment in order to enhance the quality of MRI images and the maps produced by seismic waves.
These improvements allow scientists to diagnose medical issues more readily, and helps geologists find new clues to the Earth’s history. In addition, as a result of the competition between elite video game companies such as Microsoft and its adversary Sony, this hardware is advancing so quickly that improvements are constantly available and becoming much more affordable. Smaller laboratories are now able to get their hands on this technology rather than being limited by their budgets. Video game antagonists will argue that gaming chains individuals to their televisions and leads to unhealthy and sedentary activity.
Although this can be true in some cases, it is at least a lot more beneficial than passively watching a television program, which would most likely be the obvious second choice for activity. While immersing oneself into a video game, it is required to use critical thinking, imagination, and creativity. If one is about to tackle a ferocious monster, it is imperative that all available information is processed quickly and logically so as to avoid death. The same thing is true if one is navigating through a dangerous obstacle course, or solving a difficult puzzle.
Games such as The Sims series allow players to harness their inner creativity to design their own houses, develop their families, and to interact in a simulation of real life. The Tycoon series includes several games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, and Hospital Tycoon. In these games individuals act as the boss and coordinator of everything. One is required to build structures and fences, determine admission and event prices, and manage policies as well as staff. As long as one can think of an idea, it can be built and they can watch their ideas come to life.
Another fascinating and interactive game is titled Spore. The goal of this game is to guide a group of organisms in the player’s control through the evolutionary stages of life. The individual starts in the cell level and directs their units to find food and reproduce. After undergoing several mitoses, they proceed to the creature stage where it is possible to design the organisms physical characteristics and mechanical features. How well the creature is created determines how adept its survivability and competitiveness is in the upcoming tribal, civilization, and space stages (“Spore”).
Games such as these require a high level of entrepreneurship and originality in order to succeed and crowd out all of the competition. They develop the imagination and promote higher order thinking skills which are invaluable in our demanding society. Finally, the reason that hits home for the majority of video game users is its effectiveness as a stress reliever and object of entertainment. It can be safely assumed that on several occasions individuals have been locked up in their house on a rainy day with nothing to do.
In this situation, it is too sloppy outside to do anything and everyone may be plagued with a sedentary attitude. This is a perfect time for them to pick up a controller to keep their brains functioning and themselves amused. Working towards a goal, trying to solve a challenging puzzle, or even just letting loose and dancing to music is a great way to keep oneself stimulated and content. Games allow players to work at their own pace and to make their own choices. This provides them with a healthy outlet to rid the mind of stress. The core of every game is its goal and reward system.
There almost always is a goal, and there are always rewards for doing objectives correctly and improving upon past trials. These rewards supply individuals with gratification and a sense of accomplishment. Also, since there is such a wide variety in the genre of video games, everyone can find something that interests them. In short, games are fun; there are games designed to cater to everyone’s interests which can provide a few moments of carefree enjoyment. This reason alone is a good enough rationale to participate in the exciting world of video games.
In conclusion, video games are the source of many positive effects. They have been proven to aid struggling students in their academic life, to increase cognitive abilities, and advance the fields of technology and science. They even spark the imagination of individuals and sharpen their ability to be creative. Many professions have already started to utilize the amazing potential that games hold, and the focus of video game companies has started to shift towards education and helpful mediums rather than pure entertainment and mindless violence.
Although some may contain addictive qualities and promote physical inactiveness, they are a lot healthier choice than most forms of media and entertainment available today. Video games could very well be the future of education and productivity; outdated curriculum and textbooks could be replaced by them, and they should therefore be embraced and celebrated rather than shunned and ignored by some adults and children alike.
Courtney from Study Moose
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