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Gaming

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By jollybomber
Words 1670
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(10 pm Monday night) “You finish your Homework yet?” ( Insert sounds of buttons being mashed and clicked) “ALMOST DONE MOM!!!” : Typical week night for the modern day gamer. “Go Go Go!” My commanding officer shouts to me as we run down the battle field. I hear footsteps and turn to my left taking out two bogies with a single shot, I tell my friend Jon there are two on his right, they fall as well. We race towards the objective bobbing and weaving through the crossfire bullets whizzing overhead, debris clouding our vision. Closer, closer…CLOSEERRR, grenades are tossed at feet, “GRENADE GET DOWN, GET DOWN!” and then…Blackness. “Huh? What the…” I look up at my mom standing there power plug in hand and giving me “that look”. I drop the controller flip off the TV and hit the books. I’m sure I’m not far off assuming this scenario or something similar has happened to many other people this day an age. It is not uncommon to find one if not more gaming consoles or computers within a household this day and age; they have become apart of our modern society and look as though they are here to stay for the long term. But what effects does the up and coming gamming culture have on our society? After taking a closer look at the topic it could be argued that those who are apart of the

B. Allen 2 gaming culture are susceptible to possible violent behavior, but are also inclined towards academic success, and health benefits. “Bring on the guts, bring on gore, bring on the mayhem!” Unfortunately video games that contain content such as this are seen as possible scapegoats for exemplifying violent behavior in teens and adults in our society. For example when it was found that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were fervent players of the games Doom and Wolfenstein3D (CNN 4/22/99) many people blamed the games for the massacre to an extent. Some people even tried to file lawsuits against the game developers. Another example would be Science Journalist and Medical Student Joshua Tompkins writing for Salon.com on July 23, 2003. In his excerpt he describes his experience playing the game, “Flight Simulator”. He says, “A perfect virtual-reality replica of an actual A320 cockpit…[the games] have become so authentic in recent years, in fact, that they are turning into useful tools for aspiring terrorist hijackers.” (Salon.com). These examples show how society has, and could, look to video games as a negative source of entertainment that people can use to educate themselves in violent and possible criminal acts. Though the courts have not found persuasive evidence to prove the direct link between violent behaviors and gaming, psychologist Craig A. Anderson writes in “Psychological Science Agenda” "Some studies have yielded nonsignificant video game effects, just as some smoking studies failed to find a significant link to lung cancer. But when one combines all relevant empirical studies using meta-analytic techniques, five

B. Allen 3 separate effects emerge with considerable consistency." (C. Anderson). Anderson makes a good point in this quote, describing how just because there is no simple black and white connection between violent video games and violence in his studies there is enough evidence with in the patterns of peoples behaviors to show otherwise. In a study Anderson found gaming to be, "significantly associated with: increased aggressive behavior, thoughts, and affect; increased physiological arousal; and decreased pro-social (helping) behavior." If this is true what could this mean for our society? Based off this study the gaming culture is not helping out our society to much. If the gaming culture continues to grow at the rate it is our society could be populated by a number of people aggressive in behavior and less willingness to be helpful. Who wants to live in a society like that? Again however non of these studies offer factual evidence to whether those people involved in the gaming culture are prone to violent behavior or not; but it is important for society to be aware of the possibilities. As the gaming culture grew through the years some developers chose to target a video-game audience marketed for education. Once educational gaming hit the scene many parents and teachers responded happily and were excited to see the effectiveness they would have in relaying the information to children. In the article "The Effects of Video Games on Children" by pediatrician, Douglas A. Gentile, Douglas says, “Video games are natural teachers. Children find them highly motivating by virtue of their interactive nature. Children are actively engaged with them, they provide repeated practice and they include rewards for skillful play. These facts make it likely that video games could have large effects.” Video games have a way of drawing the player into B. Allen 4 them and there world, the same way a book does in a way. As the player it is difficult to not help but feel immersed and engaged in the content. Knowing a video game has these capabilities, and also knowing that children and games go together like PB&J, one could not help but infer that an educational game paired up with a child is a golden idea. A study was done by psychologist Tsung-Yen Chuang and Wei-Fan Chen comparing 3rd graders test scores taught with computer-assisted instruction versus computer-based video games. The results of their study were recorded in the article, “Educational Technology & Society”. Their conclusion was, “…playing computer-based video games was determined to be more effective in facilitating third-graders' average learning outcome than text-based computer-assisted instruction.” (Chuang & Chen). These examples show that there are many different branches of games within the gamming community and not all have negative side effects. Because video games are normally fun and enjoyable it enables the player to want to actively engage in the learning process which results in the players better retaining the material being relayed. The Chuang and Chen study of the educational gain of video games portrays it to be a promising tool for society and its future. “Playing video games equals health benefits, Whaaa…?” Sounds like quite a juxtaposition right? Well do to the ever growing gaming culture and next gen consoles new more physically interactive ways to play have been imagined and developed. Thanks to technology advancements the PS3, Xbox 360, and the Wii all support some kind body movement sensors to allow for a type of virtual reality experience. Of the three the Nintendo Wii was the first and most popular of the three consoles to demonstrate this B. Allen 5 feature with games such as Wii Sports, Wii Resort, Wii Fit, and much more. In January 2007 issue of “Pediatrics” a study done by the Mayo clinic found that [children burned three times as many calories playing these active games than the traditional handheld games.] (Mayo). Who needs a treadmill when you got a Wii! This example is very positive for the future of gaming in our society from a health concern. People a part of the gaming culture where often looked at with concern due to the numerous health issues that were associated with to much gamming such as, obesity, video-induced seizures, and postural, muscular and skeletal disorders, such as tendonitis, nerve compression, and carpal tunnel syndrome.” (Chuang & Chen). But thanks to the development of these new physically interactive consoles many of those concerns have been reduced. In fact the February 2007 issue of Time is a text about [computer-programmer Mickey DeLorenzo, who lost nine pounds in six weeks by playing Wii for thirty minutes a day. DeLorenzo, who is involved with a social-networking health site, told Time that people write him to say, "You've inspired me to buy a Wii and start working out."] (Time). This yet another example of the positive repercussions associated with the gamming culture. These systems like the Wii are the first of there kind to attempt to get gamers to be physically active as they play and it was a success. As time goes by Developers in the video game culture are sure to invite and come up with new software to better enhance the virtual experience and physical interaction within games. If video games are providing health benefits to our society now just imagine into the future; it’s only getting better from here! As with anything in life to much of something, even if it is a good thing, isn’t healthy. This stands true with gaming as well. Sure there are many arguments out there B. Allen 6 claiming video games to be bad and cause violent behavior, just like there are also many examples of how there are also games that can educate and even provide health benefits. There is no clear stance on whether or not the gamming culture has a positive or negative effect on society or not; but one thing is for certain it is here, and will be around for awhile. Knowing this it is important for individuals in a society to do what they should do with anything and everything. Have a balance. As long as video gamming is balanced alongside all other forms of entertainment and used as an occasional fictional escape from reality, education tool, or to exercise society will be welcoming the gamming community and culture for years to come.

B. Allen 7
Bibliography

Anderson, Craig A. "Psychological Science Agenda,." Psychological Science Agenda, (2009): n. pag. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. .
Chuang, Tsung-Yen, and Wei-Fan Chen. "Educational Technology & Society." (2009): n. pag. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. .
Gale. "Oposing View PointsVideo Games." Oposing View Points. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. .
Gentile, Douglas A. "The Effects of Video Games on Children." Pediatrics for Parents (2004): n. pag. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. .
Mayo. "Pedatrics." 2007: n. pag. Opposing View Points. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. .
Tonmkins, Joshua. "Flight Simulator." Flight Simulator (2003): n. pag. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. .

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