Impact of computer games on the society
Over the years, the development of computer games has gradually risen. At first, man had several choices of playing card games, board games and other made up games which usually consisted of physical presence before multiplayer games can be played but the invention of computers paved way for other activities and one of which has influenced our lives greatly, especially teens. It was computer/video games.
The earliest gaming console called the "Magnavox Odyssey" can be traced back to the late 1960s and was designed and released by Ralph Baer in 1972. Ever since that time, there have been a massive improvement in the development of video games. Modern video games are now 3D standard with better quality sounds, graphics, collision detection etc. unlike in old times where basic sounds and 2D graphics is used.
To cut matters short, I will be taking you through the impacts (benefits and concerns) of video games on our society.
there are various concerns attributed to the development of video games. some of which are:
#1 Excess Playing Time (Addiction)
This is a stage at which a person is so engrossed in playing games that all mandatory activities of life are neglected. When this is the case, the addicted prefers to play games for longer hours that he/she sacrifices eating, sleeping or other things for playing games.
A very bad case of addiction is a 19 year old gamer who died of Malaria. He failed to see the doctor because he was so much addicted to playing games that he didn'’t go to the doctors to get treatment. there are also several cases of gaming addiction that has done more harm than good and it is necessary to control our desire and hunger for playing games as it affects us both physically, emotionally and mentally.
#2 Social Isolation
This is the point at which a person plays so much game that he/she would rather continue playing games than meet people and have a discussion with them. A chance of socialising with people is also limited. This could cause health problems as the person could develop Repetitive strain injury. Families may also be concerned about the health of the individual. Computer games are fast becoming one of the causes of social isolation. An exemption to that are new online games with built-in chat system which has recently been implemented but notwithstanding, it also reduce the opportunity of a game addict going out with friends
In old times, friends visit each other’s house to play games but nowadays, you don’t need anyone to talk to in person as you can play an online multiplayer game.
Most games of nowadays can make a person go bankrupt as there is a drive to purchase the latest game or purchase tokens that can be used to win the game or appear on the leader board.
For example, when Grand Theft Auto 5 was released, several thousands of people bought theirs in a single night and this game costs £44 in most stores. The gaming consoles also cost over £200 and when this is considered, one might as well choose to send the money on other things that are useful.
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#4 Separation from Reality
This is when a person dedicates more of their time playing games to the extent that he/she cannot differentiate from reality and fantasy. They often think they are playing as the game character in real life that they perform actions from the game. This mostly happens when games are created based on real-life situation and location.
A real-life example is found in the UK where a girl after playing a game where the character jumped off the same building as it was in the game went to the top of a building and jumped to death.
Being so obsessed with computer games especially violent games could motivate a person to mimic the situations in games and commit crimes like killing, stealing, law breaking etc. in this process, this mostly happens with games that use real world scenarios and places.
A real-life example is found in the UK where an 18 year old girl committed suicide after being obsessed with the game ‘Manhunt’.
#6 Other Concerns
Other concerns about gaming include repetitive strain injuries like neck stiffness which could be caused due to sitting still while playing games for a prolonged period of time, eye strain and injuries can also be caused by 3D video games if it is being watched for a long period of time etc.,
#7 Cause of Controversy
It has also caused controversies among certain groups of people. An example is the music used in LittleBigPlanet which sparked controversy after it was claimed that the singer used verses from the Qur'an.
Another example is seen in Postal / Fag Hunter which received widespread criticism from several groups in the society not just because of its extreme violence and blood but it also contains homosexual abuse which is not also suitable for the young generation. There is immense shedding of blood and this is the main aim of the game. This could have negative effects on homosexuals as they might feel unwanted. Addicted gamers may also find themselves in the situation where they may like to also commit crimes by disliking homosexuals. It does not also give a good impression to the youths.
Benefits of gaming
After going through the most common disadvantages of playing video games, I think its time I also write about the benefits. Besides killing boredom and enjoying the pleasure of wanting to be on the leaderboard, get a bragging right, earn achievements and so on, there are also several importance of video games both to the society and on individual basis.
#1 Improved Hand Eye Co-ordination
Computer games helps to improve the hand-eye co-ordination and this is really useful for professionals like surgeons etc. Scientist says that hand-eye coordination improves learning, cognition, and sociability and this is a very useful factor in the mental development of an individual
#2 Job Creation
Computer games have helped to create jobs for people in terms of giving graduates opportunities to work in a computer-game production company. Since IT projects mainly require a group of people to complete a task within a deadline, this ensures that many people are employed. Besides this, gamers now post video footage and walkthroughs on different websites. Example of such is Youtube. This in turn generates income through embedded advertisements and other forms.
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#3 Brain Training and Improved Thinking and Strategy Skills / Language Learning
Playing computer games helps to improve the brain capacity and activity and this is sometimes also recommended for patients. Examples of such is Brain Challenge, IQ Test etc. Amongst these, there are also several games specifically designed to help users learn languages and this can be easily achieved since there are incorporated learner facilitiies, help guides and questions in the game
#4 Impact on Traditional Application Development
Because of the drive to improve, many companies have undergone research on ways to improve the quality and user's experience of a game. This has led to development of many games with better graphics, 3D, Collision detection, tessellation etc. It has also led to the development of Game engines which also makes the development of games faster and easier.
Do you think Computer / Video games has done more harm than good to both individuals and the society
#5 Other Benefits
They are used in several establishments like Aerospace companies, military organisations and in other work place for simulation which can be used to train staffs, predict unusual occurrence and analyze results which can then be used to provide improvements.
In my opinion, even though there are negative effects of gaming, it has also equipped and sharpen the human way of thinking in terms of creativity. The idea of gaming has helped develop other inventions with which we come across in our daily lives. Gaming is used in military, health and educational sectors in many areas of improving the life of man.
Published on July 18, 2014
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© 2014 Taiwo Kareem