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How Video Games Have Changed and Influenced Our Lives

Updated on October 16, 2011

From Pong to Masterchief and beyond

When Pong was released in the 1970s it proved that video games could really be successful. Since then, video games, and the people who play them, have slowly shaped our society

When I was a kid, I remember playing Duck Hunt and Mario on the Nintendo and Super Nintendo and was officially a gamer for life. I've grown up with games and watched as the general attitude towards games have changed.

When Nintendo launched its console, it advertised is as a toy for children in an attempt to distance itself from the failure of Atari. The company also enjoyed a near monopoly with the placement of a chip in both the console and each video game cartridge. This allowed Nintendo to only release kid friendly games.

Then Sega Genesis was released in North America and Nintendo had a fierce competitor. Sega advertised itself as the cooler console and developed its mascot Sonic as an edgier rival to Mario.

Other companies soon joined in with the launch of Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox. More adult themed title's like Grand Theft Auto, Modern Warfare and Halo soon attracted all ages to play.

According to a recent study the average gamer age was in the mid to late 20's with 60% men playing and 40% women. The increasing number of women gamers, as well as the age level of gamers in general, no doubt plays a large role in what developers place on the market. Games feature more strong, independent heroines and more games are made specifically for adults.

Note: this hub was published before. I was planning on moving it, but it belongs on Hubpages.

Are video games taking over?

Over the last few years, more people are playing video games. There are a ton of high profile titles being eagerly anticipated like Call of Duty or Guitar Hero, or already out.

Halo Reach has already surpassed every game or movie  launched this year. I have at least a couple I've been waiting all year for.

With every upgrade in graphics, gameplay and technology, video games are slowly creeping into parts of our lives I never thought they'd belong. 

Pinky and the Brain

Video Game Takover Theory

Two mice are in a cage in a lab. One is bouncing around from one side to another, the other sits there looking broody. Suddenly the first one runs up to the other mouse and stops.

"What are we going to do today?" he says. The other one scowls "Same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to take over the world"

"Gee Brain, how we gonna do that?" asks the first one.

The Brain scowls even more, thinking. Suddenly he smiles "With video games!"

I'm pretty sure mice aren't really planning to take over the world with video games but games have started to leak into other areas of our lives besides the living room.

Video games have started appearing in fitness plans, hospitals and army recruitment centers. You can now get in shape and improve your balance and strength. Or you can learn how to fight as a soldier or build farms, cities and empires and control them. Hmmm... maybe the mice theory isn't so crazy.

America's Army Trailer

How the Army uses video games to train.

The U.S military has recently started using video games to recruit and train. Recruitment centers have been opened up that lets potential recruits hang out on couches and play wargame simulators. Officers in the U.S. army have invested about $50 million to develop video games and a game system for the purpose of providing more information to potential recruits and hopefully reducing the number of washouts

America's Army , the official U.S. Army video game, helps military recruits sharpen their fighting skills and may even help protect them from the stress of combat. The website claims to provide players with "the most authentic military experience available, from exploring the development of soldiers in individual and collective training to their deployment in simulated missions"

It's effectiveness has been proven at least once when a man named Paxton Galvanek used the skills he learned from playing the game as a medic to save a man's life.

In November of 2007 Galvanek saw a SUV flip over on a highway he was traveling on. He stopped to help pulling out both passengers and saw one of them had lost his fingers during the crash. He used a towel as a bandage, having the passenger hold his hand over his head to slow the bleeding, giving Galvanek time to evaluate his other injuries.

Sometime afterwards he wrote a letter to the America's Army team giving them credit for the medical training he received in the game. He said "I remember vividly in section four of the game's medic training, during the field medic scenarios, I had to evaluate the situation and place priority on the more critically wounded. In the case of this accident, I evaluated the situation and placed priority on the driver of the car who had missing fingers. I then recalled that in section two of the medic training, I learned about controlled bleeding. I noticed that the wounded man had severe bleeding that he could not control"

The Army is also changing its basic training program for the first time in over twenty years to better train the gamer generation. In an interview with Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling explains that they're "advanced in terms of their use of technology, and maybe not as advanced in their physical capabilities or ability to go into a fight. So we're taking that into consideration as well in doing this holistic review."

The new generation of recruits seem to be more technically adept, smarter, but also less disciplined and less physically able. So the new basic training will focus on whipping the recruits into shape and learning to fight betterl

Improve your skills as a Surgeon

How video games help improve life skills

Research has been done about the positive effects of video games.Similar test have been run at both Beth Israel Medical Center and the University of Rochester in New York City.

In one test thirty-three surgeons participated and of those that played video games for three or more hours a week made 37% fewer errors and were 27% faster than those who did not play.

Researchers at the University of Rochester divided 22 students into two groups. One group played Call of Duty 2 which is a first person shooter that requires good hand eye coordination ant the other played The Sims 2, a game that doesn't. Both groups played their games for 50 hours over a period of nine weeks. At the end of the test, players of COD 2 showed an averages of 43% improvement in discerning different shades of gray and showed improvement in perceiving fine differences in contrast..

"The finding, which appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience, may help people who have trouble with night driving.'Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery - somehow changing the optics of the eye,' said Daphne Bavelier.of the University of Rochester.'But we've found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped." Read more:

How else can video games help you improve your skills?

First person shooters can teach you about different types of guns and simulate how to shoot them and improve your hand eye coordination. Play them online against a dozen other players and you have to think fast and strategize to beat everyone else or accomplish the objective.

Roleplaying games like World of Warcraft also often requires players to organize raids with dozens of other players. It can help a person learn to work together as well as improve leadership skills. Indeed the leader of the group has to put together skills that compliment each other and keep them together. This involves attracting and recruiting people to the group and the ability to resolve disputes. These sound like some of the same skills a person will need to manage a group of workers in real life. Maybe employers should start looking at video game experience and skills when they hire. :-)

Video games have evolved so much over the years and many are now requiring the players to get off the couch and move.

Kinect Dance Central

The Wii and Kinect:: How Video Games Improve Health

The Wii was launched in November of 2006 and has since been a major player in the gaming industry, even outselling the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 in the first half of 2007. The Wii has done wonders encouraging more people to play from the young to the old. Even Queen Elizabeth II of the UK has played using the console according to the British newspaper The People.

The console is played using the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk which allows players to use physical gestures as well as button presses to control the game. The Wii features sports games like bowling, and baseball as well as yoga.

The Kinect is possibly Xbox's answer to the Wii. It uses cameras to track your movements and allow you to interact with the game. Essentially your whole body becomes the controller. The Kinnect allows you to learn dance moves as well as play sports, go white water rafting, be a Jedi or just play with cats.

Wii and the Kinect seem to be leading the way into the next generation of gaming. Even doctors and hospitals are cluing in to the benefits of playing video games. Rehab trainers have started using Wii Fit to help build strength, improve balance and generally get people healthier.

With all the possibilities the two systems have,there seems to be no telling where we will see video games pop up next.

But after seeing the trailer for the Kinect, I really want one. Might even learn to dance, though I'll probably make a better Jedi.

Buy the Wii


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    • ryanjhoe profile image

      ryanjhoe 4 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      I live my life with video games, I have several console of their generation from NES to Playstation. It indeed somewhat influence our lives, but so far video games is a fun experience and something worth to play.

    • profile image

      osbork42 4 years ago

      Hello im doing my NHD project on how video games changed the way we use microprocessors can you help me with this?

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 5 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thanks for everyone reading and commenting. I published this on 09/06/2010. I have a few more recent links that I haven't yet had time to write about.

      Real Lives is a game that allows you to see what it's like to live as someone else from anywhere around the world. This link is a review of the game:

      This is dated 09/19/2011:

      Also for anyone else interested in the subject look up "Games with a purpose" or "For purpose games"

      Finally I am sorry for not checking in sooner, I have been concentrating on my own gaming website. From my personal experience I have learned more about video editing, website development, SEO and writing because of my love for video games.

    • profile image

      guestS 5 years ago

      great article! could you give me the date this was made so I can cite it?

    • profile image

      Brononymous 5 years ago

      This is a very good serthjsrdio like a wrinkly raaaaaaaayyyyyyyyysun!

    • profile image

      jh 5 years ago

      thank yoooooooou

    • profile image

      _Pancake72_ 5 years ago

      this helped me soo much on my power point on the evolution of video games!((:! gawsh, thank you!!

    • profile image

      VideoGameInformant 6 years ago

      Excellent article Evvy, as an avid gamer myself, I really enjoyed it. I'd enjoy reading your thoughts on the Xbox Kinect, as someone was telling me this evening that it was amazing. Ever tried it?

    • profile image

      Chee hee From Hawaii 6 years ago

      hey, this is good stuff. im using this site for my senior research paper. video games are very helpful, if there is balance and control. People say games are bad because there are people with low social life and gain weight. thats because they allowed it games to take over. they didn't balance it with real life. ahahahaha sad for them. but anyway, good post =) spread the word !!! 10010110100101101001010100100000110101101111010101

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 6 years ago from Athens, AL

      tecfreak, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Games have always captured my imagination and help inspired my desire to learn more.

      I wanted to be a video game developer at one point but I'm ending up a different way.

    • profile image

      tecfreak 6 years ago

      Well written!

      I couldn't agree more to it. More than half of 'general knowledge' comes from games and they were also a source of my technical knowledge. Games have always induced a kind of desire to learn in me, not just about the world but also about how they're made, the result- I'm a small hobby game dev today! Unfortunately in this part of the world where I live, they're seriously underrated.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 6 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thanks for commenting. A hardcore gamer is simply someone who plays a lot of different types of video games and knows alot about them and the history. What exactly or you against?

    • GamerKyleX profile image

      GamerKyleX 6 years ago

      Video games are really beneficial. It's kind of edutainment. However, I'm strongly against hardcore gaming.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 6 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thanks KoffeeKlatch, I'm starting to feel guilty for commenting on all your hubs, since you always leave a return comment. I love your opinions but I don't have even close to as many interesting hubs you do. lol

      I'm gonna have to catch up.

      games really have evolved into their own art form. There is very nearly something to please anyone, from cutesy fantasy, to hardcore shooter, and casual games that can be played for a few minutes at time.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Video games are the best thing to help children with their hand-eye coordination and memory. They may be adictive to them in a way but they certain can be also good for them in their way. You really know your stuff. Great job.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thank you so much ladyface, your positive comments really did the trick to cheer me up after a long day at work and a full day of negativity.

      Sounds, like a great reason to play CoD, my husband has gotten me addicted to black ops zombies. I'm usually bad at first person shooters but I'm getting better. I always enjoy playing CoD or GTA with him. If I had kids I'd be kicking their butts too. :D

    • L a d y f a c e profile image

      L a d y f a c e 7 years ago from Canada

      Awesome hub! I really enjoyed reading this. I've been a gamer since I fell in love with Mario. I haven't tried Kinect though. Thanks for the video, it looks really fun! I love how you've put this article together. So many people have been pushed into thinking that video games are the first step in social erosion by people like Jack Thompson who started out with a cause and turned it into an absurdity.

      I've seen kids do some amazing things, and know that a lot of their hand-eye coordination is owed to not only playing catch in the backyard, but video games. When Final Fantasy XI was released, it spawned a whole new playing field on which the entire world could come together to unite in a shared gaming experience. Learn to cooperate and how to get along. It really did help to promote the unification of our species as a whole. Then of course, entered WoW's mmorpg. I played it for a few years and loved it. The brain power and social skills alone are a good reason to try it. And, it's FUN! I no longer play, being a mom and wife have taken me down a peg to casual gamer lol.

      Thank you also for the information on the correlation between gaming and eyesight. I have an amblyopic right eye which means that even glasses can't correct my vision. I've stopped driving after dusk because I simply can not see anything at all. Even high beams don't help enough for me to be ok driving at night. I own CoD (of course) and you've given me a whole new reason to challenge my husband to an ass kicking marathon :p

      I love, love, love this article. You've got yourself a fan :)

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      It's ok. I understood that you were a gamer and it was just a typo.

    • profile image

      VidGameDude 7 years ago

      o my, i just realized the error i typed out...

      "i'm trying to convince a lot of people at my college that video games are as harmful as many would think."

      i meant to say they aren't as harmful as many would think.

      im all for games ^^;

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      You are welcome to quote whatever you would like. I've included links in the hub itself to most of the stuff I based my statements on.

      I loved playing Smash Brothers or Jetforce Gemini with my dad and siblings. Playing video games togethor continues to be a great way to bond with them and my husband. Online games leads to new ways to stay connected while blowing stuff up.

      As for anyone who still claims that video games are just mindless fun ask them to play a few rounds of Black Ops Zombies with you. Just yet another game that requires fast reactions, planning and teamwork. I've been in management for almost eight years and have gone through several training classes. Same skills apply.

      Good luck on your speech and I hope to know how it goes. As for now I'm going to hopefully squeeze in a couple games before going to work.

    • profile image

      VidGameDude 7 years ago

      Thank you kindly,

      its much appreciated that there is now hard facts instead of blatantly spoken word from whom they say "Research"...and none of that baseless conjecture spewed from the mouths of those overprotective types ¬_¬

      finally i find something worthy to read up on.

      may i quote some things from your article in a speech i'm giving? i'm trying to convince a lot of people at my college that video games are as harmful as many would think.

      again thank you!


    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Gosh really? Dont make me blush :) I spent about a week and a half on it. Thanks Xbox codes chick

      Shaolina, sorry that it's taken so long to comment and thank you. animaniacs is awesome and was perfect for people with a short attention span like me lol

      Arnold Galtine, sorry too. thanks for the comment and I will go check out the game soon as I can

    • profile image

      Xbox Codes Chick 7 years ago

      This is a well written article, actually one of the best I've seen here! I try not to let video games influence my life in a bad way.

    • profile image

      Arnold Galtine 7 years ago

      Very informative hub. Now i know that even playing video games have a positive benefits too. Seriously, I'm addicted in playing car games in check it out.

    • Shaolina profile image

      Shaolina 7 years ago from Puerto Rico

      First of all, as an animaniacs fan, I'm digging the Pinky and the Brain parody. As for the video game take over, I have to agree. It has come to a point that even my mother is playing with the Wii to do her work out.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Yes they are. Thanks for commenting!

    • Alpha Romeo profile image

      Alpha Romeo 7 years ago from ashwinspower .blogspot. com

      video games are definitly becoming a big part of the modern day world culture.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Action and first person shooter games are thought to stimulate the brain the most. But I'm really curious to how motion gaming will change things. Improve it enough and we will have games that can teach us martial arts, dance, and so on.

      I think rpgs and empire games have great benefits too. I played one computer games (3rd world? maybe) that required you to guide this one family through building a farm, and make them successful. I was doing fine until a corrupt government official overtaxed my family and they starved half the winter. At the end of the game, it explained the creator of the game wanted to show the corruption and hardship of that country. I can't even find it now to refresh my memory.

    • profile image

      Danny 7 years ago

      What type of games do you find most beneficial to the general public? I wrote a little blog post myself before finding your site and I'm interested in researching more on how games stimulate parts of the brain to generate creativity and other skills.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thanks for the video link. It was what I was trying to get across with video games are taking over the world. Reading about the army using video games to recruit and train gave me an uneasy feeling. A sort of real Ender's Game.

      Video games provide a lot of benefits but still we must be careful. And that doesn't exclude responsibility for our own personal actions.

    • profile image

      watch this.... 7 years ago

      watch this video... it will open your mind towards video games and reality....

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thank you paolo. Lost of people still think of games as a kid thing or even causing people to do bad stuff. But really people just don't want to take responsibility for their actions.

    • profile image

      paolo 7 years ago

      really helpful and informative article. it really helps those who see video games as a "bad thing" get a better view of gaming today

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      lol you surprised me, love you too :-)

    • profile image

      colt 7 years ago

      hey beautiful i love the article, its very informative. i know its your passion to be a writer and it should be,you're a natural at it. anyway i just wanted to leave you some love. love you baby

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      thanks lol. I included the pinky and the brain part because when I was writing the hub I kept thinking about how video games seem to be taking over society and I remembered the cartoon.

    • kaltopsyd profile image

      kaltopsyd 7 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

      Awesome Hub, Eevy! Thanks for the memory of the pinky and the Brain. I used to love that show! Oh and video games are definitely worthwhile. I agree with it all! Thanks for bringing the good aspects of gaming to everyone's attention.

    • evvy_09 profile image

      evvy_09 7 years ago from Athens, AL

      Thanks! I can't seem to find a good title for the hub though, I've already changed it twice lol. Writing it kinda got out of hand because I kept finding out more stuff about the topic so it does seem a little random.

    • profile image

      sord87 7 years ago

      There are certain times when we have to realise that playing games benefits our minds in terms of response and quick feedback to any required condtions.Probably most people never get to know deeply what are the video games will exactly increase our health too.Even though this never been research conduct but there are possibilities also video games can extend life too.You got a good point there that by playing video games can increase our eye sight and reducing errors.