The Current And Future Benefits Of Playing Video Games

1608 words - 7 pages

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 58% of Americans spend their free time in front of a gaming console, allowing the industry to earn $20.77 billion in 2012 alone.1 That would mean that the gaming industry generated almost twice as much income as the movie industry did in the same year ($10,84 billion).2 But even though the gaming business has grown notably and now contributes greatly to the economical welfare of the country, there are still people heavily opposing gaming as a way of spending free time, especially when it comes to young children and adolescents. In the public opinion, games exist as a medium that seemingly glorifies violence in addition to being strongly addictive and unproductive. However, up until the recent years the discussion has been very one-sided, calling for more evidence to defend against such claims. The time when we are finally able to say that there are, in fact, certain benefits to being a gamer, has finally come.
The first video games ever created owed their existence to the intense research on artifical intelligence conducted by the military in the early 1940s and were primarily assigned with evaluating strategies and tactics, as well as testing possibilities in human-computer cooperation. It was not until the 1970s that the first home console known as the Odyssey came to be, giving a beginning to a new brand of entertainment. Ever since then the years have seen the rise and fall of many game video game companies, which make the gaming industry one of the most dynamically changing.
In their history, video games faced accusations of being harmful to the mental condition of people enjoying them. Even parents held the developers responsible for stalling the cognitive development of their children. However, in 2011, Linda Jackson of the Michigan State University, conducted a research focused on obtaining data regarding the impact of playing video games on 12 years old children. As stated in her findings, children that took part in the experiment did much better on their Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (a test aimed at assessing the creative abilities of pre-adolescents by evaluating the originality of their drawings and short stories) than their peers who did not spend the time gaming.3 Aside from creativity, playing video games boosts one's motivational skills as well. According to Isabela Granic of the Dutch Radboud University, people who play video games regularly are more persistent in the pursuit of solutions to everyday problems.4 Video games, by offering small rewards such as experience points or gold, encourage players to chase after their ultimate goals while celebrating small victories and not giving up in the face of defeat. Moreover, video games are made to constantly challenge the gamer with new tasks, each one more complicated than the previous one, but with a difficulty level adjusted so that the player does not quit because of frustration or anxiety. In video games, failure is...

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