The age-old debate surrounding video games
>> What really is the final answer to, “Are video games good or bad?”
Published studies over the years have proven video games to have a negative impact on people. Although, you shouldn’t dismiss video game just yet.
Many other batches of research also prove that players have much to gain from playing video games. The Education Post even wrote about a game app that serves as an educational tool. So what really is the final answer to, “Are video games good or bad?”
Most of the criticism pointed at video games focus on the violence they contain. Many fear that violent video games can cause players to be aggressive in the real world. This was also concluded in a 2013 report by the American Psychological Association. It stated that aggression and violent behavior is an accumulation of risk factors and violent video game use is one such factor.
In fact, many studies have been conducted over the years to support the claim. But a new research published on Frontiers in Psychology has sought to disprove this when it found no connection between the long-term playing of violent video games and changes in empathy.
Putting violent behavior aside, video games were also claimed to affect the brain. A recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry revealed that first-person shooter games (which are also known for their violence) weaken the brains of young players. The research showed a loss of gray matter in the hippocampus after participants spent a total of 90 hours playing first-person shooters.
Because of the results, scientists behind the experiment advise exerting caution when encouraging adults to play action video games. This is worrying news, given that two first-person shooter titles, namely Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Battlefield 1, were the best-selling video games of 2016.
However, the same study also examined participants who played 3D platformer Super Mario games in a similar time period. The MRI scans showed that these players gained gray matter in their hippocampus. With this, the study’s lead scientist suggests that the designs of video games may have a role in affecting the brain.
A good example to support this statement is a game called NeuroRacer, which has driven memory improvement and attention among older adults, according to The Daily Beast’s report. This particular research was spearheaded by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco. Since the design of the game required players to multitask, the results showed significant improvement in older adults’ cognitive skills.
Because playing video games is a leisurely activity, it can be a form of stress relief. One study discovered that playing a casual video game during 5-minute breaks at work lowered the participants’ stress levels and improved their mood and cognitive performance.
The best resolution to this is to ensure that gamers play responsibly and in moderation
In terms of game design, casual games aim to keep players relaxed and therefore have to be easily accessible. For example, Spin Genie has a roster of mobile slot games that are easily accessible on-the-go and this form of gaming has become extremely popular due to its convenience. These games place very little emphasis on complex gameplay so are easy for players to consume in short windows. Therefore, when the need to reduce stress arises, players can just connect to the Internet and play the games like the aforementioned slots to take their mind off work. That’s also why mobile apps like Candy Crush have become so popular to play.
So in conclusion, are video games bad for us in the long-term? It depends.
Since many different types of video games exist, it is difficult and also unfair to make general statements about them. It is best to keep an open mind on the subject as you’ll see by the findings above that there are many studies that fight both sides of the argument. The best resolution to this is to ensure that gamers play responsibly and in moderation.