Jeremy Puhrmann Page 1Mr. Patrick JohnsonComposition 112/08/17Research: Video Games Everything that we use or do can have a double sided edge to it. The same applies to video games, and all their implications. But the true question should be how many advantages outweigh the disadvantages of using video games for more than just pure entertainment? This question would be answered differently depending on who you ask for the answer, but I believe otherwise. The public opinion has changed since the first gaming system from the 1960's. I wish to argue against those that say video games are nothing but trouble, by using published information that has been done by research groups who can support my case. The information will cover over medicinal usage, economic effect, educational potential, behavioral impact, cultural effect, technological advancement, and social effect. The first arcade game, Nutting, in 1971 was considered to difficult to play by the public opinion, but as time went on, the next game Pong was considered a success. Between the 50's and early 70's, video games were having a good public standing, but then video games were met with a negative reputation. Games like Death Race, Custer's Revenge, Phantasmagoria, and Night Trap were outright banned permanently due to public outcry, and the content they represented. Luckily, Mortal Kombat didn't fall to this because it was only scrutinized by the public, which led to the found of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) to avoid government regulation. Due to ESRB being established, all gaming companies had to send all games to be rated for the appropriate age groups, and no store could sell these games unless they were ESRB approved. In 1999 after the Columbine Massacre, the victims' families filed federal lawsuits to 25 entertainment companies for the deaths of their children. This, however, was dismissed in 2002, just like the next case with similar allegations in 1997. After nearly 30 years of suffering a bad reputation, a study was released by M.D. and Ph.D. David Satcher stated that violent school shootings centers around mental stability and quality of home, not from media exposure. Contrary to what anti-gamers think, video games do have an effect on our bodies and minds that can be used for medical intentions. Video games have been used to distract acute or chronic pain (23,24). They may also represent an effective vehicle to provide health education (19): they've been developed to educate individuals about f?re and street safety(25), knowledge and self-management of diabetes (26,27), and self-management of asthma (28-30). Video games have potential value in other health-related areas, such as supporting psychotherapeutic treatment (31), improving self-esteem (32), conflict resolution (33), and improve spirometric (tests lung function) measurement (34). Additionally, they've been used in an effort to enhance cognitive or physical skills of healthcare providers, such as training surgeons in endoscopic (35,36). Page 2 Page 3Of course, there's even more use of video games in medicine. Several research projects have explored the use of video game interventions that allow interaction via physical movement, such as the Nintendo Wii (17), and camera-based devices such as Microsoft's Kinect (18) and PlayStation Eyetoy(19), which have had encouraging results. One study of a Wii-Fit exercise programme for children with cerebral palsy (CP) showed improved balance and functional walking after a 12-week regimen of bi-weekly sessions,20 while another demonstrated efficacy in engaging children with CP in moderate exercise with Wii-Sports and Kinect games (21). In a study of children undergoing rehabilitation therapy for burns, both the Wii-Sports and Eye Toy from PlayStation, provided a motivational framework described to ''enhance user's effort, facilitate physical recovery, and improve adherence with therapy'', demonstrating therapeutic potential to improve range of motion and muscular endurance using commercially available games (22). If you can interact with it, you can possibly learn something you didn't already know. Research dating to the early 1980s has consistently shown that playing computer games produces reductions in reaction times, improves hand-eye coordination, and raises players' self-esteem. Some evidence suggests that important skills may be built or reinforced by video games. For example, spatial visualization ability (i.e., mentally, rotating and manipulating two- and three-dimensional objects) improve with video game playing (9). Videogames were more effective for children who started with relatively poor skills. It has been Page 4 suggested that video games may be useful in equalizing individual differences in spatial skill performance. In well-designed games, players only advance to higher levels by testing a range of strategies. Many games allow users to modify difficulty levels and other environmental variables, thus fostering insight the constructed nature of all simulations. Games such as The Sims and Grand Theft Auto teach principles of representation, semiotics, and simulation in situated, experiential ways that cursory exposure to works of intricacies the design of imagined worlds and the design of both real and imagined social relationships and identities in the modern world (p. 48). In addition to the social character, MMOs (Massive Multiplayer Online games) are uniquely engaging environments. In a recent study of 30,000 players, Yee (2006) found that 70% spent at least 10 hours in a virtual world in one sitting. Many researchers have observed players intensively involved with the video-games display characteristics of the psychological state that Milahy C. (1990) had termed the "flow of experience." To understand the cause behind video game violence, you have to consider if the person playing is behaviorally balanced enough to handle any sort of negative feedback. Here are four brief facts about video game violence: 1)Children mimic the aggressive actions of the parents. 2) Games have appeared to be effective teachers of attitudes. 3) There's no evidence between playing violent video games and perpetrating violent acts. 4) When fighting other children or people, they're more akin to play than to violence. The greatest worry is the impact on children who are already at risk. "Media is most powerful in our lives when Page 5it reinforces our existing values," media scholar Henry Jenkins, now at the University of Southern California, said in a 2003 episode of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. Indeed, Jenkins argued in an essay for PBS, a child who responds to a video game the same way he or she does to a real-world trauma could be showing symptoms of an emotional disturbance. So used in the right setting, a violent game could actually serve as a diagnostic tool. Change in the world sometimes comes from the most unlikely source, art, and video games can take artwork to a whole new level. Video games, such as books or movies, have avid users who made this form of media central to their lives. In the early 1970s, programmers got together in groups to play Spacewar!, spending a great deal of time competing in a game that was rudimentary compared to modern games (Brand). As arcades and video game consoles gained in popularity, youth culture quickly adapted to this type of media, engaging in competitions to gain high scores and spending hours at the arcade or with the home console. "Geek" was to people who were adept at technology, but lacking in the skills that tended to make one popular, like fashion sense or athletic ability. Many of these people, because they often didn't fare well in society, favored imaginary worlds, such as those in the fantasy and science fiction genres. Video games were appealing because they were both a fantasy world, and a means to excel at something. As video games became more mainstream, and video game skills began to be desired by a large number of people, the popular idea of geeks changed. It's now common to Page 6see the term "geek" used to mean a person who understands computers and technology. This former slur is also prominent in the media, with headlines in 2010 such as "Geeks in Vogue: Top Ten Cinematic Nerds (Sharp, 2010)."Of course, video games have left an impression upon other media types. Television programs based on video games were an early phenomenon. Pac-Man, Pole Position, and Q*bert were among the animated programs that aired in the early 1980s. In the later 1980s, shows such as The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and The Legend of Zelda promoted Nintendo games. In the 1990s, Pokémon, originally a game developed for the Nintendo Game Boy, was turned into a television series, a card game, several movies, and even a musical (Internet Movie Database). Other than the first gaming system that led to technological era we live in now, there are other things the entertainment systems have brought about. Video game technology started in 1889 with Nintendo, which actually created playing cards in Japan until it reached America. The first computer game wasn't Pong or Tennis in 1958, but Tic-Tac-Toe in 1952 at the University of Cambridge. An even more significant event in 1964, when a Hungarian-American mathematician John Kemeny, former research assistant to Albert Einstein, co-develops the basic computer programming language that led to the making of video games. Magnavox Odyssey, the very first gaming console that could be played at home, was known as the father of video games in 1972. After the 70s, the 80 and 90s were considered some of greatest revelations to the ever growing, technological image of today. The applications and some of the most advanced, complex tech we have today wouldn't have been possible without video games intervention. In our society, experts have come to other conclusions, ferociously arguing that video games have no link to violence. Modern Warfare 2, for example, has been criticized for violent content, but "it's not going to cause change in adult behavior" (Barnett 2009), says Professor Mark Griffiths. The professor explained that "there's no definitive proof, or research to show that violent games make adults behave any more violently than what they can already do" (Barnett, 2009), adding that "younger gamers, typically under the age of eight, tend to be more influenced by games and what they see on screen. They usually try and mimic what they have watched on the big screen. However adults, which this game is certified for, have already formed their cognitive sensibilities, and will not usually start acting differently because of a videogame" (Barnett 2009). Although these justifications sound reasonable, they overlook the ease with which children can access violent and adult rated games. Everything that has already been said about the benefits of video games is only the tip of the iceberg. Everyday, there is more and more research and testing being done to find more and more applications that video games can perform to further benefit our world. If you still have doubts, I recommend that you search for the answers yourself on trusted, certified, published research articles or reports that can explain in detail. Page 7
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