Busting Video Game Myths: Video Games are a Waste of Time - missharvey | ÉLEVEY
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Busting Video Game Myths: Video Games are a Waste of Time

It is no surprise that there are many myths surrounding the complex world of video games. Video games are among some of the most misunderstood forms of entertainment. Gamers can often give the impression that they’re addicted to the screen, absorbed in what seems like the digital equivalent of addiction. At best, video games may seem like a pointless thing to do, especially to people who don’t play them. If we take a little more time to uncover and study the true nature of video games, though, we find a very different perspective. Video games are not a waste of time… in fact, they are quite the opposite. 

Let’s start with something familiar: athletes often get recognized for their skill sets. For example, in 2019 Lionel Messi took home 104 million dollars for playing soccer. We praise athletes like Messi for their achievements in sports without batting an eyelash. Video gamers are also athletes, but of a different kind. Pro video gamers use their high level of skills to achieve their success and meet performance goals similar to sport athletes. However, they do not get the same kind of recognition and praise that sports athletes get. People often urge gamers to go outside and find other skills when in reality gaming is a true skill that is deserves our respect.

Video games require that players possess various and specific skillsets. Mechanical and strategic skills are at the top of the list. Mechanical abilities require a high level of accuracy and aim. They are considered a technical skill similar to learning how to play the piano. While strategic skills require more thinking and analyzing, usually under pressure and a time-crunch. Video games possess a creative power that makes them more intricate than they appear. As novelist and games designer Naomi Alderman mentioned in a radio interview back in 2013: “While all art forms can elicit powerful emotions, only video games can make their audience feel the emotion of agency.” Video games place the player at the center of the story, making them an active participant, instead of a passive observer. Game story lines are not static or basic. Much like real life scenarios, they are dynamic and constantly evolving, which requires adaptability, foresight and good communication from the players.

Much like traditional sports, the esport industry is a billion dollar industry creating high paying jobs for gamers and game developers. Pro video game players are signed to million dollar contracts, and subjected to strict training regiments that go beyond game time to things like fitness, nutrition, sleep science and more. For some people, video games are their careers and ambitions. For others, it’s a world where they can try out scenarios, take on novel problem solving and interact with people. Positive interactions online, within a healthy digital community have been shown to combat social isolation as well, which is so important in the age of pandemics and lockdowns.

Time to reject the video game assumptions and stigma and pay attention to the emerging science of the benefits of video games. As video games become more mainstream and as millennials continue to game into adulthood, game genres increasingly explore key complex issues around race, sustainability and social justice. This is an exciting time to be a gamer, and we hope you embrace it as much as we do!

Citation:

Collis, William. “How Video Game Skills Can Get You Ahead in Life.” TED Talks, Oct. 2020, www.ted.com/talks/william_collis_how_video_game_skills_can_get_you_ahead_in_life/transcript?language=en#t-214132.

Etchells, Pete. “Five Damaging Myths about Video Games – Let’s Shoot ’em Up.” The Guardian, 16 Apr. 2020, www.theguardian.com/games/2019/apr/06/five-damaging-myths-about-video-games-lets-shoot-em-up.

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