10 Excellent Reasons To Play Video Games

1. Experience An Art Medium Like No Other

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So far I€™ve spoken a lot about health/social benefits, but now I€™d like to take a moment to consider video games as a recreational activity. So easily reducible in the minds of their detractors, they are much more than €œpoint and shoot€, €œsolve the puzzle€ or €œwin the football match." Of course they are all of these things €“ but they are also much more. Video games can boast beautiful artwork, exhilarating musical scores, intriguing characters and exceptional plots. Unlike any other form of art in existence, they offer the combination of all of these different aspects combined with the satisfaction of experiencing them first hand €“ instead of watching James Bond defuse the bomb, you do it yourself. Instead of listening to someone else play the song, you play it yourself. The artwork of Okami is revealed by your own paint strokes (with the Wii-mote) on the screen, and the plot of Mass Effect is shaped to no small degree by your own choices throughout the experience. To dismiss video games as nothing but a childish toy is short-sighted; they can be music (but with images), art (but with sound), and encompass a great plot (but with choices). All of this, and more; video games can let players display their own creativity. Instead of simply enjoying the work of others, they can design their own maps or scenarios and improve their minds with competitive play. The limits of the medium are what we make them, and they€™re less and less restrictive each year. Prove It Much of what I€™ve said here is self evident, but the uses of simulation as a more effective form of learning than passive reception have been well documented. Video games, more than film or even books, can help us experience and memorise information. My girlfriend studies Art History and was quite surprised at the extent to which I could talk to her about Italian Renaissance Architecture. I hadn€™t studied it conventionally at any point, but I had played Assassin€™s Creed II, which features quite a faithful replication of Renaissance Italy (up to the point of including the buildings still in construction in the time period). I predict that the use of virtually simulated environments within education is going to sky rocket in the future, as climbing up to the top of The Santa Maria del Fiore will always be infinitely preferable to reading about it for the majority of school children.

Closing Thoughts:

After reading this article, one could be forgiven for thinking that gamers are some new race of super-humans. Obviously I€™m not trying to suggest that that€™s the case €“ only that gaming is a fun activity which has been shown to have social, medical and educational benefits. As with anything, it€™s only positive in moderation and there are also plenty of negative aspects to video games €“ which can potentially be socially isolating, might cause players to disassociate themselves somewhat from reality, and most of all, can be highly addictive. Video games should form part of a varied life style which also includes regular physical exercise and face-to-face human interaction; they shouldn€™t replace it. When used responsibly, however, they can have a positive impact on someone€™s life which extends far beyond time spent actually playing the games. What do you think about playing video games? Do they have a positive or negative effect on us? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Laurence Gardner was born in Canterbury, England. After moving around various cities during his childhood, and spending some time travelling in Europe and America, he studied English Literature at Oxford University. Since then, he’s been living abroad, teaching English, learning a range of languages, and writing in his free time. He can currently be found in Heidelberg, working as an English Tutor and Translator and studying at the University. If you liked this article, follow him on Twitter to get automatic updates on his work.