Video games was not born out all of a sudden. It was gradually evolved through years.
Video games gained mainstream popularity when arcade games made their way in the 70s and 80s. Speaking of arcade games, the late 1970s and early 1980s experienced an impressive boom in popularity, bringing in serious commercial success.
Specifically, the release of Space Invaders and Pac-man for arcade systems marked a new dawn for games.
As per Wikipedia, the development of video games began when computer scientists began to design simple video games, but it was revolutionized in the early 1990s when CD Rom started to become popular. Games began to be developed in 3D format which could be played using a computer’s microprocessors.
Then came pen drives, micro-SD, memory cards, everything which can be fitted into a wallet. As the means got smaller, the games got bigger. Games via PC, consoles like Play Station, X box were all the hot talks around the world. Then to cell phones and portables, gaming world was changing rapidly. Calling your friends shoot each other through your phones has been normalized. Games like PUBG and Call of Duty are great platforms for that.
Then we have the present day, where we are moving on to virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and technologies that is difficult for mere mortals like me to understand
Now this was a basic introduction on how video games came into effect. Let me move on to how video games have impacted today’s generation.
POSITIVE IMPACTS OF VIDEO GAMES
Positives? POSITIVES?? From playing video games? Now that’s a Check mate for Parents!!
But I’m not here to argue why we should play games, or ruling the positives over negatives.
But unlike alcohol and cigarettes, video gaming has, surprisingly, some positive effects on the players.
1. Enhances problem solving skills and creativity
Games with story lines or having different levels forces the players to use their brain to complete certain levels. It may take days, weeks, or even months, but they’ll always have a thought to get through the level. We start thinking for all the angles possible, kind of similar to solving a calculus problem, and finally clears the level. This shows sheer commitment and the ability to solve problems which would benefit them in real life.
2. Motor Skills and Hand to Eye Coordination
When I started to learn how to drive, I was like this guy in the picture. So excited. And when I finally started learning to drive, without any prior practical experience, my steering balance was impeccable. My dad, nor did the driving school instructor, had to teach me that. To my surprise, he told me “It might be because of the racing games that you play on the computer”. I was like “Did my dad just imply that video games are beneficial for me?” Then I recalled by experience when playing car racing games, and I realized how crucial it is in such games to maintain good steering balance, or else you could easily crash and burn. So, video games help in developing good motor skills and hand to eye coordination.
3. Working together as a team
Dr Rashmi Prakash, a certified psychologist, wrote on firstcry.com about how video games promote the gamers to work together with others as a team. One of the best examples is the world-famous game PubG. You can often hear the screams like “Revive me, revive me!” or “I’m out of Ammo!”, or “There’s a sniper on your left. Take him out!” Oh, the good times. Especially considering we were all locked down in our homes, it felt like we are all in a playground with everyone killing the bad guys together! A virtual paintball if you can imagine.
NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF VIDEO GAMES
So now the obvious side of playing video games. The reasons why our mother’s shoes travel from kitchen to our room when we are busy killing the enemies in our computer. The strong points for our parents when our academic performance isn’t satisfactory.
But seriously, have you ever thought whether they’re being unreasonable? Maybe, maybe not. But surely, video games has negatively impacted today’s generation. Let’s see how
1. Dopamine Addiction
- study published in the scientific journal Nature in 1998 showed that playing video games releases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. The amount of dopamine released while playing video games was similar to what is seen after injection of various stimulant drugs, leaving us wanting more and more, hence, developing a gradual addiction to the games.
Video Games deliver all the psychological rewards that we often seek to gain from the real world. What we want from video games is often very similar to what we want from life such as excitement, adventures, friendships, victories, and status. Games have found a way to serve that to us with little effort on our end.
2. Physical and Mental Issues
Eyestrain is a pervasive issue among gamers. It takes less efforts to stare at a notebook because the distance is constant, and the eyes know where to focus. However, on a video screen, the focus is continually changing, leading to eye fatigue. It becomes difficult for the eyes to focus on other objects, even after the gaming session is over.
A study done on Australian adolescents found that prolonged periods of sitting at a computer could alter their developing neuromusculoskeletal system. Posture problems are incredibly common among gamers. The body tries to obtain the least energy-demanding position when it finds itself in one spot for prolonged periods. As a result, rounded shoulders, head leaned forward, a curved lower back, and back and neck problems later in life are common among gamers.
You can have a healthy gaming habit and still maintain excellent performance at school or work. But due to the way games affect your brain, it is much easier to lose yourself in the virtual world than to try to tackle hardships in the real world.
3. Difficulty in sleeping and changed in sleep patterns
A 2012 study held by Flinders University suggests that gamers are likely to have trouble falling asleep. In the course of an experiment, it was established that those who played video games for 150 minutes or more at night experienced a delay in falling asleep of 39 minutes.
We tend to play games when we are supposed to get sleep, and sleep when we are not supposed to sleep, which would make it mess up a normal sleep schedule, which would be really hard to get back into.
Exposure to bright screens at night has physiological effects; preventing our bodies from producing melatonin which helps us get to sleep.
With that, we just covered the possible impact of video games
Video games are here to stay. It is you who should decide how it should affect you. You can choose to let it consume you, or you could use it to your advantage.
The video game industry is like a coin, having 2 sides; negatives and positives. And everything cannot be spoon fed to us. It is our duty as humans to know what’s right and what’s wrong. What’s good for you, what’s bad for you. Acknowledge the good, be cautious about the bad.
So, what are the takeaways here? Is it to start playing video games? Is to stop playing them? Is it to move forward with caution? I’ll leave that to you.
Video games are here to stay.