In Defense of Video Games

Posted: September 12, 2015 by Embracing Adventure in Gaming
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In Defense of Video Games Image Created using Canva.comI first wrote a post defending video games toward the end of 2010 when people were upset that the Boy Scouts had started offering a belt loop and academics pin for video games. People were complaining it would distract from other things kids should be doing, that it encouraged children to be inactive rather than active, and that it wasn’t challenging or encouraging children to use their brains. The Boy Scouts still have them, so people must have gotten over it, or at least not been able to impact the decision. However, those complaints are things I’ve heard before and since about video games in general, so I thought today, in honor of National Video Games Day, I would return to the topic.

Although it’s ideal to have a well-rounded life and too much of anything, really, can be a bad thing, even if someone’s only interest was video games, he or she could still have a variety of experiences based on the vast selection of game types and systems available. Some of my favorite games are action/adventure console games with a definitive end-point, which I tend to play in solo campaigns. Others prefer open-ended computer games that require careful strategy and cooperation with several other players. These are just two options made up of a few competing variables, and there are many more variables and many more ways to combine them. Even the argument that video games encourage one to be sedentary is moot if the person has a Wii or another system or add-on for which many games are available that requirement movement.

Far from encouraging mindless entertainment, video games can be educational. I remember Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?, which taught geography and reference skills. Perhaps it was, in part, playing that game that has contributed to my love of adventure and travel (which I write about here). I also played Mario’s Time Machine, which taught history. Both history and geography were taught by the various games in the Oregon Trail series. More recently, I started learning to play guitar with Rocksmith.

Even games that aren’t geared toward learning are not necessarily mind-numbing. Some games involve puzzles, which encourage critical thinking and problem solving. Many involve finger dexterity and hand-eye coordination. Some require quick-thinking and a fast response. Others require patience and careful planning. Some require map-reading and memorization of details. If you’re playing with someone, you can practice team work and learn the value of cooperation. If you’re playing against someone, you can develop healthy competitive habits and learn to be both a gracious loser and a humble winner.

I could probably keep going with examples and reasons that video games, in general, can contribute positively to someone’s life. However, I still have one more way to celebrate video games before bed: playing Bioshock from which, if nothing else, I am getting to practice patience and handling frustration. Prior to this, I posted about female video game characters and body image and shared Borderlands-inspired quilling. Overall, I’d call it a pretty successful National Video Games Day.

Phoenixx Phyre

How did you celebrate National Video Games Day? What are your thoughts about the value of video games? Let us know in the comments below.

  1. […] on another video game to be the subject of a quilled piece. On Fantasy Rantz, I’m sharing a post in which I defend the playing of video games. And here? I decided to respond to something that came […]

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