video games: misjudged

“Judgment is often no more than a confession of ignorance.” – Bill Clegg

Video games are often a topic which is debated over and I find it to be a topic which is commonly misjudged. Are these games negative and damaging- causing our youth to suffer and something that corrodes their minds? Or, more promisingly, are they potentially a source of providing lifelong messages and a way of developing essential skills?

On the surface level, when glancing at some video games, we’re looking at bloodied corpses, rifles, flashing colors, and useless characters sprinting across the screen. A conclusion is quick and judgment is easy- anyone is able to question the usefulness of these games. Is this a good use of someone’s time? Instead of playing, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to read? To study?

Popular multiplayer shooter game, “VALORANT”

Video games appeal to large audiences of youth and adults due to the difficulties involved with them. When competing against other players to win, it isn’t a situation that lacks challenge- but all players competing are focused and are actively strategizing and utilizing logic to succeed. Multiplayer games often call for teamwork, and this teamwork is defined by individuals performing to the best of their own abilities to support each other. In many common shooter games, though they seem to be pointless and brain-numbing, they actually often involve patience, correct reflex, logic, and communication if a player would want to improve. Specifically in this example of a shooter game, a player hoping to succeed, will have to logically conclude and estimate where their enemies are, warn and direct their teammates of potential danger, and execute plans and actions out to perfection. Even in a visually simple shooter game, players involved will have to critically think and improve their skills regardless of playing a game.

The judgment of these games by pure glances and quick conclusions isn’t effective or true. People can only see a inch of the vast expanse of what a video game can offer to people. These games are able to train our youth’s decision-making skills and often emphasize on the importance of teamwork and collaboration when on the path to victory. The ability to make correct and impactful decisions is important in life, as well as the idea of teamwork and collaboration. Jobs involving meetings, collaboration, and communication are supported by video games- where games often give players difficult choices to make and urgent events to be solved.

Strategy, analyzation, and problem-solving are also prominent skills which are essential in later life. Where someone wants to resolve an issue in their company job? Or trying to solve problems while developing a program or software? Strategy and analyzation is required. A popular genre of games, MOBA, often involves much strategy and encourages players to utilize the most of the information they are given to defeat their enemies. Every moment in the game moves quickly and players are required to constantly monitor the movements of their enemies and communicate with their team to strategize ways to destroy the other team. These games often involve logic and reasoning on what type of play style to use and also rely heavily on team synergy.

Popular MOBA game, “League of Legends”

To show the importance of a team, utilization of resources and information, and quick reasoning, I saw that the short film, “Scavengers,” had all of this. The astronaut characters featured in the film are subject to using organic creatures as tools to circumnavigate around their world and gain information. They use much strategy and much planning to achieve their goals of glimpsing human life on Earth. The teamwork between the two astronauts is essential to succeed in their mission and both perform to their best ability and in sync. All of these skills and the logical thinking portrayed are supported by the potential learning achieved from video games.

The short film, Scavengers

We can feel defeated in video games, if strategies don’t work out as planned or when we don’t work well with our teammates. The game can feel like it’s playing against us and there’s nothing we can do to obtain victory again. But when we begin to gain traction and success inches closer to us, we can make a return and make a comeback to our journey. This similar situation is something I found was reflected in a documentary on the life of Josh Spencer, Welcome to The Last Bookstore and how he was able to completely turn his life around. Spencer was paralyzed in an accident and he questioned his place in the world, asking himself “how I [he] could succeed in this world and how I [he] could have a family.” But with his family, he brought himself back and he was able to continue through with his life and succeed in his goals.

The short documentary, Welcome to The Last Bookstore

With video games, along with the development of skills and critical thinking, relaxation and stress relief is one of the major factors which drives people to play. Video games provide youth and adults with a chance to have fun with their friends online and participate in sometimes simple activities for entertainment. Competition is not necessary to playing games, but exploration and having fun is often seen as necessary. I found that in a short documentary about Blair Somerville’s life, Lost and Found, Somerville enjoys his life to the fullest, using the resources around him to craft new and unique inventions, which correlates to having fun playing video games and exploring within them.

Video games are able to provide youth essential skills for their later life as well as provide developments to teamwork and collaboration. Stress-relief is also a important factor in the benefits of video games, where players can have fun with friends and play noncompetitive games. The potential source of learning from video games is usually overshadowed by claims on how it will always be negative and harmful to growth and useless to adults. We can gain a new perspective.

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