Free «Playing the Game» Essay Sample

People are playing games every day. It can be said that people cannot live without doing it, particularly youth and kids. One of the popular ways of gaming is playing video games. From the very first appearance of video games there are a lot of discussions about its use by individuals, especially children. The discussion moved from the first game to how to minimize its impact on gamers, and whether it is necessary to use it. This paper argues about the use of video games, and whether it is diminished or not. This work also opens a wider discussion of the impact of violent video games and shows some beneficial aspects of games.

Historical context

Video games are developing and changing every day. First video game originated in 1960s, but it was not good enough, and as a result the developers continued to work on it. Next variant appeared in 1970s. It was a common approach with transparent background and a small percent of violence. That game was created for entertainment and development of thinking and acceleration of one’s reaction. One of the most important factors was that these games were made for home playing, but, as a result of poor quality and non-powerful computers, these games failed.  All miscarriages were developing through following decades and, consequently, from the mid – 1990s games underwent significant changes. They had a better quality, background information became clear, besides, computers got better, which made video games more needed to occupy one’s time. Most popular games were Street Fighter II, Mortal Combat, NBA Jam and others. Computer companies did not stop on achieved progress and continue improving their products. As a result, present generation has high quality computer software. If to talk about video games, producers have attained a tremendous success with the product. This area is continuing to grow, even today.

What is the video game?

The video game is an electronic game that requires computer or video device and human being to receive any feedback. Many scholars say that games identify the form of art, however, when one is playing this or that game, he/ she creates their own solution for the situation, besides, often there can be more than one right choice. Nowadays a lot of  people use a verb “form” to distinguish the game because it consists of many different genres (for instance, action, role-playing, shooter), not only the game itself. Video games are the result of hard work of many people like writers, technicians, musicians and others. Some researchers say that games are another kind of media technology as it can be used on a television screen or a computer. The game companies must pay attention to the age category and the country where this product will be sold.

Violence in video games

From the very outset, people debate whether computer games are appropriate or not. On one hand, one says that there is no damage for people who are playing games. On the other hand, there is a contrasting opinion that states that games cause negative impact on those who are playing them. Many psychologists claim that video games have a detrimental impact on people. Cybernetic space becomes a real life, for instance, when a child, or an inexperienced person come through something difficult in his or her life, the good opportunity to avoid this unpleasant moment is to immerse in an imagine world. Where he or she can maintain complete separation from the outside world and develop themselves in the video space, winning the rounds and forming own behavior. It is influencing position by reforming social and family values. It is terrible to think that person can act aggressively, killing different characters and receiving satisfaction out of it. A person may not even notice this, but it would form subconsciously and would operate his mind, but some researcher’s claim that this is an intentional act. Olson gives a vivid example of this phenomenon when a young player of Grand Theft Auto created his own way of playing – he was driving on a taxi around the town and running over pedestrians to get new passengers (Olson, 2010).

One of the most dangerous games is role-playing when a gamer plays a role of the main character. As a result, person does not know where the truth is because he/ she lives as two different people: I am virtual and I am real. Furthermore, many psychologists claim that such genre of video games as shooting, which was initially created for military people, is dangerous for children and youth. According to this research, people who play shooting genre of games get crueler and learn how to kill.

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A group of researchers recently made a survey about the effect of video games on a person’s mind. A group of people aged from 18 to 29 were asked to play violent video games for at least 10 hours per day. They were playing games for 10 consecutive days, but researchers had to stop the experiment due to the decline of an emotional brain activity.  In opposition to this statement, another research center summarized their project claiming that nearly 97 % of young people are playing violent video games, and they are not under the influence. Furthermore, Ferguson says that some scholars examined that children, who often play games are more mature compared to their counterparts who do not play any games (Ferguson 70).        

Good aspect of video games

The majority of people think only about negative aspects of video games and hardly believe that there are some positive outcomes of gaming. There is the most basic problem of how the term violence is defined by the various social scientists. Many scientists say that games are a form of edutainment. They often have the main idea that is centralized in the game narrative. It can be everything: from one hero to the group of heroes, or it can be deductive based on some book or a story. However, there are games with another narrative presented, for instance, situation when little children stay at home alone and protect their home from something evil. Further, there are games focusing on the importance of super hero: Spider-Man, Beyond Good and Evil and others.   

While playing any game, almost all skills are used. Person should think how to behave during the game and what is better to do at the precise moment. One of the important aspects of playing is the use of mental skills. For instance, following game instructions, quick thinking, developing math skills and reading are excellent examples of cognitive skills. Gamer should think of a strategy and develop the ways to solve problems in the game. Besides, he or she sometimes should work in a team which helps to develop community spirit. Moreover, person trains his brain memorizing the steps, which he should follow, all routes and maps that may help later. Playing video games favor children to pour out their aggression and negative attitudes and thoughts that they have.

Video games present children with the world of technology and especially with a computer. It is extremely important to take advantages of children’s desire for games and teach them different subjects using games. A bright example of using video games in class gives Lucas Gillispie, describing their school course WoWinSchool: A Hero’s Journey. He describes the course for eights grade and confirms its progressive results (Gillispie 25). Some researchers, such as Steinkuehler, Williams, Duncan, espouse similar a notion and show that WoW may improve reading and writing skills among boys who were not interesting in these activities before (Steinkuehler, in press; Steinkuehler& Duncan, 2008; Steinkuehler & Williams, 2006). In spite of these facts, children may drop studying because they sometimes lose the interest in subjects without using any computer device. 

 Intellectual games help the person to develop critical thinking and reaction speed while playing. There are games that replicate the environment as in a real world. Such games help thinking strategically.

Can video games be addictive?

Many people say that video games are addictive. It depends on the attitudes that a person has - to be addicted to games or not. Very often youngsters have an addiction of playing games, and it is a serious problem, because they can do whatever they can do to play one more time. For instance, children may spend all pocket money they have on games or even resort to stealing, or even take something to sell and buy PlayStation for this money. Besides, as in each addiction, children may become irritated and mentally unstable.

The general question is whether computer companies make games with the goal of children becoming addicted to it. Some producer says that while making the game they think about different details and contents which would compile customer’s attention and, even more, make him come back to this game again and again. 

Games are interesting creation of computer sphere, and they remind of the casino, where people are spending large sums of money but winning a little or in worst case - losing everything. According to Klimmt and Hartmann, before starting to play gamer should read and know the main idea of the game (Klimmt & Hartmann, 2006 ). There are some tricks in the system of the game, for example, the high score. When people are playing games, they want to achieve the highest score possible and they may choose to play until they reach it. The role playing can be another example, as someone can choose any character he would like and continue growing him as long as possible.

Optional treatment for video games addiction

Addiction it is an illness and, similar to other cases of addiction, no one would agree with problems that they face. It is easier to escape or not to accept this. Boys become victims of game addiction, because they may create an imagine world where they would spend all the time, and not face the real world. Children forget how interesting it is to communicate face to face with different people. The point is that child cannot have only virtual friends from another country, but there should be real friends with whom it is possible to go out every time he would like.

 It would be better to go to a therapist and talk with him about this problem. Another option can be summer camp, which may help to come back to real life.


People are playing video games because they are enjoyable are rewarding. Children who play games have a lot in common with their friends or neighbors, who also enjoying playing. Sometimes, video games can be crucial for a gamer, because he or she can be addicted to this activity and it is difficult to deal with this problem. Nevertheless, there are a lot of positive aspects of playing games. For instance, when teachers use games during the classes it increases productivity among the students. Apart from this, games help to develop different skills that make individual think and behave better. In spite of educational effects, there is a lot of violence in the games. Violent games may show action and death during the session which has a destructive influence on a person. Gaming makes people’s lives more colorful, but they should not forget that there is a real life outside the game with its extraordinary opportunities.


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