Over the years of its existence, gaming has encouraged nothing but peace. Throughout history, there have been countless things that become antagonized. Whether it be types of dances, music genres or media. It seems like every time something new comes around it is inevitably misunderstood. One big form of media that has been misunderstood is gaming. In recent years many people have made claims that video games have been the root violent acts that have taken place. Video games are fun, creative, bring joy and encourage positivity. Some of the best selling games are neither mature nor violent. Recent statistics have proven that gaming has had no correlation with crime rates. The false accusations are made by people that do not really know what they are talking about. Most have never even picked up a controller themselves. The majority of them are just out of touch completely.
As mentioned by Adhiti Bandlamudi, “like many myths, it’s commonly repeated. On Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was interviewed on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures in the wake of the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.” (Bandlamudi 3). The lies and false facts are constantly repeated. It scares those who also do not have the first-hand experience into believing their claims as facts. People are being brainwashed into believing these things through constant repetition. Violence is not meant to be encouraged from gaming nor does it do so at all. Like many things, there is a community behind gaming. Within the community itself, there are smaller communities consisting of many specific things. They can be based on game series, genres, specific games, even down to specific characters. These different things bring harmony. They bring mass amounts of people together from all over the world. Especially in events like PAX- East, E3, EVO or just normal gaming tournaments. Events like those showcase and celebrate everything gaming. No matter if the gaming experience is casual or competitive, differences mean nothing. They encourage fans to get together and enjoy the things they love. Video games also promote creativity. Games like Minecraft, Super Mario Maker, Dreams and Little Big Planet, are all famous for giving the players great amounts of creative power. Those kinds of games help the player make almost anything they desire. Some even give enough control to reinvent the games itself, or even make games within the games. All different types of creations can be shared and played all around the world. The creativity and community provide for each other. The never-ending cycle of imagination and inspiration keeps the positivity in gaming alive. Gaming is also known to relieve stress rather than encourage violence. Especially with the creatively focused ones previously mentioned. Some games can just put players in a peaceful or tranquil state. Games can be calming for multiple reasons like their puzzles, music and sometimes simple challenges or tasks. Some Video games are simply designed to be peaceful as well. According to ProCon.org, “A peer-reviewed study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that children, especially boys, play video games as a means of managing their emotions: ‘61.9% of boys played to ‘help me relax,’ 47.8% because ‘it helps me forget my problems,’ and 45.4% because ‘it helps me get my anger out.’ (Youth Violence? 6). Some gamers just play video games to feel better. Even the younger generation which usually gets video games blamed by the media does so.
The community aspect of gaming does play a big part in creating positivity. Gaming gets millions of people involved in something. Something that matters to them, something important, something that they all collectively care for. Things like the previously mentioned events, characters, and franchises. Those beloved things draw people together constantly. All communities within gaming can come together in person at a single place, or anywhere across the globe through online play. People are involved by playing games or even watching others play. There are countless ways someone can get involved in the gaming community. In some genres of gaming, there are two main communities. The two are known as the competitive and casual communities. Although competitive players can sometimes be extremely serious especially if they play for a living, they still have respect for casuals that play just for pure fun. People within the gaming community have mutual respect for each other no matter their views on the medium. Pretty much everyone is welcome. With the help of the internet and online play, it is really easy to spread the mass of positivity. Gamers share their creations, achievements, gameplay, experiences, and stories. This is all done through social media platforms and platforms provided within the games themselves. The constant flow of sharing these things help many people grow.
There are many people that would not associate gaming with personal growth. Gaming can help a lot of people grow, especially during our early years of life. There have been many accurate studies that have proven that video games help children develop. They help expand their imaginations, which leads to more creativity, and that leads to a stream learning. Although there are plenty of educational games for kids, there are a lot that have educational aspects without meaning to do so. Like problem-solving, logical, puzzle or creative games as mentioned previously. Games like Tetris, Minecraft, or even The Legend of Zelda can make for some good cognitive training. The Association For Physiological Science noted that violence or difficulty within gaming has no such effects to cause violent behavior (Study Finds 2). Although some people get angry over the challenges in gaming it is alright. The same thing happens with real-life challenges. Challenges can make us angry but are not something that makes humans violent. Players always get out of the frustrated state eventually. Games are designed to be challenging, completed and rewarding. Games are designed to be rewarding whether it is the sounds, music, achievements, or trophies. People enjoy feeling rewarded after beating the challenges. Just when they think they reach their limit, they begin to push further. They start to notice patterns or gain techniques. They all begin to grow. The cognitive training can be especially great for someone’s mental health.
Just like anything else, gaming has an effect on mental health. For the most part of what reliable researchers have found, it has a positive impact for multiple reasons. The challenges within video games clearly help our thinking abilities. Along with the creativity but, creativity also aids stress relief. The peacefulness and positivity helps a lot. Many games just have simple challenges to overcome or calming music. The tone of a game can really affect the mood of someone. For the most part, it is usually relaxing to play videogames in general. It is part of a lot of what most people consider leisure time. Although some people can become aggressive, no one ever really gets violent. “many people had aggressive thoughts simply because they lost When they have conducted more nuanced studies to explore these other hypotheses, they have found that the violence was not the critical variable.”, claimed Andrew Fishman (Fishman 2). A lot of gamers just gain stress relief from playing. It is similar to reading a book, watching a movie or television show. The countless rewards and awards also help. They bring happy and positive feelings after achieving a goal or completing a challenge. Everyone enjoys being rewarded and feeling it too. It helps a player feel confident, accomplished, productive and positive. Although many of these things are true, there will still be people that give gaming a bad reputation.
Gaming’s true colors deserve to be shown and can be. In the end, it is just down to all of the repetition of false information. The lies of many people have given video games the bad look it has to some people. Many of the claims are backed by poorly performed experiments. Over the years people have said multiple studies prove video games cause violence. As it turns out, all of those studies are poorly performed. They are known to not give enough playtime to the test subjects. The researchers just use the noted aggression seen by some players and just say it makes them violent. Sean Rife noted, “universities and grant agencies such as the National Institute of Health take a rather dim view of experimental research that results in actual acts of violence being inflicted on others.” (Rife 2). In the properly performed studies that have been done, it is shown that the variable of violence is never found. Sure players got frustrated but no one was ever violent. If more studies were properly preformed it would show everyone what gaming is really like. The simplest way to open someone’s eyes is for them to pick up a controller, and play for themselves. After a good while of trying different games, they will eventually understand. Especially if they get involved in the community, or find something they really enjoy, they will reveal the truth to themselves. They could spread the word of that truth and help others at least get a better perspective on gaming.
There are many things that are misunderstood throughout society’s existence. Without these new things, we would not really grow so much. There would not be much change, creativity, learning, inspiration, sharing or any joy. Video games bring all of those things to the table. Video games do a lot of different things cause many emotions. But one thing video games will never be proven to cause is violence.
- Fishman, Andrew. “Blame Game: Violent Video Games Do Not Cause Violence.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 16 July 2019.
- Bandlamudi, Adhiti. “Debunking The Video Games Cause Gun Violence Myth.” WAMU, WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio, 27 Aug. 2019.
- “Do Violent Video Games Contribute to Youth Violence?” Procon, 7 Sept. 2018.
- “Study Finds No Evidence That More Violent, Difficult Video Games Spur Aggression.” Association for Psychological Science – APS, 5 Aug. 2019.
- Rife, Sean. “Violent Video Games Do Not Cause Real-World Aggression.” Learn Liberty – Explore the Ideas of a Free Society, 22 Mar. 2017.