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Video Games: Virtual Utopia or Virtual Downfall?

Video games have always been a source of controversy- but to players? None of us, the writer included, truly care- because how would you? High score records to beat, monsters to defeat, puzzles to solve - who cares what anyone’s got to say when there's finally a break from boring old tests and nagging co-workers or family members, right? 


Video games, since their invention, have always been a source of comfort and stress relief to many people of varying age groups who seek to forego their worries or to just have fun. 


Particularly in the year 2020, the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus led to an isolationist lockdown for public safety. This also meant that video game developers sensed an opportunity to capitalize on the now abundant free time enjoyed by the youth. Many video games have thus become popular- namely online versions of indoor games such as ludo, mobile games such as Temple Run, Candy Crush, My Talking Tom, role-playing games such as Identity V, games of the Pokemon franchise, Genshin Impact, PUBG and so on. For non-gamers, video games are a source of concern- so much that the Chinese government, in light of its more popular games, restricted game playing to only between 8 PM and 9 PM on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. 


Video games have been far more advantageous than expected, encouraging problem-solving and spatial awareness in players. They also help with stress relief. Green & Bavalier, in a five-experiment study, concluded that certain cognitive functions such as task-switching and proficiency with language were heightened in video game players. Video game expert Jane McGonigal stated that video games could foster intergenerational understanding and new friendships among the youth, given the wide range of age groups enjoying video games. 


However, like most human inventions, video games come with their problems. The appeal of video games entices players who have been stressed with life into a habit of excessive gaming. This can lead to problems such as poor sleep and self-control, low academic performance, addiction, etc. Video games are also seen to affect stress levels through increased heart rate and hormone production, as stated by researchers Boyan & Sherry. In a concerning report, the American Medical Association reported a causal connection between media violence and rising tempers in children. 


Studies and reviews thus conclude that moderation of video games is the best solution to balance out the negatives and take advantage of the positives. This can be done by enacting rigorous daily schedules with controlled gaming time. 


In conclusion, video games can be very fun- as long as you know where to draw the line. Happy gaming! 

Tagged in : Effects, moderation, video games,