In 2022, video games will be the world’s leading cultural market with a turnover of almost 93 billion dollars in 2021. This sector is in full evolution thanks to technological advances linked to digital technology.
First video game?
During the 1950s, in American universities, inventive students and professors developed simple computer games. “Tennis for Two”, developed in 1958 by Robert Dvorak, is considered to be the first video game that uses an oscilloscope and allows two people to send a point of light back and forth.
Video Game Industry:
As previously stated, video games are an industry for large companies and developers, but a means of entertainment and a source of pleasure for children and teenagers.
An industry that has grown very rapidly, with an estimated number of players worldwide in 2021, represents 2.7 billion people, more than a third of the world’s population.
Despite the marked numbers and the passion of its children, most parents, worried about its harms, are totally against the idea of video games, spending hours in front of a screen, making friends in the digital world … etc.
The harms of video games:
The major risk of video games is the phenomenon of addiction that manifests itself with the excessive practice, ie played more than thirty hours per week. This extreme practice has a huge impact on personality, mental and physical health as well as social relationships.
According to the WHO, video game disorder is defined as: “a behavior related to the practice of video or digital games, which is characterized by a loss of control over the game, an increased priority given to the game, to the point that it takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and by the continuation or increasing practice of the game in spite of harmful repercussions.
There are several more or less visible signs that should alert parents, as the symptoms of video game addiction are generally the same.
The main symptoms of video game addiction according to the IFAC are :
- A significant amount of time spent on these practices and especially time taken away from other activities necessary for balance such as: social, friendly and family relationships. (Example: Isolation at home).
- An inability to control this time and to reduce the amount of time spent playing.
- Impacts on schoolwork or work.
- Impacts on eating and sleeping patterns
- Psychic suffering linked to the use of video games: sadness, anxiety, aggressiveness, reduction of discomfort.
*The WHO is the World Health Organization.
*IFAC is the Federative Institute of Behavioral Addictions.
Most of the time, video games offer violent content. And since the players are not only spectators but also actors, you have to be careful with your little children who are usually fragile and sensitive. It’s a good idea to keep the video game area close to the family area of the house. This way, the youngster is not isolated in front of his screen.
The benefits of video games:
The truth is, video games aren’t always bad for you. Sometimes they can actually make your life better.
Several university studies indicate that playing video games has many physical and psychological benefits.
Video games increase gray matter volume:
In a German study, researchers observed a group of people playing video games for 30 minutes a day over a period of two months. This growth develops memory formation, strategy development and increases gray matter in several parts of the brain.
Video games promote creativity:
In a 2019 study by the University of lowa, they monitored several physical and cognitive aspects of gamers by administering various tests. Among other observed results, it was the creativity of gamers that stood out compared to non-gamers.
This study showed that certain construction games like Minecraft and Lego can boost and stimulate creativity in a positive way.
Video games develop social skills:
According to Dr. Jackie Gerstein’s research based on several studies, the image of the famous “no-life” that sticks to gamers is completely false.
According to them, video games would allow promoting personal work on self awareness and self-control: like managing emotions and knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses.
Also, they would allow to promote the awareness of the other and the relational competences as: the spirit of the work in group and the cohesion of group facing an obstacle.
Video games help dyslexic children to read:
An Italian university used an original method during a study on children. Children were separated into two groups: the first group played one thing and the other group played something a little more challenging. It turns out that the latter showed better results in reading at the end of the experiment. It is proven that action games quickly attract the visual attention span of the players.
An alternative treatment:
Michael Stora, a psychologist, psychoanalyst and spy-gamer who found the way to treat children who played “Fortnite” a lot by playing “Zelda Breath of the Wild”.
The alternative treatment method began when Mr. Stora started receiving cases of panicked and worried parents and especially angry at their children, usually boys, who were playing Fortnite excessively.
Zelda Breath of the Wild is a game that confronts the player with calm, even depression and failure.
This game gives a sense of moving forward in a game, not to slaughter the other, but to be able to move forward for one’s own success. The characters of the game, even the monsters, are like co-therapists or psychodramas. It justifies the violence that is graphic violence in a context, a story and even in a framework and rules that will contain the player.
“Video games as a research object:
Video Games as an Object of Research”, the two professors Hovig Ter Minassian and Samuel Rufat show that video games are manufactured like everyday consumer objects, sold in supermarkets, condemned or praised by the media and supported by public power. Thanks to the emergence of a generation of journalists, teachers, researchers and clinicians who have grown up in the world of video games, these games are beginning to be constituted as objects of science.
This book analyzes the history of the birth of the term “geography” and “game designer”, the typology and the methodological structure of video games…etc. A very interesting book for fans of video games or curious people who want to better understand the digital and virtual world of video games.