Regardless of any prevailing opinions one way or the other, video games are an undeniably popular pastime. With millions and millions of consoles, games, and other related media being sold every year, they have become a tremendous force to be reckoned with.
With widespread enjoyment comes widespread questioning. Some queries are as basic as wondering when the next Pokemon title will release, while others raise deep ethical quandaries concerning the effects of electronic entertainment overuse.
While many of these issues are difficult to fairly gauge and quantify, certain benefits and consequences of playing video games are definitely noteworthy.
Many believe that extended periods of play can desensitize a person to related real-life elements and cause a hazy disconnect between reality and virtual reality. This is especially a concern when considering issues such as violence. For example, the Grand Theft Auto franchise has been very vocally opposed, citing its plot that centers around an illegal, immoral lifestyle, including players participating in acts of brutality.
Although it is difficult to discern whether playing a violent game corresponds to carrying out violent acts, rather than someone with tendencies toward violence already present just being attracted to such media, what is perhaps even more difficult to argue is what benefit can possibly derive from simulated murder.
Con: Time Management
The Harry Potter series of books was championed and applauded for reinvigorating a love for reading in children, seen as an educational and universally positive act. Video games have yet to gain such a positive entity; instead, they are often derailed as time-wasters and brain-rotters.
The accusation is simple: Time spent playing video games could be more productively spent doing something else. Many would add that if children continue to play video games, rather than using that time for educational pursuits, their behavior will result in a deficiency in intellect that will negatively affect the rest of their life.
Pro: Brain Function
In certain realms of video game debate, the subject at hand is entirely dependent on the genre being discussed, such as the aforementioned issues that arise with violent video games that obviously would not apply to educational titles meant for preteens.
Even aside from strictly “edutainment” games, though, playing video games can actually arguably increase certain brain functions. It can be conceded that it is not difficult to understand how such play can enhance specific mental activities, such as: Reaction time, problem-solving skills, hand-eye coordination, reading, creativity, and others.
For as long as humanity has existed, people have tried to grasp the purpose of life. Are we to follow a utilitarian lifestyle, where everyone has their own niche in society? Or are we to follow egoism and hedonism, simply enjoying what we can for ourselves?
Although video games may seem like an empty pursuit for some, others genuinely and deeply enjoy them. This point may come as more philosophical than practical, but it is made by many gamers: If you enjoy video games, isn’t that all that matters? After all, this is their purpose, and if it makes someone happy, some would say we need not worry about anything else.
Aside from any of the intellectual stimulus behind the “purpose” of video games in life and in this universe, in the strict pragmatic terms of pros and cons, the enjoyment of video games can absolutely be cited as among its strongest, if not its overall most significant and important, benefit.
If the object of asking the pros and cons of playing video games is to determine whether they are worth playing, then perhaps the more relevant question is: When playing, is it fun? If a person does not enjoy it, then perhaps they should not play them. In the end, this may be the simplest, elegant conclusion to the awesomely broad concept of video gaming.