Video games have long been associated with violence and sexism. The negative hype continues, repeating the same tired rhetoric about the corruption of youth and giving way to false stereotypes where gamers are portrayed as overweight slobs who live in their parents’ basements. However, the truth is far different and there is something to be said of this impact.
The game industry has changed a lot since its inception, and recent studies have been highlighting the benefits that video games can have on children.
As violent media becomes more accepted as a form of entertainment, there are people out there making an effort to inform people what it really entails. One such lady is Roberta Williams who co-designed the first two games of Myst with her husband Ken Williams (game designer) and began exploring the world of simulation games back in the 80’s. Roberta Williams, is an American video game designer best known for creating several adventure games primarily in the Sierra Entertainment, series. She is well known for her contributions to the design of games such as Mystery House (1980) and King’s Quest (1984).
Though the media and politicians continue to push the belief that video games are harmful, a growing number of scientists are viewing this as an innovative, educational tool. For example, a 2013 study conducted by the University of Rochester found that children who play video games may have better motor skills than those who do not.
“It can’t be emphasized enough… that these studies show both immediate and long-term benefits,” said Daphne Bavelier, PhD, professor at the University of Rochester’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. “These games make people smarter.”
However, Bavelier stressed that video games should not be used as a learning aid for younger children. Children too young to read and comprehend should not be introduced to these types of games.
Another aspect of video games that has been gauged as ‘positive’ is the effect they have on our brain development. Researchers at Stanford University studied the effects video games have when used as a learning material for children between the ages of 2 and 6. They asked 72 children aged 2 to 6, half of whom played video games every day while the other half did not, to complete a task where scientists measured their brains using functional magnetic imaging (fMRI). The results revealed that video game playing increases blood flow in brain regions that are important for learning and visuospatial abilities.
Research aside, as a video game player myself I know first hand that they have the ability to bring people together. Multiplayer games are especially fantastic at making friends, whether the connection is with fellow gamers or someone outside of the gaming world. These unique games can give people new perspectives and they are always a pleasant experience to have with friends. We play together as one and help each other to reach our goals.
It is safe to say that video games are not responsible for social isolation, the real culprit is the lack of social interaction in people’s lives. There are many great games out there that can be used as a tool to bring people together and help them learn important lessons about life.
The game industry has changed a lot since its conception, and it has empowered people with new possibilities. If we continue to use the negative hype as an excuse, we will only be giving into this media without much of a fight.
Video games have shown us that they can be far more than an entertaining pastime, that they can expand our minds, teach us new things and connect us all. What is it about video games that makes them so valuable and how can we learn from them? The hundreds of millions of gamers around the world will tell you that it is not just a question of what video games can do for our minds and bodies, but also how they can help us to share experiences with other people – either online or in the real world.
Over the past two decades, video gaming has exploded into one of the dominant forms of entertainment. More than 2 billion people around the world are gamers and an estimated 130 million play at least 5 hours a week. This rapid growth has been driven by technological innovations that have made it easier for developers to design bigger, more immersive games that are played for longer periods of time than ever before. But what about the impact of these games on us as individuals? From the army to hospitals and schools across the globe, there are now increasing calls for video games to be used in novel ways to help us learn new skills and solve complex problems in our day-to-day lives. Probability is one concept that’s often implicated in video games, but what is it and how can we use it to our advantage? Probability is a pretty tricky business.
Unlike the other basic concepts you study in science lessons such as maths and chemistry, there’s a lot of flexibility around what probability involves. In fact, most people’s understanding of this important concept have been influenced by either television or film. So if you want to get a deeper understanding of probability then there are plenty examples out there that are worth checking out. One game in particular that stands out when thinking about how practical probability can be is the multi-million selling Civilization series from Sid Meier. This is a game of chance that lets you explore “what ifs” through the eyes of the leaders of the past. The game gives you an insight into how humans have played with probability all throughout history and how they have managed to make it work to their advantage. Just like free online slots rely on probability, so too do the civilizations in Civilization. But it’s not just the probabilities behind free games that you should be aware of – it’s the theory behind how they work.
Probability has come a long way since its development over 2,000 years ago. Originally, a mathematician called Gerolamo Cardano used probability to describe how likely it was to get a “2 heads” when throwing two coins.