Our text book defines video games as a catch-all term that includes games with a visual (and usually audio) stimulus, played through a digitally mediated system. This was interesting to me because when I think of video games the first thought that comes to mind is usually an Xbox or Playstation or even a handheld system like the PSP or Nintendo DS. The definition that the book provides really expands the category of video games to all things, including computers, cell phones, and tablets.
I don’t think video games are inherently good or bad. I think that the impact that they have on an individual’s life (whether positive or negative), is completely up to that individual. I’ve always been really into video games, ever since I got my first taste of Super Mario Bros. on my friends old school Nintendo 64 I’ve loved to play. The first video game console that I’ve actually owned myself, was an Xbox 360 that I received as a Christmas present in middle school. I instantly became addicted and spent all my free time locked in my room battling evil trolls and witches, it got so bad that my Mom took the system from my room and hooked it up in the living room so that she could monitor and regulate the time I spent gaming. This is a perfect example of Displacement Theory. I spent so much time playing video games that it began to cut into the time I would ordinarily spend doing other things—like homework.
As I got older my love for video games never diminished, however I did learn to prioritize and I realized that a grown adult with a job and six classes can’t really spend 13 hours a day trying to beat an evil boss.
I find that video games have had positive and negative effects on society. I used to watch my brother play HALO all the time and I noticed that he seemed to release a lot of pent up aggression into the game, on that note I think that video games are a positive way to release anger and frustration. Video games are also known to have health benefits, such as increased hand-eye coordination, improvement of motor skills, and significant improvement in critical thinking skills.
On another note, video games have also been proven to increase violence and aggression in our youth. Also, I know someone that once bought a video game with a fifty-five dollar price tag and didn’t have any money to purchase a textbook he needed for one of his classes. This is an example of the Principle of Relative Constancy. If you increase your spending in one category, you’ll have to decrease spending somewhere else. Video games are not a good thing if they are being prioritized over more important things—like the class you just spent a thousand bucks enrolling in.
One very interesting thing that I read in the text was this: “Key among the marketing of the Xbox One and the PS4 was the idea that the gaming console has morphed into a more robust media hub that can download (or stream) other non-game content as well as enabling gameplay.” I thought this might be an example of the idea of Vertical Integration that we talked about in class. Not only are video game systems used for playing video games, now they can be used to play music, movies, stream the internet, watch Netflix, etc.