Is playing video games waste of time?
Student Name: Lukasz Pinczura
Student Number: 20047696
Student E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Course: BSc Entertainment Systems
Many people may think that playing video games is a total waste of time and that there are no productive elements or any benefits resulting from it. But is it true? Every year the technology keeps on improving and the video games market grows. The choice is so wide that games are played at all ages, from little children to even older generation. Lately, it is very popular to play games not only on the PCs and gaming consoles but also on the Smartphones. There is no doubt that the main motive of playing video games is to get oneself entertained, however certainly there are many more aspects that can be discussed. In this short essay, I will try to answer the question – whether playing video games is a waste of time, by looking at the positive and negative sides of it, supported by some academic research.
Type of game matters…
Currently on the market we can find some games, which are created particularly to serve an educational function. They are usually made for younger kids, but not only for them. We can find games teaching different languages or some particular category of study. In this case, it is obvious that playing this type of video games is unfailingly not a waste of time, as it combines both – fun and education. But what about other games?
Not Productive? Lies!
People that do not play video games may say that gaming is nothing more that escaping from reality to forget about the important things. Well, that is a lie.
Jane McGonigal, director of game research at the Institute for the Future, gave a speech at TED conference (2010) on how games can make a better world. She stated that “gamers are at their best as people when playing: they’re motivated, optimistic, resilient, collaborative, and expressive.” (Takahashi, 2011)
Different elements might be invoked in a person when playing different game genres. For example, shooting games will improve the hand-eye co-ordination, our reflex and prediction skills.
Another type of video games – a Real-time strategy games (RTS) help to develop strategic and critical thinking, as well as they may improve our governance skills, for example by making resource management decisions.
Another aspect worth pointing out would be that games enhance creativity, form team players and hone social skills. Most of the games increase players’ motivation, problem-solving and cognitive skills. Above arguments may suggest that the more different games we play, the faster we will adapt to new environments. Also, we will be in advantage when making decisions in real life.
Giving an example from my own experience, playing many different video games as a child, (where most of them were in English) has definitely broadened my vocabulary of English language. This happened as I was kind of forced to look up the meaning of different words, in order to understand what is going on in the game.
Concerns About Game Play Time
In last 20 years, there have been significant grow in video game industry. With improving networks, multiplayer games have been introduced. That’s where problems aroused, as players started to spend excessive time on playing – getting addicted. This started to be a real concern as many players, started to put real-life priorities aside and focus only on the game. MMORPGs are the most addictive games of all multiplayer games. Internet Addiction Disorder estimated that “In total, one out of every five Internet addicts suffer from addiction to MMORPGs. Of these addicts, about half are over the age of 18 and half under it. Males are more likely to suffer from this addiction, with their prevalence being around 75%.”(Internet Addiction Disorder, 2013) Addiction may cause more negative effects than positive, that’s where playing video game may actually be waste of time.
Opportunities for Gamers
These days, video gaming does not have to be only a hobby. Professional gamers have been given an opportunity to enter leagues/tournaments to fight for fame and cash prizes. Some of the big e-sports organisations are MLG(Major League Gaming), ESL(Electronic Sports League), etc. There are thousands of pro gamers that make a living out of gaming. But to be successful, they need to train hard as Alexander Brown stated “Professional Gaming is a job. Every day you face a format, a set minimum of hours and you are your own boss. Sure, some professional gamers have coaches, teammates and contracts to tie them into dedicated practice and play.”(Brown, 2013)
So is video gaming a waste of time? I think not, it entertains, teaches and allows to gain useful skills that can be used in real-life. However, a reasonable amount of time should allocated for gaming, as too much of playing may cause problems.
Alexander Brown. (2013). A Typical Pro Gamer’s Schedule. Available: http://www.rtsguru.com/article/5375/A-Typical-Pro-Gamers-Schedule.html. Last accessed 26/09/2013.
Dean Takahashi. (2011). Video games aren’t waste of time. Available: http://venturebeat.com/2011/02/16/are-video-games-a-waste-of-time-3/. Last accessed 26/09/2013.
Jane McGonigal. (2010). Gaming can make a better world. Available: http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html. Last accessed 26/09/2013.
n/a. (2013). Addiction to MMORPGs. Available: http://internetaddictiondisorder.org/addiction-to-mmorpgs/. Last accessed 26/09/2013.