Video games have their uses
Video games aren’t the devil. They aren’t little demons that steal people’s lives. Though some people have related increases in violence to video games, most of us don’t get affected like that. Most of us gamers have lives outside the video game.
Video games give a sense of community. Last year, in my dorm, our entire hall would get together to play “Super Smash Bros. Melee.” To some, like my friend Dan Galansky, it was just an annoying habit of college freshman. But to us, it was both a release of tension and a community-builder. Super Smash Bros. allowed us to overcome boundaries of race, gender, and even political ideology. When all 10 of us were crammed into a room built for four (at most), looking a 12-inch screen, we didn’t care about race issues. It never crossed our minds that the guy who just KO’d us was a liberal. No, all that mattered was winning the game. We didn’t lose our lives because of playing video games. We still, like any college student, stayed up all night, cramming for exams.
According to the Team Xbox Web site , Microsoft has sold 17.7 million Xbox 360 consoles and 8.1 million copies of “Halo.” With Xbox Live, gamers are connected to 8.1 people around the nation. We can play a game of Halo against a group of people in Germany. Then, we shut the system off and return to real life. The game never became an obsession, just a release.
When I play a video game for half an hour, my stress melts away. I no longer care that I’ve failed a test or that my girlfriend has dumped me. The game has taken my mind off my problems and allowed me to “take a break” from my own harsh reality. Also, video games offer me the chance to do things I never could. As a driver, I have a tendency to push the speed limit. If it weren’t for racing games, I would probably not have a license, or a bank account. But, thanks to “Need for Speed” and other games of the same genre, I don’t speed (as much). The video game offers me a release of my inner fantasy.
Video games also offer a player the chance to fly without killing themselves and kill people without jail time. This is one of the reasons I game. I always wanted to play hockey, but never had the balance. On ice skates, I have the coordination of a carp on a river bank. But in the game “NHL”, I can take my favorite team and play to my heart’s content. I can fulfill my fantasy of scoring a goal or, better yet, raising the Stanley Cup.
Video games are great. How often can you jump off a building and not die? How often can you save the world after dying 40 times? When in real life can you kill your friends and then have a beer with them afterward?
To say that video games are the devil because they take away people’s lives is ridiculous. The people for whom this statement is true already have addictive personalities. They are the same people who will be addicted to cigarettes, porn or whatever else catches their fancy. They move from one addiction to the next. Video games are just the latest addiction for them.
For most video gamers like myself, it is a simple release and connection to other gamers around the world, not an obsession.
Contact Campus Press staff editor Aaron Musick at firstname.lastname@example.org