Video Game Testimonial

2 minute read

With the headline “[Iowa State University] study proves conclusively that violent video game play makes more aggressive kids,” everyone above the age of 40 who has never played video games sits back in their chair and declares “I knew it.” I personally decided at age 17 to nearly completely wipe video games from my life, but I can personally testify of three of their benefits. First video games improved my typing skills: although middle school classes helped me to type faster, nothing helped me type as fast as when I was calling for help while under a zergling attack. A second is learning: the board game/video game Risk taught me more about geography than any class. Ask anyone where Siam (an otherwise obscure country, but important in the game) was located, and if they’ve played risk they’ll tell you. They might not, however, be able to pinpoint Thailand with the same accuracy, even though they’re the same country and that would have been what your high school classes would have taught you about. Lastly, the third way video games helped me is through computer skills: we always assume “techys play video games,” but rarely consider the possibility that “video games help make techys.” Yesterday I was reinstalling an old computer game from 1995: Command and Conquer. I was reminded of how much extensive configuration was needed to install it, and how much more understanding of modems and cables was necessary to play online. So if kids wanted to play this game, they would, of necessity, need to learn about their computer in ways they would otherwise not learn until university. Could that be a reason why some kids are so technologically advanced? A different study than the Iowa State one “concluded that computer games can be a positive feature of a healthy adolescence.” While I neither praise video games as heaven-sent, nor conclude they are for everyone, I can personally testify of their benefit in my life.

2 thoughts on “Video Game Testimonial

  1. I am curious to what your argument is here. Are you trying to refute the claims of the study that shows a link between video games and aggression? As far as I can tell your argument is:1) This study found a link between video games and aggression.2) But I can list some benefits of playing video games in my life. Further, there's another study that shows positive benefits of video games [Though, it should be noted, it does not provide evidence against the claim of the previous study showing links with aggression].I could make a similar argument:1) Studies show a link between cigarette smoking and lung, throat and mouth cancer. 2) But, I have personally benefited from smoking in that it has helped me to improve my relationship with my chain smoker father as well as allowed me to gain valuable networking at work with the executives who go outside twice a day for a smoke break. Further, here's a study that shows a relationship between smoking and losing weight. I don't think I need to show the fallacy of either of our arguments (as they are one and the same). I am not saying that video games do not have any positive effects. I am willing to concede that they do in fact have positive effects. At the same time, you cannot say that the positive effects I listed for smoking were not also positive. However the positive effects that we both listed (your typing and computer skills and my social and networking skills) could have been attained by some other means. So one must ask if the positive benefits associated with either video games or smoking are worth the negative benefits that might also accompany those activities? There's no need to argue about my smoking example to answer that question. Clearly the negative benefits outweigh the positive. But what argument can you make that the positive benefits of video games outweigh the negative?

    1. Zing. Ya that’s a great point. Yeah my blog post isn’t a rebuttal that violent video games don’t increase aggression. It’s just pointing out that there are some benefits, that, for me, were net positive. But no, I haven’t proven it. I also wish I had cited my sources.

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