Okay, so lately I guess there have been a lot of people coming out of the wood work to talk about why video games suck. How they are bad for the brain, how they are bad for people, and how they are going to make Satan start talking out of your ass and making you fart a musical scale. It's ridiculous.
First off – video games do *not* kill people! It is not a video game's fault if some guy goes out and shoots a person. PERIOD. It's not like the game got up, grew arms and legs, stole a gun and ran outside, screaming that it was Grand Theft Auto III and because it was GTA, it just had to kill people, did so, and then pegged the blame on some poor schmuck who just happened to be standing by. Stupid people kill other people. People blame it on games because everyone has to have a scapegoat, and there are people out there who are equally stupid who believe it, because they will do anything so their bad parenting is not brought into anything and so their child gets off the hook. Yes, games can be influential, but it is NOT THE GAME'S FAULT. Parents need to be paying attention to what their kids are getting, and they need to not be letting them get games that are too mature for their age level. Case in point – I worked at Gamestop for several months, and in the time I was there, there was one parent in particular that was really appalling. She came in with her six-year-old son and came to the counter with GTA: Vice City in her hands. Seeing this, I asked her if she knew what the game was about and also, if she knew that it was rated "M". Of course, she replied no, so I told her basically what the game was about (I own it, so I have a pretty good idea). After telling her that it was completely inappropriate for her six-year-old, since it contained very bad language, violence, drugs, and alcohol use, she asked me the most inane question…
"Well, is there any rape?"
I replied no, since there technically is not any rape, unless you can count picking up a hooker and having sex with her in your car to regain health (which I let her know about at this point as well) as rape. I could not believe her reply, which puzzled me even more than her question –
"Well, as long as there is no rape I am okay with it."
HELLO! Lady, your son is six-years-old, and you're going to let him play one of the most violent, ADULT games on the market. These are the kind of stupid people I was mentioning before, who are going to come into places like Gamestop and EB ten years down the road and blame games when their child is out killing people.
Parents need to take the responsibility for their children and to make sure they are NOT playing games like that when they are so young. That game is not intended for young children who can't really tell the difference between what is real and what is not, and it just leads to them getting a skewed perspective on reality. The games are clearly marked, and I know stores warn people about what is in the games before they are purchased. Once they are bought, it becomes the parent's problem, and it's not the makers of the video games that are to blame.
Secondly, video games don't make you stupid. Quite the opposite, really – there are a lot of puzzle games out there that really challenge your brain, and help you identify patterns. In fact, all video games help with pattern identification and memorization, along with hand-eye coordination and reflexes. Because of gaming (I have been playing video/computer games since I have been old enough to pick up a controller), I have very good reflexes and I am much better at problem solving. Gaming helps you think of things in a new way – let's say that you are trapped in a room and you need to find a way out, but there is no real visible way to get out. They challenge you to find a way out other than something obvious, which in turn helps you in school. Sometimes the solutions to problems are not right there on the surface, and I think gaming has taught me to see that more than any teacher could have. Also, to follow up the reflex comment I made earlier, I was in my driver's ed class back when I was in high school, and there was this little test we did to see how great out reflexes were, so we could determine our reaction time in a dangerous situation. A girl I knew who had never really played video games (she was not a fan) went up there and did the easy one – you had touch the number 1 through 12 in the correct order, but they were placed randomly over the screen. She did it, and it took her about 8 seconds to do, which was not bad. My driver's ed teacher picked me to come up and do the hard one, where you had to pick the numbers the same way, only do it backwards and have distractions going on in the background. I did it in less than 4 seconds, which was over twice as fast as the other girl who was doing the easier version. I seriously credit video games for my good reaction times – it's been a great help when I have been driving on all these New England roads, where animals can leap out in front of you at any second.
Don't get me wrong – I know there are people out there who do not like gaming for various reasons, and I definitely know that it is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. But, there is no reason to be averse to gaming because you think it is going to make you stupid, because it's definitely not going to. The only way you're going to get stupid from doing anything is if you sit down and smoke/drink yourself stupid every night, which is your own damn fault.
Video games are a good way to pass the time, and it's definitely something I have found that brings people together. You can sit down with three of your friends and beat the crap out of each other in Super Smash Brothers, invite 15 other people over and system link 4 Xboxes for multiplayer Halo mayhem, or just sit down by your lonesome and roll up the entire world in Katamari Damacy. There is usually something for everyone and, at least for me, they're a great way to have everyone come together and have some fun that doesn't involve everyone getting stoned or drunk. Or naked. But that can be fun, too. ;)
Honestly, though, gaming has definitely been the one thing I do more than anything else, and I've never been aversely affected by it. They're challenging, ridiculous, and fun – what's not to like?
In conclusion, all stupid people should be shot and everyone should own at least one gaming console. Then maybe, everyone could see gaming for the wonderful past time that it is, and not as some evil magic voo-doo casting its violence spell over the youth today.