The Video Game Experience
When I was little, video games were becoming more and more popular in society. Of course, my parents and many other adults would tell us about how much of a waste of time they were or how they were going to turn our brains into mush. I never listened to them because I felt passionate about video games and I couldn’t just give them up. Balancing school work and playing video games never gave me a hard time. Studying would have been a good way to spend my time but I wasn’t much interested in school or what work we had to do. Starting high school, I knew I wanted to find something other than video games to focus on during my free time and what better to do than sports.
Being physically active was something that I wanted to start trying because before that I was just a couch potato. Blaming video games for my laziness would be silly because that was all I knew and all I was interested in. I really wanted to play a sport but I didn’t know which one to play. My final decision of football was finalized on me wanting to learn the game because I knew it was so popular. Football was very competitive and it was a long and hard journey for me because I knew if I wanted to become great, I would need to be assertive. The beginning two years for me consisted of me getting stronger and learning the game.
Something new was a great change for me but I never could drop video games completely. I believed they helped me escape into my own worlds and sparked my imagination. Not only that, they helped me learn valuable lessons that would help me throughout my football career and life and showed me how to compete. You could easily relate that to staring a new video game. A consistent strategy I would use to learn how to play a video game would be to test out all the buttons to understand the controls to learn as I go before advancing into the game. This is also what I used during football because I would test out certain exercises that would show me limitations and help me narrow down on which position I would play.
Single player games show players different lives and emotions that are reflected in the real world. Multiplayer games and cooperative games promote teamwork and the importance of trusting in your teammates. These skills needed and gained for playing video games originated and real games like dominoes or card games. According to Dr. Randy Kulman (2014), “Researchers in Italy, led by Sandro Franceschini, found that 12 hours of playing action video games (selected action-based mini games from Rayman Raving Rabbids ) resulted in more improvement in reading fluency than 1 year of traditional reading training.”(Kulman, 2014, p. 34) Children can learn basic skills way faster through video games rather than traditional methods. The big difference that not many people acknowledge or see in videos games and board games is that video games are a lot more expansive in critical thinking. Board games are super limited to what you can do and what decisions you make and video games can be the same. Although, video games add more of a pressure to think about what you should do next because video games can range from the most linear storylines to the most open world, “you decide” games.
Choosing from the first person games to the third person games all depends on preference. Those aren’t the only two types of games but they have proved to be the most popular. Whether you choose third or first person, you have to make decisions for your character either for the story or to gain rewards. Rewards come in experience points, in-game currency, or even more content to play. The entertainment value of gaining a reward is a big part of why video games are popular but what’s not always acknowledged is what the player can learn from it all.
The common mindset adults preach to kids and people becoming more responsible is to work hard for what you want. The decisions one makes in life can affect not only them but the people around them. Nobody’s perfect, as much of a cliche that is, but what helps us is learning from our mistakes and failures to become better or stronger as a person. Video games have a mutual connection to these lessons by making a player grind for what they want. When you boil video games down to the simplest of concepts, the objective is to get better at the said game as well as progress further.
Goals and checkpoints in the games work as milestones for the player to show them where they are at and how far they are to the end. Some games, such as some multiplayer games, don’t have a definite end because the developers want you to keep on playing. The obvious reason for this is because it brings them more money but that doesn’t mean you can’t take anything out from it. A popular single player/multiplayer game, Destiny, gives the player a story but also allows them to continue playing in multiplayer raids and other missions. This gives players the want for better loot and to play more.
Since Destiny is a single or multiplayer game, it encourages people to play with others to play for better chances of loot drops and to make the mission easier. Destiny greatly promotes the importance of team work. “Team work. The game contains threeplayer strikes and six-player raids, requiring communication and teamwork.” (Chicago Weekend, 2017) Simple lessons like teamwork can help a kid learn to work with people. As long as there is something to play for, there will be something to gain. People don’t just play video games to learn about life but they are great representations of outlets that teach kids and any other gamers important things in life.
- Kulman, R. (2014). Playing smarter in a digital world: A guide to choosing and using popular video games and apps to improve executive functioning in children and teens, based on the LearningWorks for kids model. Plantation, Florida: Specialty Press/A.D.D. Warehouse. https://bit.ly/2F4tCIp
- A date with destiny: Video games teach kids life lessons. (2017, ). Chicago Weekend. https://bit.ly/2XNvQTH