Since their inception in the 1950s, video games have undergone a long and critical transformation. Initially an exciting development following the invention of the cathode ray tube amusement device, The first interactive electronic game, the video game was disavowed for years. They were considered a waste of time and derided as a “useless” pastime until advances in technology brought them to the award-winning stage presence they now enjoy.
Today, the video game industry is expected to go from a lower market value to $200 billion to over $260 billion in 2025a number higher than the movie ($91.83 billion) and music ($25.9 billion) combined industries, proving its versatility and economic power. The impacts of video games on consumers are equally significant: contrary to the mindset put forward by a 2009 report from the Centers for Disease Control, which described the average gamer as “overweight, aggressive, introverted and… often depressed,“There are several benefits to playing video games, the least of which is better coordination. Problem solving, cooperation, social skills, and a host of other cognitive benefits have increased the usefulness of video games over the years. And now games are opening doors to worlds that TV can’t (or won’t) explore in terms of inclusion and on-screen representation.
The most measurable benefits of video games are the cognitive advances players develop over hours of play. Requiring spatial and sensory-motor skills to complete, the complexity of today’s outings suggests that video games are more than “senseless” activities and “can be used to develop both visual-motor and cognitive skills.“Considering that the average controller has 12 different buttons (not including two joysticks for movement and camera control), a certain level of dexterity and memorization is required to simply play even the easiest games with minimal skill. .
The relationship between gaming experience and reaction time has even been tested. A short course in video games can reduce reaction times by approximately 50 milliseconds, proving the effectiveness of the gaming experience. Spatial visualization has also proven to be “trainable with video gaming”, with many practical applications in the real world. Architects and engineers cultivate the ability to envision three-dimensional projects from two-dimensional diagrams.
More recently, the Federal Aviation Administration held an open hiring period during which it actively recruited players for air traffic controller positions, “target young and diverse candidates with hand-eye coordination and spatial skills” found among gamers. Because the nature of the job requires constantly scanning maps and communicating with multiple parties — skills that mesh well with many outdoor multiplayer games — some employees even claim to use video games to improve their skills on the job.
Another important advantage of video games is the social aspect of many online games. Titles like Call of Duty, To watch, World of Warcraft and Valorant often feature collaborative missions that require open communication (often via voice chat) to complete coordinated actions between multiple live players. Similarly, many gamers indulge in banter or chat on third-party apps (Discord, Skype, FaceTime) while playing multiplayer games, fulfilling a social need for interaction, and simulating real-life brainstorming sessions. In the long run, it can improve communication and negotiation skills as well as problem-solving skills, all of which are necessary and applicable in many areas of life. These also help build better team players, people who are more willing to listen to others’ feedback and cooperate with a group to achieve a common goal.
Video games can also provide an escape for many people who feel isolated in their family life. As the creator of Bioshock Ken Levine put it on, “Games are often a way to overcome pain.” Being able to chat with a friend while playing together or disappear completely in an immersive single-player world can be a lifesaver for those suffering from poor mental health or a toxic home environment.
“Isolation plays an important role in anxiety and depressive disorders,Glenn Platt, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Miami in Ohio, noted, saying that the social community offered by a gaming ecosystem can mitigate such feelings. There are also emotional benefits to playing to video games because they can be used as therapeutic distractions for “help regulate moods, reduce rumination and even evoke joy.“Games for children not only help develop problem-solving skills, but can also enhance creativity. “By learning to deal with continual failures in games,” children can develop emotional resilience useful in everyday life.
Not only do video games improve physical and emotional well-being, but many games today incorporate deeper and more personal stories, often placing players in the middle of a moral dilemma. In cases like BioShock, players can choose to spare certain characters based on their stories, resulting in different game endings and the lesson that actions have consequences. Red Dead Redemption hammers home the redemption mentioned in the title, allowing the player, as outlaw Arthur Morgan, to complete numerous side missions to aid randomly spawned citizens that crop up on the map.
This mechanic is used in many games, with Skyrim, Marvel’s Spiderman and Miles Morales, and the Assassin’s Creed series being notable for side quest character interactions. Often, the gratification of helping a character and the little adventure it entails for players is enough to justify the help without the need for an in-game reward (although often given regardless). In contrast, The Last of Us Part II has a particularly harrowing sequence in which the player is forced into an act of violence, where the score and the main character’s visible reaction combine to evoke the feeling of crossing a line into forbidden territory. and repulsion. Using these tactics, games can teach people about right and wrong in subtle and non-subtle ways, even encouraging people to think more about their actions in their daily lives.
Although lacking in film and television, the depiction has found its way to video game screens. With highly customizable characters (Cyberpunk 2077, red dead online, Ring of Elden), video games allow players to see themselves on screen and identify with and immerse themselves more completely in the experience, instead of sympathizing with characters who all fill the typical “fit, male medium”. Johnny Silverhand, a Cyberpunk 2077 character, even has a prosthetic arm available for clinical trials. A partnership between Microsoft, CD Project RED (developer of Cyberpunk) and Unlimited Solutions (a non-profit organization specializing in accessible and affordable bionics and prostheses) resulted in the Silverhand model, which joined the non-profit organization’s previous projects, including prostheses inspired by Halo and League of Legends .
Unfortunately, many games still lack representation. A study of 100 games released between 2017 and 2021 found that 61.2% of characters in games are white, with all other ethnicities combined making up the remaining 38.8%. Additionally, 79.2% of the main protagonists were male compared to just 20.8% female, although Apex Legends came out on top as the most diverse game in the study with around 50% of playable characters being female. women, 35% of characters being “openly gay, bisexual, or ‘not straight'” and 50% of playable characters are “black, Asian, or ‘not white.’ Hopefully things move in a positive direction for diversity and representation on all screens, but for now fully customizable avatars open the doors to a wide range of playable characters in video games.
Despite years of condemnation, video games deserve more positive consideration as a worthwhile pastime instead of being shunned as “time wasters.” Cognitive abilities and dexterity can both improve by playing video games and help make people better equipped for the real world, whether in their careers or their emotional well-being. With all the benefits and the amount of considerations – both technical and creative – that go into creating a single game, far more credit is due to the impact games have on society.
People willing to help strangers and go out of their way to brighten someone’s day might have learned the habit from a game (in Red Dead Redemption 2, players can offer to bring lost characters home or giving change) or might try to improve themselves by helping others. Video games should be getting their praise for a long time.