Video Game Virtues

I’m not a big gamer, but I am into video games. I’m not a fan of old school hack ‘n’ slash titles; I like games with a narrative where I can connect to the protagonist in some way.

I was genuinely sad when I finished Red Dead Redemption and it meant I could no longer hang out with John Marston on a regular basis. That game, I am certain, will be viewed as a major evolutionary step in the sandbox genre, not just for the open world, but also for it’s story.

I am still amazed when people are critical of video games, and people who play them. Casual gaming is a huge business and of course does not reflect the preferred view of a stereotypical gamer.

Video game releases are now huge cultural events, GTA V is a case in point, and should be treated with the same respect as a film premiere, or major sporting occasion. They bring people together for a fleeting moment in the joy of experiencing the same thing, before everyone goes their separate ways again.

They’re great value for money.

A football match in the Championship will set you back about £20, for 2 hours (if you include half time and being at the ground before kick off) which works out as £12.50 per hour.

To watch Anchorman 2 today at Vue on Finchley Road I’d have to pay £12 for 90 minutes; £8 per hour.

To go and see a West End show; that’s £30 out of your pocket for two and a half hours; £12 per hour.

An Arcade Fire ticket for Earl’s Court will cost £45, for 3 hours (including support acts), which is £15 per hour.

Stewart Lee is giging in January; to watch him in London costs £20. For 3 hours that’s £6.66 (nice!).

Now, compare that to purchasing GTA V for £45 and playing the story through at around 45 hours. That’s £1 per hour of play – incredible value for money.

They make you smart

They can teach spatial relations, problem solving, and persistence, especially in children.

“Even more interestingly: games actually help kids view intelligence productively, a meta-benefit that many other future benefits flow from. What does that mean? You can praise a child for being smart – saying, in effect, “you are smart, and if you succeed it’s because of that innate quality, and if you fail, you must not be smart.” Result: a kid afraid to take risks and fail because of what it might mean to their self-image. It’s the “entity theory” of intelligence.”

They make you healthy

Research indicates that first person shooters have cognitive benefits, develop psychological motivation, help you control your emotions and become socially more aware.

They help you make friends

More research says:

Most teenagers played a variety of different titles, said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project, who wrote the report.
“They range in terms of their content from things that are about solving problems to things that are about going out and shooting things, or driving things, or racing things, or playing a sport,” Ms Lenhart said.

But, she said, being a player did not mean being a loner.
“Three quarters of teens actually play these games with other people, whether online or in person.”

The end game

Go play, go explore new worlds, go and solve puzzles. It’s good for you.

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