My name is Steve and I am a gamer.
I have been since as far back as I can remember. I just love video games. In my many years of playing I’ve traveled the expanses of this universe and many others, rewrote history several times, met hundreds of thousands of interesting characters and killed everything under the sun in every way possible. In online play I’ve been privy to some of the most cringe inducing, mother dissing, racist, sexist, shit talking any one person can hope to hear in a lifetime (usually during every session and I find it utterly hilarious; part of the whole experience, if you will). Yet here I sit an (arguably) well adjusted young man, with two jobs, a gorgeous girlfriend, and no deep seeded evil urges spawned from my many years of gaming. Considering all the violence and other insanity I’ve been part of on various screens and devices in life, not once have I ever felt the need to reenact them in any way. Of course I’ve wanted to go completely Trevor Phillips (to call upon a semi-recent industry reference) on people over the course of time; not because video games warped my fragile, young mind, but because most people I deal with over the course of a day are total assholes and they piss me off. As a matter of fact I think training myself not to throw my controller across the room every time a game got the better of me was great practice for not backhanding anyone I deemed in need of an attitude adjustment in my day to day. Now before I get too carried away I would like to share my inspiration for this piece:
TL/DR: Scientists get frustrated at proteins; call upon gamers to save the day; gamers crack ten year conundrum in ten days…
How awesome is that. The hive mind of a group of gamer’s blew a decade’s worth of scientific research out the window IN TEN DAYS. Admittedly there have been plenty of studies before this one about how video games can improve driving abilities, cognitive thought processes, puzzle solving abilities, team work, and social interactions (you can trust me on this since I read them all the second they cross my computer screen) so this is nothing new; but at the same time this is the first study I’ve read where gamer’s have potentially bettered mankind, and for FREE. You bet your ass that those scientists, in their fancy labs, with their fancy degrees, were getting money dumped on them to solve this conundrum. But on a whim they upload the puzzle to a forum of a game that has similar properties to the protein research they were conducting, and ten days later I bet they received an email that contained a line somewhere in it like this: “…your level has been pwnd, git gud *teabag*…”.
Sure video games might be mind numbing at times, with senseless violence, toilet humor, touchy subject matter and whatever else, but its engaging entertainment. If you’re playing alone or with friends, games cause you to use your brain and sharpen your mental skills. Whether you’re dodging bullets or playing solitaire you are thinking, you are doing, you are honing your mental abilities because your synapses are firing like Duke Nukem in LA Meltodown. Think of video games as gyms for the mind. Running for miles on a treadmill is no different than endlessly crushing candy. Getting a new max bench and starting to build from there is like prestiging in a shooter. When some old guy / girl walks into you bare assed in the locker room and you have to dodge their flailing, er…extremities, traumatizing you for a minute, its like the knee jerk reaction you get when a zombie busts through a wall and bites you in your face in a survival horror game. The analogies are endless but do you see where I’m going? Video games aren’t evil as some may think and can be just as beneficial to your mind as exercise is for your body, it’s just finding the happy medium. Living in the gym is no better for you then living in virtual reality.
So the next time some lame brained politician thinks he’s gonna solve the worlds problems by crusading against video games, just send him a letter explaining how he’s endorsing HIV coupled with the above article. Let’s face it, video games and other forms of entertainment are never and were never the problem, its stupidity, irresponsible people, bad parents, and just plain crazies that cause the issues. Blaming video games is just another scapegoat for people who don’t want to accept responsibility for anything. Its easier to point the finger anywhere but in the mirror, but that is a whole different post for another time and place. For now, though, I’ll wrap it up and start thinking about what advances in medicine I could potentially make tonight while I’m stealing cars and blowing shit up in the quiet of my living room. VIVA LA REVOLUTION!! *teabag*