Gaming is a worthy pastime

Jordan Neel, Twitter.com/JN_Journalism

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Video games have been a great source of escapism, from the 1970s game “Pong” to the latest shooter game “Fortnite”. Almost everybody plays video games. An article for Polygon found, almost half the gaming population is between 18-49 years old. With smartphones it has become so accessible for everyone to play games.

There have been many video game adaptations turned into movies — “Super Mario Bros.”, “Resident Evil”, “Mortal Kombat”, “Tomb Raider” — and movies that either feature video game characters or the plot is centered on video games — “Pixels”, “Wreck-it-Ralph”, “Ready Player One” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”. With this form of entertainment being so popular I must ask the question, why does gaming get such a bad reputation?

For many years there have been people who said video games are the number one source of violence. According to The New York Times, researcher and psychiatrist Jerald Block confirmed video games were a reason for the shooters of the 1999 Columbine massacre, and that they “relied on the virtual world of computer games to express their rage and to spend time, and cutting them off in 1998 sent them into crisis.”

I’m not here to defend the students who did the attack, but video games shouldn’t be to blame. Yes it could be the violence in those games were too graphic, but there’s a reason why the ESRB rating system exists — to inform parents what their kids are playing on their gaming consoles. The violence in video games are meant for people 17 and older, not for a 10 year old who can easily be influenced by such content.

Video games are a form of entertainment made for almost anybody, any demographic and any age. Plus, gaming has done more than become a hobby for people who are bored. It has built a community. It’s done more than just provide a way to escape from reality, it’s brought people together. For example, there are many families that spend the night with each other playing

 games like “Mario Kart”.

Fans all across the world spend their hard earned money on a gaming event of the summer, E3. Gaming companies Nintendo, PlayStation and Xbox use the event to preview new releases set to come out later in the year or the year after.

Some people would argue playing video games is a waste of time. Try telling that to the many YouTube gamers from PewDiePie, Ninja and KSI just to name a few. Yes, the Internet has helped many people who are expert gamers turn their hobby into a career.

While not everybody can be a professional gamer, it’s still something people can get to do for fun with friends and family. I agree that while video games do have plenty of pros, it has its cons as well.

I understand gaming can cause damage too. If you’re gaming non-stop it can make you not want to socialize as much. Due to losing in a level or competition, some become extremely irritable and angry. The solution for this problem is simple. A person just needs to find a balance for when they play. In some cases, online gaming has even helped with socializing, as they can play with their friends via Internet connection. If someone is aware of their anger at gaming, they may need to take a break from the games they are playing. Most people I know find joy after playing a game, not anger.

Gaming isn’t going anywhere as far as I’m concerned. It is a fun medium for everyone to be a part of. Video games shouldn’t be to blame for violence as time goes on. We should recognize how fun they can be, how interactive it is, and why so many people dedicate their free time to the virtual world.

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