The History behind Video Games
Throughout the recent years video games have been said to have become too violent for kids to play, and parents do not wish for their children to play any of them, saying it will make them blood thirsty, or it will rot their brain, or even encourage them to live in their basement and live off of chips and soda in their adult life. But what some forget to realize is that not all games are like this, and that most can be used as an entertaining and educational experience (there was even this one parent who decided to have his son watch him play GTA 5, not to show him breaking the law or go through the story almost everyone decides to ignore, but instead to abide by driving rules and teach him both how to drive safety and to distinguish colors)
The first video game was made in 1970 called Pong. Within these 50 years video games have advanced to the high level graphics we know today with complicated coding to bring the imagery and the mechanics of playing it, and directors to write the story if there is one. In fact, game designers are one of the highest paying jobs, based on the sales of the game of course, due to its complexity. The average designer can make up to $85,240, starting at $45,320 to $129,400! This is just a fraction of the money games can make, since it usually takes a whole team of people to make a well made game, which makes the budget split to pay everyone involved. Space Invaders, an old arcade game where you play as a little pixel space ship and you have to shoot at Alien invaders, made around 13.9 million dollars in its time.
What is most impressive is that now many people have been making video games on their own without the help of a company (so many being made, in fact, that they are in the genre known as “Indie” games, meaning Independent Games.) who have become so successful with their story and designing, that they can receive $70,000 to $90,000 from one game. Take Scott Smith, the game designer for the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, as well as Toby Fox, the creator of Undertale.
The Reasoning behind Video Games
Studies show that when parents and their children play video games together, especially one they both enjoy, it helps them both build a bond with one another through their shared interest. Anyone would feel good if they learned that the person they spend the most time in their life with has an interest in what they love to do; it’s a sign of good parenting. In fact, just playing a new game, or a game that allows for multiple play styles or has the mechanics change for game-play can teach the player adaptability and problem solving. Here’s an example of a newer game based off of the classic movie, Alien, and it’s sequel movies, comics, and other games known as Alien Isolation. In Alien Isolation, you play as a lone survivor on a space station where a Xenomorph Drone, a deadly alien creature, is out to kill you. As you progress, you have to hide from the alien, run, and scare it off with fire when it catches up with you. However, there is a catch; it learns from your play style and tries to work around it, always keeping you on your toes. Also, it can’t be killed, and the flame thrower won’t last forever. With games like these, it teaches players strategy and quick thinking in the face of a problem (hopefully they don’t have to put those exact skills to the test when trapped on a space station with monster, but it never hurts to be prepared.)
Games don’t just help work your brain this way either. For some, games can stimulate the creativity. This helps with writing, drawing, and more creative people tend to be some of the most successful business men and women, and also make them seem more interesting in social life.
So sure, there are those games that encourage violence in the gaming world, like shooters and GTA (Grand Theft Auto). But think of it like this; in the Halo series what are the aliens like? Violent, terrifying, savage creatures who wish to kill the player and any NPCs around them. When you ask a child what they think a monster is like, they will usually describe something similar: angry, scary, uncontrollable monsters. Some psychologists say that the monster in a child’s closet or under their bed represents their fears and anxiety, and at such a young and imaginative age that is the only way they have to convey their emotional struggles. So playing a game like that can convey a subconscious freedom and strength to defeat these monsters in the audience of all ages. Now, I’m not saying you should give your five year old a controller and have them play Halo after (s)he complains about the monster in their room. That might make it worse. And if your worried about them thinking that if something scares them they should get a gun and shoot it, if they pay attention to the story which tells them to save and so by doing so they feel like a hero. Games like these can also make your child more brave when in certain situations, which could help them solve it properly. Some video game characters end up being great role models for some- actually being a figure they look up to for inspiration.
Now, for the infamous GTA, think of it like this; because the child does all these things, like steal cars, kill people, and just get chased around by the military cause they’re so bad they learn what would happen if they did do all that stuff. Steal a car, you get arrested; shoot a cop, you get shot back; break enough laws and you’re going to get hunted down till the ends of the Earth for what you did. So it’s to subconsciously teach them the penalty of breaking the law far better than just a simple “don’t do that” would. Also, through the stress and hormones of teenage life (cause the game has prostitutes and crude language too, so a ten year old probably shouldn’t be playing it without parent supervision…) they will have a lot of pent up anger either because their teacher gave them extra work in class, or some mean girl spilled the spaghetti sauce all over them at lunch, or they had a break up with who they thought was the love of their life, so it has to go somewhere. Also it’d be great practice for their driving test without actually having to go out of the house and risk a real fatal accident.
But, as I have promised, there will be a recommended list of games. Now, since this first page has gotten so long, I’m going to put a link to a google doc you can check out if interested.