It’s Entirely Up To You

If you’re a person who plays video games a little bit or a lot, yet regardless you truly enjoy them as a hobby, or as part of your lifestyle, then it is entirely up to you to change people’s perceptions about what video gaming is and who video gamers are.

This blog is loaded with ammo that you can use to prove the usefulness of video games, and remind people that it isn’t simply a “waste of time”, and it certainly isn’t just a phase. Video games are social, they can help the ill, they can make you smarter, faster, they promote cognitive thinking, they help you think laterally and teach you how to solve problems. Last time I checked, the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory didn’t do that, and plenty of people spend hours on end watching that show (god knows why).

If you’ve played games for a while, I can say without a doubt that you have found memories playing video games with others til the early hours of the morning, or locking yourself in a room to play Bioshock Infinite back to front because the story line is just that good.

Playing games is something that you should be proud of, as it puts you within a community of great people (contrary to would some might have you believe), and the product itself is unlike no other.

So next time someone calls you out for playing video games, tells you to get a life or snarls that it’s bad for your health, tell them otherwise.

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A Balanced View of Gaming.

I wanted to level the playing field a bit, and allow my readers to understand that I do in fact realise that video gaming can pose negatives, if it is overused, just the same as anything can. I mean, if you eat too many bananas, it’s bad for you. Seriously bad.

Video games can be addictive, and many of the benefits of gaming that I’ve spoken about require that the user plays in moderation, or under the right circumstances. Playing Portal for a few hours a week will help boost your reaction time and cognitive behaviour, but constantly playing it non-stop may not have that effect – it may diminish your concentration or personal life.

Think of video games as fruit and veg in your diet. Sure, vegetables and fruit are great for you, but if you exclusively eat fruit and vegetables every single day without any proteins or iron, then your body will start to diminish and you won’t feel all that healthy. It’s about striking the right balance between playing games, getting physically fit and stimulating your mind in other ways.

There’s a great article about this that I shared on our Facebook page on this topic. The article was based around a study of children who played games from 1-3+ hours per day. The children who played around an hour per day were better adjusted, yet those who played over 3 hours a day were worse off. If you want to read more about this, you can check out the article here

Why Video Games Are The Interesting History Teacher You Never Had.

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One of my fondest memories of playing video games was playing the original Medal of Honor on Playstation 1 with my brother. For those of you who don’t know, Medal of Honor is a first person shooter set during the Second World War, and is largely based around true historical occurrences. While I know it’s a video game, and isn’t entirely historically accurate, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t learn a thing or two at a young age from playing it.

Today, I have a massive interest in history and war history in particular and that has a lot to do with playing these games when I was younger.

The point I’m trying to make is that a classic first person shooter can end up being more than just fun and games (ha!). Medal of Honor isn’t the only game based on true historical events. The on going Assassins Creed franchise is a crossover between true historical facts and a fictional world. As an Australian with very little knowledge about the American Revolution, Assassins Creed 3 taught me the basics and sparked my interest in reading up on it more.

While I have no issue with traditional forms of learning, I think there’s a lot to be said about gamification and game based learning in a history classroom. Allowing a student to explore a world, rather than read it on paper or hear it spoken about will undoubtedly allow a lot of people to emphathise with historical occurrences on a scale that other forms of teaching simply could not. Participating in the collapse of the Berlin Wall, witnessing JFK’s assassination and seeing it’s effect on the surrounding environment as opposed to reading a historians analysis of it will allow the foundation for learning – it will grow interest in students that are otherwise disinterested, and it will help those that struggle to grasp concepts wrap their head around them in a much more digestiable form.

Thanks for reading, let us know in the comments if you’ve had any experience with history and video games!