When was the last time you heard somebody say: “People are always looking down at their phones” or “My kids are addicted to video games”? Next time you hear something along those lines, ask the person if they would feel differently if the person was always looking down at a book, or was really into chess rather than Call of Duty? Negative stigmas are attached to technology, especially cell phone and your Xbox, but are they really that bad?
It may not make sense at first, but video games and books are very similar. Both go to great lengths to tell an interesting and compelling story (check out this article, “What Video games Can Teach Us About Storytelling” for more). Not every book/game has a good story however, and the bad ones really feel like a waste of time. But think of some of the best games: Final Fantasy, Fallout, Metal Gear Solid, Bioshock, and World of Warcraft. These games not only have incredibly diverse characters and plots, but they put you in the driver seat.
Instead of reading about what characters are doing in your story, video games allow you to control the actions of your character, which can lead to alternative endings. This forces the gamer to think about their actions, what path they should take. The gamer also feels the consequences of their actions.
The reason why we loves books so much is because they give us new perspectives, take us to new worlds, and teach us things about the world around us. Good games do the same thing. They take us on wild, silly, and unpredictable adventures that we would have never been able to imagine. Just because you are sitting in front of a TV does not mean you aren’t learning anything new.
So next time somebody complains about how much video games people play, remember that a video game is not so different from a book.
Featured image courtesy of Ars Technica