Go and play your video games.

Following content was submitted to Moodle on September 12, for MCOM 312A Video Games and Culture class at Trinity Western University.

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Video games have been both a socializer for the enthusiasts, and a virtual reality that critics refuse to believe may have any socializing affects on the player. I have held a critical position which was created by my experiences with many enthusiast gamers I have close relations with. I would like to think that video games facilitate an environment that allows the player to hold anti-social tendencies, and obstructs them from social relationships. After re-thinking the effects of video games on the people I know, however, I decided the so-called anti-social video games can also be an effective tool for making friends, developing a socially conscious attitude, and creating healthier relationships through the release of negative energy.

The strongest argument against my statement is the capacity of video games that allows gamers to meet fellow players within a virtual environment. In fact, video games facilitate a higher chance of meeting people with similar interests. Meeting with players with the same interests can be effective at forming long-lasting relationships. Consider the following example: My boyfriend met his best friends of the last three years through playing Knight Online. He had always been a person who would fulfill his social obligations. However, after the day was over, night time was Knight time. Upon meeting his friends via the online game, he found out they were living in the same city all along. This resulted in more than half of his time being spent physically meeting his friends and time remaining virtually meeting them. Conclusively, games facilitated an environment for him to be more social.

Another friend of mine that I have had the opportunity to have a conversation during the summer, put his situation into words like this: “I do not mind going out and talking to people, but after a while, you have nothing left to talk to”. This is perhaps because he does not have friends that hold a common interest with him. Furthermore, his parents asked me to help him be more social. After a while spent talking and understanding his situation, I figured out that he had no problems to be social. He was not anti-social, he was socially conscious. To me, being socially conscious of your time means to know the worth of time that you socialize and to spend it in a way that will entertain you, and benefit your own needs. Therefore, my friend was spending his time with people who held the same interest (through video games). Video games taught him that his time had value. There is no fault in this mindset, in fact, it is also a sign of a person who knows what he is looking for in a relationship. Therefore, video games did not obstruct my friend’s social relationships, they helped him adopt a social consciousness to be selective with his relationships.

Furthermore, it is commonly accepted that games can release stress and frustration. My uncle who has a wife and two kids, also works at a very stressful job in a corporate hospital. Although he may not be considered a perfect parent by many, I have observed that his way of releasing his stress from work helped him form healthy relationships with his family. He puts the stress and frustration into video games and transforms them in a way to kill a few opponent players on Counter Strike: Global Offensive while his 8-year-old girl climbs up on him. Bonus side effect of violent games and good parenting, my cousins have grown to play with race cars and Star Wars replicas as well as pretty dolls and Barbie’s. Believe it or not, my uncle can spend quality time with his wife and family because he leaves his stress behind him after a couple hours on the computer. Video games did not cause anti-social behavior on him, rather they increased his quality of life.

The virtual reality of video games had long been thought by critics to cause anti-social behaviors. I personally have been one of the critics until I considered that video games may be able to uplift social behaviors and relationships. After looking at video games on a different light, I would now like to think that video games can help players to make friends, adopt a socially conscious attitude and therefore, have healthier relationships.

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