The question here is, do you think computer games are generally good / beneficial, or generally bad / harmful, or are they neutral / no big deal / the pros and cons even out? Please contribute to the discussion and vote in the poll.
A couple of clarifications about this thread. This is not just about games for children, so can we just assume that censorship works properly so that children aren’t playing any games that are only appropriate for older teens and adults. It is also not about the extreme cases - most people here would probably agree that a game with explicit sex and violence in it that encourages evil is bad, and that a game which tries to promote a good Christian message in an appropriate way is good. I’m talking about the ordinary cases, middle of the field cases, including abstract games like Pac-man, as well as representational games.
Oh and as a side note, one interest I have in this thread is that I’m thinking about whether I want to try n have a career in computer game design after I graduate. I would like to do something good, I might do something even if it’s only neutral, but I wouldn’t do something bad.
And just before I start - Yes, I notice the bias in the lists I made below. Well, I like computer games. Ain’t gonna apologise for that
Okay, computer games, the pros and cons. Bright side first?
- They are enjoyable. God intended for man to have recreation, and not to have to work all the time. My childhood was more fun because of games (-:
- They are, at least partly, a form of art and story. Art is beautiful and tries to reflect the beauty of God. G K Chesterton tells us that fairy tales are the first things that give us a clue that dragons can be defeated. In other words art and story are generally good things so computer games are good inasmuch as they are art and story.
- They provide a way for people to let out their anger, frustration, and other negative emotions, without harming themselves or others. Similarly they allow people to unwind and relax by immersing themselves in a world of fantasy.
- They increase technical aptitude / familiarity with computers.
- Multiplayer games can be good for socialising, and Internet games allow people to socialise with others from all around the world.
- They can also teach things or contain a message (though, this isn’t the case for all or even most games I spose).
- Any others you would like to suggest?
Okay, now the dark side
- They are accused of contributing to health problems because they are a kind of recreation that doesn’t involve exercise (not the only kind though) and, to a lesser extent, because they involve staring at a smallish screen for periods of time.
- They are accused of contributing to antisocial personalities because they are a kind of recreation that doesn’t explicitly require one to talk to or be around other people.
- They are considered useless by some because, (if you don’t accept the technical aptitude thing), they don’t improve the person playing them (like reading factual books or playing sport would), as the game is played for its own sake and being good at it ‘means nothing in the real world’, and they don’t produce anything either (like knitting would). Well, except in the cases of professional gamers whose games are recorded and displayed for public consumption like sport is, and in creative and expressive games which produce something the player created in the game. Is ‘useless’ necessarily ‘bad’ though, anyway?
- They are accused of encouraging violence since some games (not all, though) involve the player doing some violent action in the game like shooting things or waging a war. There is no proven connection at the moment between video game violence and a tendency for violence in the real world.
- They can be addictive (look at the World of Warcraft epidemic!) A psychology lecturer at my uni said that many of the things that designers put in games to make them fun, are the very things that make them potentially addictive. Not all games are addictive as far as I know, and it does not necessarily make games ‘bad’ anyway, just as alcohol is a good thing in general but some can abuse it or be addicted to it.
- It might be said that we have enough games already and don’t need more.
- Anything you would like to add?
So what do you think about computer games in general?