More than pointless shooting? Why gaming is underrated
“I’ll be right here to save you!” I sneak through a cornfield, trying not to be spotted by the huge man who just knocked my brother down with a machete. He calls out to me, “Look, I think he has ‘Noed’!”, but by then it’s already too late. He catches me and it’s game over – literally.
“Noed” stands for “No one escapes death” and is an opponent ability in the video game Dead By Daylight. Here, four players try to escape from a murderer – also controlled by one player – through strategic teamwork. It’s not uncommon for my brother and I to spend Sunday mornings together – on the console, each on the couch.
I’ve loved video games since I was a child and I still like to pass the time with them to this day. But my hobby is not well received by many people. “Really?” or “Aha…” followed by an almost disgusted look are by far the most common reactions when I honestly answer the question about my favorite leisure activities. I then often notice the inner urge to say “But I also read a lot!” to make the other person easier.
To this day I still don’t understand the bad reputation of video games. Of course, so-called shooting games are not for children. However, the supposedly fatal consequences such as aggressiveness or a lack of social skills simply do not exist. A negative influence in this direction could not be proven over the long term. A study by a researcher from the National Institute for Education in Singapore and a psychologist from Stetson University in Florida even came to the conclusion that negative changes in human behavior would only be clinically detectable after 27 hours of gaming per day.
Instead, gaming even has many positive effects. When playing, motor and cognitive skills are trained at the same time: hand-eye coordination, spatial vision, sustained attention. Researchers found that – depending on the game genre – brain regions even grow through regular video games. The eyes can also improve with fast games. But not only that: There are also advantages on a mental level. For example, a study by the Hamburg-Eppendorf University Hospital showed that regular consumption of the classic game Tetris can alleviate symptoms of traumatic disorders.
Game is not the same game
But is there any educational value in a child or teenager killing virtual terrorists? Definitely not. But that was not and is not the aim. Otherwise I would have to apply the same bar to films that are only intended for adults, for example. When my school friends showed me a horror film for the first time, nobody blamed the medium of film for my nightmares.
I think that the consideration of gaming is often too short-sighted. If all games are first-person shooters, then every song on the radio is by Helene Fischer. Video games come in a variety of genres, styles of play, and an almost infinite number of stories to tell. Or rather: that one experiences. Through your own intervention and active control, you are also emotionally involved in the story. I’ve had a crush on characters, cried for them, or cursed decisions I had to make for them so many times. Due to the interactivity, I usually experience video games much more intensively than films or series that I can only watch. In “Heavy Rain” I tried to catch a murderer through clever decisions, I accompanied the witcher Geralt von Rivia long before the film adaptation of “The Witcher” in the search for Ciri and “Valiant Hearts” made me heartbreak years ago Art brought the events of the First World War closer.
Sometimes I play deep stories, sometimes not. But even if I relax with games that aren’t exactly witty, how is that worse than what I see so often in others? Finally reach level 3000 in Candy Crush while the crime scene is running in the background, watch “Die Hard” for the umpteenth time or sink into the latest novel by Sebastian Fitzek. To me, these are all good pastimes because they do what they’re supposed to do: have fun! Anyway, my brother and I have already made an appointment for the next round.