All The Things Video Games Have Been Blamed For
Well, well, well, us nerds seem to be blamed for everything these days. While we’re just out here trying to build a sweet Minecraft fort with our buddies, Big Society is trying to pin all the ills of the world on our tense, dorky shoulders. Don’t pin anything on me unless it’s a gym trainer badge from the Johto region, thank you very much. To combat ignorance and bring us into a new, enlightened era, we’ve rounded up all the ridiculous things video games have been blamed for, so we can do away with these old ideas. Enjoy and happy gaming.
“You spend so much time on that game, it’s ruining your attention span!” Shut up mom, if my attention span was so bad could I spend 10 hours playing Diablo Immortal? No. Because many games utilize fast paced motion, explosive graphics, and rapidly shifting images, some people (idiots) assume that they cause Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, aka ADHD. Just like some (idiots) assume that ADHD is caused by vaccines, there is no research to support either claim. There’s plenty of research that says there is no causal link at all between gaming and ADHD. In fact, medical professionals are teaming up with game designers to work on video games that actually treat ADHD.
Way back in the bad old days of the 1980’s when queer people had few legal protections and women were getting groped in the coke-fuelled offices at major institutions, some (idiot) pearl clutching parents got it into their dumb heads that video games were luring kids into abandoning Jesus to worship the devil. Games like Doom helped fuel the “Satanic Panic”, but most games with devils and demons in them present those creatures of the dark prince as enemies. Long, boring church services and repressive patriarchal trappings have a lot more to do with turning people away from Christianity than any awesome game ever has. Seriously, would you rather be sitting in a pew listening to someone telling you you’re a sinner who is going to hell? Or would you rather be on your couch, playing CoD with your friends?
Game addiction has been used as the scapegoat for many a failed marriage. Over 200 marriages in the UK have listed Fortnite specifically in divorce filings. Gaming addiction is absolutely a real thing and like any addiction, can adversely affect social relationships. But most gamers aren’t addicts. The reasons behind divorces blamed on gaming are usually due to neglect, or one person seeking some damn alone time where I don’t have to hear about your fantasy football league Derrick. If your spouse is neglecting you in order to play games, that’s a symptom of a deeper problem which would be there whether they’re playing World of Warcraft or not. In fact, online gaming communities have actually led to many happy marriages, so give us gamers a break.
Oof, this one’s a doozy. With the deluge of gun violence in the United States and the rise of gaming as a major pastime, (idiot) pearl clutchers have once again decided to blame games for the worst parts of society. There is evidence that violent crime decreases due to gaming. Real world crimes fall to lower levels when people are at home clicking heads. And claims that games are desensitizing youth are ridiculous. I grew up in gun country and let me tell you, there is a big, big difference between shooting a gun on screen and shooting a gun in real life. More than 90% of American kids play video games, the links between real violence and video game violence just aren’t there. So people need to stop blaming Tom Nook and Master Chief for a problem that is really caused by Congress being deep in the pockets of the NRA.
Anxiety & Depression
As anxious and depressed as we get after losing to Malenia for the ten thousandth time, it’s not Elden Ring’s fault. For lots of us, gaming sometimes seems like the only thing that doesn’t make us feel ‘Le Big Sad’. Finding a group of friends to game with online fosters feelings of community and connection, which alleviate anxiety and depression. New studies are coming out about the benefits of fighting depression with games all the time. There’s evidence that gaming can cut depressed ruminations short and improve subjective cognitive ability. We’ll know we’ve truly advanced into an enlightened era when we can get a prescription for Animal Crossing.
The brain’s plasticity is getting a lot of buzz. And that’s great news for gamers. While out of touch nanas, pop-pops, and grammys may look at a screen full of numbers and frenetic swordplay and see nothing but mind numbing nonsense, they’re actually seeing the exact opposite. Research done at the University of Geneva shows that playing action shooter games actually improves some functions in our gray matter. Dr. Bavelier, who did a whole TED Talk on the subject, has shown that gaming can improve eyesight, even producing safer drivers on the road. Most fascinating of all, gaming helps us be better at something that eludes most people all their lives: multitasking. Studies also show that gaming can significantly improve puzzle solving. Which any Myst player worth their salt already knows.
Games get a bad rap from a lot of frenzied media. But gaming is actually good for you. Of course, everything in moderation. Don’t forget to shower and give your wife a smooch every once in a while.