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New findings brazenly defy decades of research

Published: Thursday, May 31 2012 4:53 p.m. MDT

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Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

Video games only received criticism because they were new. People always fear the new. Now video games are getting old. Its now an established industry and expressive medium, whether you understand it or not.

Video games engage an audience on a higher level than passive activities like reading books, watching tv/cinema/live events, or listening to music. The player is actively engaged and making decisions based on a number of quickly changing factors.

Nothing amuses me more than watching a non-gamer attempt to play games, fail at it, give up too quickly, and then blame the games for being nonsense and a waste of time.

Video games are all about active problem solving; if you can't do that, you probably won't like games.

And violence in games is absolutely a part of all this. It engages the audience in a visceral, organic way. Since the dawn of man, people have had an urge to kill things, now it can be done in a safe, constructive way.

Some people kill real animals and enjoy it. I kill fake people (sometimes being played by real people) and enjoy it. I say I have the moral high ground.

SS
MiddleofNowhere, Utah

Like 99% of the rest of the world I have played video games and have found some games that I enjoy and am good at. However, if you are able to measure the amount of time you play video games in any number of hours per day than I don't see how one can support it and think that it is positive. The problem with video games is that it simulates life. There is nothing real about it. I live my life by actually doing the things that "gamers" only experience through the television screen. If you are spending hours a day playing video games than you are living life sitting on a couch looking at a screen with a paddle in your hands, pretty boring if you ask me. That's not to say that I hate video games, but it should be very minimal.

raybies
Layton, UT

nice article. looks like someone put a lot of information together. Good for you. I got interested in computers and how they worked thanks to games. I think a lot of folks start out that way.

There's a lot of research left to do in this arena--especially regarding the sorts of games and their effects on the mind. Hopefully the quality of findings will become more definitive.

Pierda
kaysville, ut

This article/research has some major flaws in it.

1) The test to measure creativity is not a comprehensive test (no single test can measure all levels of creativity). Isn't the premise that you can quantify creativity inherently flawed?
2) I don't see in here who funded the research. That can tell a lot about findings when you know who funded it.
3) At the end they finally bring up the largest flaw and that is: "Do these violent video games cause creativity, or do creative kids have a greater tendency to migrate toward those violent games?"

Until that last question is answered, then you can't make blanket statements like "Video games stimulate creativity".

Video games involve more memorization than problem solving. Each level and challenge is repetitive so all you have to do is memorize how to defeat that particular level then you can move on. This only comes from hours of sedentary repetitive behavior.

Mr.Glass
Salt Lake City, UT

I have always thought video games were good for the brain, but I would like to address someone's claim that video games are somehow superior to reading books. Reading books is not an inherently passive activity. Try reading Moby Dick, or other books that engage the imagination in ways that allow the reader to engage some empathy, critical thinking and points of view.

Let's appreciate video games for their ability to engage our brains, but let's not get too carried away with claims of superiority over other brain engaging activities. Does anyone think a illiterate, video gaming addicted child would thrive in our culture?

Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

Mr. Glass,

Are you aware of how much text there is in video games? Or how much reading is required?
Obviously not.

You cannot be "illiterate" and play most games.

The difference is, when you read something in a book, you just read that information. You can think about it more deeply, but it isn't required. When you read something in a game, you must use that information to progress in the game.

Games are as diverse as books, if not more so. The are simple books and simple games, but there are also complex books and complex games. Games do qualify as a form of modern literature and some of the brightest young writers are engaged in video game writing.

Games require all the same skills, but require active involvement, but some people have a hard time giving up this sentiment that reading a book is somehow a superior act.

"Books" are becoming digital anyhow, and the lines are blurring. What really needs to be asked is which is more stimulating: Just reading or reading and interacting?

Mr.Glass
Salt Lake City, UT

Mukkake,

Have you tried reading Moby Dick or Sound and Fury? Regardless of how deep you wish to read these novels, it requires a great deal of mental power to follow. Every tried to read Shakespeare? The works of Shakespeare, Melville and Faulkner cannot be read passively, no matter how deep you decide to read them; actually, such works demands a certain level of depth.

How well read are you? I have a hard time believing you are well read based on your judgement that reading in general is passive activity. Some literature can certainly be read more passively than others, just as some video games require zero literacy (I learned Pac Man as kid by watching others; it required no reading whatsoever.)

By the way, the digitization of books is not really blurring too many lines. I own a Kindle, and reading Moby Dick as an eBook is not really much different than reading it in print.

sgerbil
Bella Vista, AR

I think much of the judgement of video games comes from people who do not play video games, or played a game of pac man or super mario brothers a long time ago. Video games have come a long way since then. Most are no longer games of repetition and memory. The games now require the player to use critical thinking skills and they respond to the user choices changing accordingly. I would much rather my child play a non-violent video game then watch television. As for sedentary, well the Wii, kinex, and playstation move are slowely changing that. And with all things moderation.

Mukkake
Salt Lake City, UT

[Have you tried reading Moby Dick or Sound and Fury?]

Yes to the first, no to the second.

[Every tried to read Shakespeare?]

Yes, but it pointless. Shakespeare is meant to be performed, seen, and heard. He reads very poorly.

[How well read are you? I have a hard time believing you are well read based on your judgement that reading in general is passive activity.]

Well read? Just another vacuous buzz term that means "I read what other people have declared as essential." Do people who read Harry Potter and Twilight count as "well read"? They read a lot, sure, but it doesn't amount to much.

[Some literature can certainly be read more passively than others, just as some video games require zero literacy]

This is exactly the point I made earlier...

[(I learned Pac Man as kid by watching others; it required no reading whatsoever.)]

Well, old man, have you tried playing any games recently (in the last 30 years perhaps)?

[By the way, the digitization of books is not really blurring too many lines.]

Sorry, but your Kindle doesn't put you on the cutting edge. The lines are blurred, and interactive literature is now literature.

SS
MiddleofNowhere, Utah

Mukkake, in regards to your argument that you can't be illiterate and play video games . . . I work with mentally retarded individuals, and they can be quite good at video games.

LValfre
CHICAGO, IL

"@Pierda

2) I don't see in here who funded the research. That can tell a lot about findings when you know who funded it."

Good point that's very important. Kind of like FAIR, BYU, Fox, ABC, CNN .... you know these places are biased in their research or WHICH research they choose to give light too. For instance there was a widely distributed study on the health benefits of Coffee recently that was on every major newspaper I checked. I did not find that study on DNews though ...

Outside of questioning the credibility of the research, I have a long history with video games and board games for that matter. I've always leaned towards strategy games, economy building, empire building, etc. where you have to pull a Romney (balance budgets and wars) to become the world leader. Board game wise I've always loved Monopoly and still play it today online ...

These aren't exactly dumb games with no thinking involved. Especially when you're playing online against real humans who are thinking and strategizing as well. And they're much more engaging than watching TV.

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