With the evolution of technology, new ways of entertainment were brought to the lives of 60’s kids. It was the revolutionary time when gaming consoles and home computer games were introduced to public. The popularity of digital entertainment kept growing daily. Children got interested in staying indoors, instead of being out, while maybe open to the dangers on the street still enjoying the sunshine a meeting other kids. Today video games are a huge part of every teenager’s life. They completely changed the way we interact with the world and family. Even if you pause for a second and try to remember how your childhood used to look like about compared to how it does today, you will be shocked.
To look back in the history, “Pong” was not the first video game, but it was the first truly successful one. It was very easy arcade game, based on the principles of ping-pong. Few years later with the invention of gaming consoles, home entertainment was set to a completely different level, because in the 70’s there was not much choice of entertaining at home, one of the few things to do was watching television, with just a few channels, and suddenly there was a chance to plug something into the TV and take control over what you see on the screen, and that was mind-blowing. Few years later, with the invention of few more arcade games, people even set arcade playing machines in the public places like restaurants and shopping malls, and that’s when gaming was taken to the mainstream. People even invented TV shows where they played arcade games in the live mode competing with each other. During all these years, over 8 generations of gaming consoles were invented.
Few years later, in the late 1980’s video games started transformation from simple to 3D graphics, and that’s where several new gaming genres were born. For example shooting, strategy and multiplayer games. In 1989, the first handheld gaming console was released by Nintendo, called Game Boy, and shortly another company invented Tetris, and these 2 machines became bestsellers, every self-respecting teenager in USA had his own handheld console carried everywhere. That meant no boredom for them, and also constant distraction from many stuff in their daily life such as education and social life for kids.
With the development of stronger computers and increased accessibility, the prices went down and 3D games on personal computers became extremely popular, especially online gaming, where people could interact and play with people from all around the world in the live mode. Few years later Web browser gaming was also established as new gaming platform, that meant web based games, played directly from the gaming web sites, no more downloads.
Nowadays video games are just as important part of the society as social media or television. It has a huge influence on the way people entertain, communicate and live in the society. A lot of modern games even represent modern world’s events. For example, the war and terror in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan is reflected by the Call of Duty series.
As mentioned above, video games also have huge impact on the education of the younger generations. Games have clear goals, scoring structure, growing difficulty levels and also fantasy factor. That’s everything needed for a good education system. Despite it all, many parents still see gaming as a very negative activity, which tries to consume all the free time and force their child to act like negative characters from their favorite games. Also very common thought about gaming is that it usually brings an apathy and depression. But is gaming really that bad?
Later studies have shown that the kids who spend less than one-third of their free time playing video games, are more into socializing, have more life satisfaction and are less hyperactive than non-player kids. But are video games as healthy as eating vegetables? Even if it is not nutritious, studies show that there is almost no difference between electronic and “ordinary” play, because they both develop fantasy, and fantasy by all means is extremely important. But, of course, that does not mean that children should be allowed to play video games all day. Studies have also shown that kids, who spend almost all of their free time gaming, showed more negative results. They were more antisocial, had some emotional problems and low life satisfaction levels. So we can conclude that if a child spends less than approximately 3 hours by the screen every day, then it is more or less okay. But there is one thing parents should be aware of, it is the age/content inappropriate gaming. Parents should protect their kids from extremely violent and sexual games. Yes, the arguments can still be made against video gaming, but the facts show that pros and cons are almost equal; therefore, there is no point in being extremely caring and leaving our children without their favorite activity , because our lives are shaped and molded by our favorite characters, and video games show a lot of examples of being a superhero.
What is also very interesting is that children grow up and develop much faster these years than they used to back in the 20th century. This may partly be connected to the excessive information that they get from the video games and online world all the time.
All in all, there is no doubt that video games had a huge impact on the world and people living on this planet. Players learn a lot from different video games, skills like creative thinking, fast analysis, on-the-spot decisions, multitasking and so on. All of these skills are very vital in the modern society, and having them developed from the early childhood will only bring positive effects to our lives.