'Why gaming has been good for me'
Games, gaming and gamers can sometimes get a bad rep.
Many stories in the news have discussed the more controversial aspects of gaming, such as shooter games being too violent, or games like Fortnite being potentially addictive, or kids spending too much money on in-game purchases.
But can gaming also be a force for good? We asked some industry pros at the EGX gaming convention to tell us about the positive impact gaming had on them.
A sense of community
In 2018, games analytics company Newzoo found that 37.3 million people were playing games in the UK - that’s roughly half the population of the entire country. So it's a huge community, with different ways to interact for its members: games that involve multiplayer interaction (otherwise known as MMOs), such as World of Warcraft, often include options to chat, either by typing or talking through a headset.
However, it’s important to stay safe when meeting strangers online. While, as Rebecca Whitlow from Cosplay Community Magazine says, most people you meet will be really friendly, you should never give out personal details such as your address or full name if you don’t know who the person is you’re speaking to.
Some studies have shown that playing video games can increase your hand-eye coordination. It makes sense - you have a lot of information presented to you on a screen that you have to react to with your controller.
And with virtual reality (VR) consoles, you have to react to the digital world around you, which can also improve your motor skills. Pro athletes are even using the technology to train: the US ski team used VR to train for the Winter Olympics. So, it may seem completely contradictory, but playing some video games could make you better at sports IRL.
Direct and indirect learning
While there are plenty of great specifically educational games out there, games can actually be educational indirectly. Games set in the past, such as the Assassin’s Creed canon, can provide an introduction to history by interacting with famous figures, or playing through certain events. For example, in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, you meet lots of famous faces in Victorian London, such as Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale.
An important educational feature of games according to Adam Vian of SFB Games is that they improve our reading comprehension. With lots of games, you read everything from the narrative, to signs on the road, to instructions on how to continue. Not only can it improve our reading skills, but it can also serve as a way to inspire us to read more books and stories.