Very few people seem to understand the value of video games. I never really played them growing up. We didn't have any of the consoles, and the only games we played were solitaire and spider solitaire. I would occasionally play in the arcade, but even that was discouraged as a waste of money.
Then I went to Job Corps. I discovered what a PlayStation was (the first ones – the massive gray one). I really only played a little, though I made some momentous comments about them. Like my first experience with the rumble pack (vibrating controller). I exclaimed, “It's a vibrator!” I couldn't figure out why my boyfriend (now my husband) and the RA in the dorm were laughing. It was only later, when I wasn't as innocent (let's not talk about how long that innocence lasted, okay?), that I realized why they thought it was so funny.
One thing I did notice though, as I started playing more video games. My depression was less pronounced. I could escape and play without hurting anyone. I could lose myself for a few hours in a world that was different from my own, in a way that reading and writing couldn't give me.
My favorite video games are the Final Fantasy series from VII to XII, skipping XI because, well, it was stupid and the Sims games all the way up to Sims 3 and its expansion packs. (I played Sims for a while, got Sims 2, and then when it came out I won Sims 3 in a contest.) As I don't have a console anymore (and I don't really miss it that much), I focus on the Sims. I need to get it on Himself's computer so I can play it, but that's another thing altogether. Sims 3 gave me the freedom to introduce myself to a world where I could see what it was like to be rich (cheat codes FTW!) and have lots of cats.
I was recently reading some things online when I came across this article from Time Magazine. It talks about how a specially crafted video game helped depressed teenagers deal with their depression. I thought it was an amazing study. Here's another one from the BBC on how video games can help with depression. And this one from the Huffington Post gives a much broader view of what video games are good for.
I get so tired of the naysayers of video games, saying they'll lead to violence and drug use. I've seen other reports out there where the need for violence, the desire to commit suicide, and general aggression are lessened by playing video games. They help a person put those emotions to use in a safe way and helps them relax. Where's the harm in that?
Now there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Some people become so obsessed with video games that they lose all touch with reality. But those people are few and far between. We hear so much about them because it goes to prove the negative point. But more and more we're hearing about the benefits of video games as well.
What are your views on video games? Do you play any? What's your favorite?