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REVIEW of Focus 07
Video Games - Harmless Entertainment or Social Menace?

To many, the answer might seem obvious; but unless it is an informed opinion based on personal experience, it doesn't really count for much. This was the thought I had when I decided I should try a few video games before writing about them. The results were quite surprising and I had to admit that video-gaming could be both rewarding and, in some instances, downright dangerous!

There is no doubt in my mind that the puzzle-type games help exercise hand-eye co-ordination and keep the brain active. Matching picture tiles to make a score, or hunting for specific objects cleverly hidden within a scene is entertaining and requires observational skills that can be therapeutic; and as the movement of pieces is generally performed with a finger as on a touch-screen, or by clicking and dragging with the mouse, even people with limited dexterity can enjoy and benefit from the challenge.

I discovered a few action-type games were also fairly innocuous. Although some were about death and destruction, there seemed little harm in plants killing zombies with pea-shooters. As for adopting the character of a Barbarian or Sorceress to battle demons and mythical creatures, whether using brute force or magic, this didn't strike me as anything more than acting out simple fantasies. Games that are such a far cry from reality shouldn't, in my opinion, encourage players towards a life of crime and violence.

The ones I consider a problem are the seemingly true-to-life, pop-pop, bang-bang, kill-anyone-in-sight scenarios. Depicting realistic human characters performing brutal and blood-thirsty acts, they feed the imagination in visual and subliminal ways, increasing the rush, the stress and, more importantly, leaving a confusing after-image that could make it difficult for some to draw the line between virtual reality and the life they have to live without a game controller in their hands.

Maybe you disagree. See if I make sense of the issue by checking out the full article where you can join me on my quest of discovery through the world of video games. To read the complete article or download the PDF of Focus 07 click here

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