So... Just how HAVE Videogames affected you?

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I think it's safe to say that we escapists can all agree that playing videogames is not going to turn us into blood thirsty maniacs. And as Jim Sterling proved a few weeks ago we're far from desensitized to violence. However I can't help but wonder just what kind of effect videogames do have on people. I'm not trying to single out videogames because they're a particularly interactive form of entertainment, but they are still a part of Media entertainment as a whole. A can recall a lot of values and standards that I've absorbed from other mediums like books and movies and television.

Videogames are a bit harder though. As I probably got into serious gaming later than most of you, I can't quite place any behavioral patterns or life lessons that I can atribute directly to games. Not really sure about such staples as improved hand eye coordination or improved problem solving, but that could simply be because of my wildly fluctuating self esteem. I suppose my mother would say it has given me a lot more stress and that's probably true. Getting games to sodding work has always been a problem for me (technology doesn't like me) and I tend to set high or very specific standerds for myself that I have trouble meeting. Corny as it may seem, I think the biggest impact gaming has had on my life is bringing me here to the escapist. It's difficult trying to imagine going without the featured content and the people i talk to here. I probably spend too much time here as it is, and certainly more time than I do gaming. But that's due as much to my fickle Xbox Live connection as it is genuinely wanting to be here.

How about you?

I wouldn't attribute video games specifically to many aspects of my life/personality, but certain bits and pieces of the experience have shaped who I am for sure. The only things video games as a whole have done to/for me is: improve my hand-eye-coordination and my problem solving skills.

Video games are just another form of media that bring many of the same things to the table that other forms do, just in different ways. I loose sleep over video games all the time (including last night), but if it wasn't a video game it could have easily been a movie or tv show. There are two main things that will draw me into a game and not let me put the controller (or mouse) down: a good story and/or the drive to improve/succeed. Neither of these things are exclusive to video games.

I think it'd be easier to explain how my chosen forms of media have affected me as a whole, honestly. Stories in particular affect me enormously. I truly believe many of my favorite stories have helped me grow as a person. I may not always agree with an author's message, but stories are a brilliant way to share ideas with others and I have actively sought to improve myself based on a theme or message I felt was important enough to act upon.

I think the single best example would be Silent Hill 2. SH2 convinced me that the game medium is more suited to the horror genre than book or even film, and demonstrated how valuable games can be, and what they can do.

Other games shaped my childhood, and gave me some of my earlier memories-- OoT, Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and Starfox, specifically.

As a whole, though, I'd have to say books have had more of an effect on me. Games perhaps vie with films for second place.

Well, it stunted my social growth, I'd say.

Not that I have a hard time making friends, but I imagine most of my self-esteem issues can probably be tied back to how much I played video games while I was growing up. As for whether it was the cause or just a consequence, I couldn't really say... it was fairly cyclical in the end.

Along with music though, in the last few years it's made me get a lot more analytical. I always seem to be examining things in media now, the writing, the environments, character interactions, exposition, the pacing, sound editing/mixing, artistic aesthetic, tightness of movement/control schemes, etc.

If I find something that starts nagging at me, I can't usually just ignore it. I'm a lot more tolerant than some other people I've seen, and I'll certainly overlook small things if I'm enjoying myself, but they're always in the back of my mind.

They haven't.

Much like music, TV and film hasn't affected anything in my life.

They are a hobby. Something I do to kill a few hours. I don't put enough into them to have them influence anything in my life.

I'm not sure its affected me, at least to a big extent. If I had to list anything, it's probably made me a-lot calmer. I still have hot Latin blood coursing through my veins but it takes a bit more to spark a blow out. Maybe made me a bit more insightful about who I am. Especially my play-throughs of New Vegas where despite trying to side of the Legion, I couldn't get over some of their ways. This time I am though, maybe. >_>

They've been good for my coordination, good for my problem solving skills, good for my multi-tasking skills, good for my ability to think strategically and tactically, and actually good for my social skills (I was a shy kid, communicating via the internet gave me a huge confidence boost that I was able to parlay into face to face).

They've been lousy for my physical health (hard on the wrists and shoulders, hard on the eyes, sedentary activity so I tend to put on pounds in the winter I then need to work off).

I think there's definitely a direct causation of my playing the Tex Murphy game Under a Killing Moon when I was 8 years old in 1994 and then deciding that I wanted to be a detective. While a few other career options have caught my attention, I always seemed to go back to that desire, so I suppose I owe video games that.

I drew Mario so many times that I started doing it for a living. At least that's what everyone in my family thinks I do v:

I pretty sure that the result of gaming has made more aware/ awake/ focus onto stuff meaning my current light sleeper. Also it is thanks to gaming that I have been spending less time on other stuff aswell but that is merely a matter of self control.

As far as I can tell, they've only honed my hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, and information processing time. Books and Star Trek had far and away the most impact on my life, simply due to the fact that a) reading was pretty much all I did during my formative years, and b) TV time with my family was pretty much just Star Trek.

I think they have strengthened my problem solving skills, but have been detrimental to my attention spa...... oh look a button ^_^

Being able to figure out where I am in relation to where I am trying to get to. Being friendlier to people - a very "what can I do for you?" mentality has developed over years and years of playing RPG games of every sector - helping out on small tasks etc. just seems very second nature. Lots of ways honestly. I know video games are right up there with literature in the human products that have shaped me. A lack of parental input may have increased what I take from such sources so I expect to vary from the normal there.

Video games saved me, I was badly mistreated as a child, video Games gave me a place of refuge from the violence, A safe little place to hide. The more time I was in my room playing games the less time I was out in the house risking a random beating.

They may have saved my life. This is tied to childhood things I'm not going to get into, but suffice it to say I'm very grateful that video games were available to make me feel strong and that I could accomplish seemingly insurmountable things.

It's kind of a hard question for me to answer, as I don't really have a frame of reference. Any time I spent not playing video games would have been before the age of 3 or 4, times I can't remember and wasn't developed enough to have critical thought anyway. Whether or not they're related, I have a killer reaction time, pick up new things very easily, have no issue reading a set of rules and implementing them, and I tend to focus on multiple things successfully and maintain all of them equally. I can't really relate to people who just picked it up later in their life, as I simply can't remember any portion of my life without gaming in it.

I love it. It's always been there waiting when a girl broke my heart, and forged valuable friendships around the arcade cabinet or "my turn if you die" controller passing. I can think of (and unfortunately remember) 100 more dangerous and destructive ways to leave this world for a fantastical one, to feel powerful and capable of overcoming difficulties. Sappy, but I regret not a word.

Stories are beginning to amalgamate in my head.

At this rate i might turn into a writer whether i want it or not.

In an indirect way, video games (and movies) made me more moral.

When I was a kid, a staple trope of entertainment aimed at kids was "the hero gets the girl". If Mario persevered, if he kept stomping on turtles that just want to walk back and forth on ledges, he'd get the princess. If Link became a virtuous hero of legend, he'd get Zelda. If Douglas Quaid sacrifices the world he knows to help the Martian colonists, then he gets to sleep with Melina. If Han Solo can tame his rakish ways, he'll get to sex a princess who owns a gold-plate bikini.

When I was in high school I had a bit of a crisis at one point because I kept trying to do "the right thing", and I wasn't getting the girl. And eventually I realized that life wasn't like video games, and virtuous behavior doesn't get rewarded. I decided I wanted to do "the right thing" not to be rewarded, but because that was who I was. And then a little after that was when my dating life started.

EDIT:
Video games also gave me a theory about learning and fun that pretty strongly informs my approach to teaching.

When I was a little kid, the games I would play with my friends were all definitely flavored by the games I played on my own on the SNES, Genesis etc. As an adult though it's a bit harder to gauge. I play games more than I watch movies/TV, read comics, etc so I guess it could be argued that gaming has only really effected my abilities with lucid dreaming. Other than that I think a lifetime of gaming has enhanced my ability to notice things that other people may not be able to. Like while driving, I can almost always detect things from my peripheral vision that I'm not sure other people would have noticed. Then again I think that can be disproved by the difficulty I have in finding something for someone when said thing is apparently right next to me...

...

It's really hard to gauge I guess...

Deus Ex 1&2 made me recognize the responsibilities those in power have, as well as turning me into a bastardization of cynicism and nihilism because the only guaranteed ways of enforcing responsible leadership is to establish an omniscient superbeing against the will of those being placed under its rule.

Hand-eye co-ordination and all that jazz. They've been pretty beneficial to my life I'd say, killing boredom when necessary, providing entertainment and for the first time last year, providing an emotional experience.

Nothing.
I play games to kill time for some entertainment, similar to the Escapist or anything else I do for fun.

-Hand eye coordination
-Reflexes
-Problem solving
-getting over my fear of the dark/water/the unknown
-Quick decision making(IE in an FPS and playing at top levels, you get into a firefight you have to be able to decide exactly what which target is most dangerous and what is the best course of action in a split second.)
-Helped me get over AvPD by socializing through a medium I felt safe in.
-Psychology knowledge, from testing peoples reactions to various things. I kind of treat multiplayer games like a psych lab.
-A general ego booster as well to be really good at something.

Well, videogames taught me some pretty complex things, got me interested in programming, drove me throughout high school, and brought me here to the Escapist, one of the only places I actually post and lurk on. So I'd say they've had more than a hand in the creation of what my life is today.

Chemical Alia:
I drew Mario so many times that I started doing it for a living. At least that's what everyone in my family thinks I do v:

Having played around in your actual work for years on end, I have to say your family should be proud. I hope to take what I've learned about games and apply what I've done for a living, like you did.

As for me, it's done several things. It's helped me stay around when times got tough, and some of my skills have been sharpened to a needle-point because of them. I've made many friends over games, and developed many passions as a result. While unfortunately my physicality has suffered a bit due to its sedentary nature, I've also been inspired to get in better shape so I can train my body to move like that of a game character. Overall, they've had a positive impact on my life, though not without consequences.

I think I am an overall better person, but I'm probably more antisocial.

Actually, I'm kind of nostalgic and bitter about the "good old days", but to be honest 13 year-old me would be absolutely happy to have a lot of games with multiplayer; this isn't the case now because, a) I don't have as many friedsn, and b) We're all so fucking busy that seeing each other for gaming is harder.

Video games made me an angry, bitter person and eventually drove me to kill my friends.

Damn you Mario Party.

Playing Vice City made me want to be cocaine dealer in Miami during the '70s.
I'm still working on that.

Prevented me from committing suicide during depression.

Take THAT anti-videogame people!

videogames killed my parents

triggrhappy94:
Playing Vice City made me want to be cocaine dealer in Miami during the '70s.
I'm still working on that.

you just made my day thank you

OT: The save me from boredom, but ruin my homework grades. YAY!

Video games did all of the expected things, like better hand eye coordination, improved reflexes and the like. It's also had some unexpected side effects. For one thing, it's probably the only thing I can actually talk about with my disappearing brother when we see him. He got me into gaming, and he knows I keep up to date/have usually fair opinions on things.

Gaming has also probably kept me sane these last few years. From immense pressure at school to dealing with my now daily health problem (not sure if that's the best way of putting it, but fuck it, I'm dead tired), I would probably be miserable if I didn't have an outlet ("Besides vag-" NO! Bad brain!). I'm probably less social in real life, but I've made better friends online anyway. I can go on more but I doubt anyone wants that. Or that anyone is reading this sleep-deprived rant. If you did, all of my love. You have it. Take it. Or just a cookie. Whichever you want :3

They made me a crazed sociopath who loves to rape and kill children :)........what don't they do that to everyone?

Well if I didn't play them, I might well have been a completely different person.

For example, most friends I've made were due to a mutual love of video games, either that or they were a mutual friend of the previous group.

There have been negatives of course, but I like to believe that the positives far, far outweigh them.

Also, if I didn't love video games, I wouldn't have ended up here, with all you fabulous people! And I wouldn't have known about Community and Arrested Development! And I'm pretty sure at least some people are aware how much I do enjoy those shows (particularly aware of the former)

Hard to say really. I've been playing games all my life and I have no idea how I would have turned out if I never started.

In tandem with real life they've made me impervious to vicious insults and made me so accustomed to failure and disappointment that they barely affect me anymore. However the former could as easily be attributed to the internet in general and the latter to my being a useless piece of shit.

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