Video Games

April 13, 2008
By Matthew Zin, NY, NY

Video games: an obsession to some, a pastime for others and a scourge to still others. Video games were first turned into an industry during the 1970s and since then, they have grown into a $10 billion industry, rivaling the movie industry now. Video games come in many genres, including RPG (role-playing games) like the famous Final Fantasy series, FPS (First-person shooters) like the famous game Counterstrike and RTS (real-time strategy) like the Age of Empires series.

Video games have been very controversial and are still controversial. Many acts of violence are blamed on video games and the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was a very controversial game due to a hack that implemented a sexual scene that caused the ESRB to change its rating from M for Mature to AO for Adults Only. Grand Theft Auto is also blamed for many violent crimes including murder of police officers, hit and runs, and gang wars.

However, are all video games detrimental for one’s health? Possibly, with it now being really common to hear at least 3 comments involving headshots and humiliations when walking down a school hallway as well as hearing people claim they are “1337er” than you or that you are a “f***ing noob.”

There are also video games helpful to one’s knowledge, however. There are video games for little children that teach math, the alphabet, English, and even Spanish. I grew up a video game person with Pajama Sam, Putt Putt, and Freddy the Fish. These games taught me about teamwork, math, and logical skills even though I didn’t know it at the time. In fact, now that I look back, the ways they used to teach me seem really ridiculous.

At the age of 7, I was introduced to a revolutionary game: Age of Empires 2. This was the first RTS I’ve ever played and I would spend hours playing it, beating the campaigns and using little computer soldiers to kill other computer skills. I would even sometimes stay up until 2 in the morning playing this addicting game. Along the way, I learned about William Wallace, Joan of Arc, Frederick Barbarossa, Genghis Khan and Saladin. I found out years later, that I wouldn’t learn about these great people until high school, which meant I had a seven year head start!

Fast forward a couple of years, and I was surrounded by a bunch of video games that taught me history. Shogun Total War, Kessen, Empire Earth, Rise of Nations; just a few of the many games I grew up with. These games ensured me a really big head start for high school.

However, with good games, there are always bad games. When I was in the 6th grade, the Counterstrike craze started to sweep my grade and I was soon caught up. I soon realized how pointless the game was after a few months of playing it and I eventually went back to knowledge- giving games.

Overall, video games are like food. Some are good for you, some taste good and others are just plain bad.

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