For more than 30 years, video gaming has been a popular activity amongst many of America’s children. With over $63 billion (Reuters, reuters.com) worth sold each year, video games are here to stay. While much controversy has arisen over the subject, video games have benefited the United States of America and its citizens to a great degree. For example, the military and CIA use gaming to train soldiers (Davidson, www.ehow.com), and classrooms use video games to teach students. The potential is infinite. Some studies demonstrate video game usage improves certain mental functions. However, when exposed to violent video games, some people develop to antisocial and aggressive behavior. In order to understand the potential benefits and dangers of video games and to make informed purchasing decisions, it is important to consider the history of video games, their military uses, their educational value, and the effects they have on the brain.
In 1986, the video game industry was failing miserably, with a meager $100 million total value. Then, Nintendo, initially a trading card company, released the Nintendo Entertainment System, reviving the video game industry from its imminent death. With hits such as "Super Mario Brothers" and "Adventure Island", sales skyrocketed preventing video games from just being a passing fad. Technologic advancements and novel ideas such as glasses-free 3D, Kinect body tracking, and augmented reality help make the video game industry one of the largest industries on the planet. These technologies are presently utilized by institutions such as NASA, military, the public school system, and the CIA in addition to being simple entertaining pastimes. Video game technology is visible and integrated in many levels of society. Clearly there are benefits.
One of the familiar beneficial uses of video games is its use in safe, realistic military training and government agent training. The Central Intelligence Agency has started developing a computer simulation to help train analysts to think like terrorists. “Guard Force” is intended to help analysts locate terrorists by simulating ideal situations, such as a local shooting or bombing. Similarly, the U.S Military utilizes video games to train soldiers to fight. “Full Spectrum Warrior” by Pandemic is being used by the U.S Military to familiarize new soldiers with disaster scenarios. This method is both economic and convenient (Davidson, www.ehow.com).
Video games are used for educational purposes as well. Websites such as www.quizlet.com incorporate study facts and test questions into a video game format. Many teachers are turning to www.quizlet.com to help educate their students. Writing classes are also looking to video games by allowing the students to play role-playing games for writing inspiration. Now, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) classrooms integrate video games into their curricula (David 17). “Crazy...