How Interactive Games Affect our Development

From the day we’re born we’re constantly bombarded with information and data on various formats. From adverts on TV, radio in our cars and even billboards on our daily commute. But one medium has the greatest effect on our lives, games, be it board games, consoles, PC or even something as simple as iphone bingo apps.

Games have arguably been the biggest developing factor in our lives. As children we play simplistic colour matching or animal identification games to help us understand our world, who we are and how to interact with others in our daily life. These basic games improve our motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination as we grow into adulthood.

And as we grow, our tastes change, we go from barnyard animals and dinosaurs to more complex consoles.

The Nintendo Wii, which launched in 2006 was aimed primarily at children and young adults, although not hitting its initial sales target and featuring a controller that at first had difficulty picking up a players vague directional flails, the Wii broke ground in motion gaming. With the inclusion of a balance board that promoted yoga and fitness games like Wii Fit, Nintendo tried to create a generation of fitness inspired gamers.

Sadly though the lack of third party developers and the occasional unresponsive controls left the Wii and its subsequent follow up console the Wii U, floundering.

But at its core the Wii broke new ground in social gaming, it brought families together, finally they all had a game they could play together, either bowling or something as simple as Mario Kart. The Wii brought something to the table that we all require, social interaction with others.

So as far as development towards being an adult goes, this was type of breakthrough in gaming was key to the consoles success.

But it’s not just movement controls and multiplayer that helps in gaming, the current emerging trend of virtual reality headsets has helped spur on the imagination of countless people as they become fully immersed in a gaming world.
It all started as far back as the early 90’s.

In 1995 Nintendo launched the Virtual Boy, a virtual reality headset that promised to completely submerge players in the game. At the time it was simple games like Mario Tennis and Galactic Pinball, it quickly disappeared into obscurity.
But like 3D glasses, the technology has made a comeback.

In 2012, a crowd funded Kick-starter raised $2.4 million for Oculus Rift VR, a company who created the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is a headset worn by the player that completely covers the eyes; dual lenses provide a large degree of stereoscopic 3D perspective to the player, completely immersing them in the game. The headset has seen astronomical popularity as within a few months all pre-orders for headsets were almost sold out. Although not many games currently support the Oculus Rift, it is however being quickly adapted by developers as the next big step in gaming.

Virtual reality has become a huge impact on how we develop as human beings, no longer do we have to pretend the tiny dot on the screen is us manipulating the world around us, instead our imaginations can be let loose in our own 3D world as we completely become the characters we play.

Videogames throughout the years have deeply influenced who we are as a society, how we interact and empathise with those around us. Morale choices in games are instantly reflected by how we act in real life.
For example, do we choose to save the princess in the castle, or murder everyone and make off with the loot ourselves?

But there are of course those who would argue that video games can lead to growing violent behaviour in children.
For example after the Sandy Hook school incident, the killer was found to have played first person shooter games, which lead to an outcry of various critics calling for the outright ban of games. Business mogul Donald Trump even commented: “Video game violence and glorification must be stopped, it’s creating monsters!”

But there is of course no direct link between violence in videogames and the creation of violent behaviour in children, Hal Halpin, the president of the non-profit Entertainment Consumers Association came out in support of games saying “I’d simply and respectfully point to the lack of evidence to support any causal link.”

I would say to those that think there is a direct connection between violence in videogames and emerging violence in children to also consider movies, T.V, even the cartoons children watch before they judge just one medium.
I myself used to watch incredibly violent shows growing up and I turned out fine, a slight addiction to anything Transformer related, but still a functioning member of society.

Since the introduction of pong back in the 70’s gaming has grown it’s gone from the stereotype of the quiet loner sitting in a dark room, to the more sociably accepted sight of friends sharing scores on their mobile games such as Angry Birds, Candy Crush or even what the best iPhone bingo apps are with their parents. I think that without gaming, society’s development would be radically different.

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