Talk about gamers in the 21st century and you're probably referring to those who play games on computer systems, a medium which has all but replaced formats such as board games and pen-and-paper role-playing games. While some people suggest playing games on a computer can aid in the development of skills such as improving reflexes, critics point out some disadvantages.
Spending a long period of time playing at a computer can have detrimental effects on your health. For a start, you're sitting in one position, pressing the same buttons repeatedly, which can lead to hand and eye strain. A long game session can leave you physically tired, affecting your performance at school or work; overall, this could result in lower personal attainment.
Computer games can trigger epileptic attacks in sufferers who play, which can be extremely dangerous. Often, such an attack is a result of flashing images contained in the game. However, according to "The Effect of Video-game Software in Video-game Epilepsy" by S. Ricci et al., attacks can also result from emotional excitement or sleep deprivation which stems from playing these games.
Some critics of computer gaming have pointed toward the violent content of some games, such as the "Grand Theft Auto" series, as being a factor in influencing players toward aggressive action and attitudes in real life. Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia found a causal link between game playing and aggression after studying the brain patterns of 39 gamers. Critics also fear that gamers become desensitised to violence as a result of what they see on computer screens.
Games are All-Consuming
Many computer games require a substantial commitment of time and energy to complete, and players must give up other pursuits to concentrate on completing their favourite games. Other games, such as "Farmville" for example, require regular participation to avoid being unsuccessful in the game. The result is that players often abandon other hobbies and spend their time on the computer instead. In some cases, the time spent on a game can lead to a full-blown addiction, and the player may have difficulty adjusting to life away from the game, says the Tech Addiction website.
The cost of computer gaming can fluctuate based on how many games you buy and the type of titles you like to play, but with new games costing as much as £39, gaming can be a pricey hobby. A larger expense can come in the form of the computer upgrades needed to run the most recent games; for example, you might need to purchase a new graphics card, costing around £39 or £45.
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- Newman University College: Computer Games and Cognitive Learning; Advantages and Disadvantages; Sarah Howells; 2006
- "Epilepsia"; The Effect of Video-game Software in Video-game Epilepsy; S. Ricci et al; 1999
- BBC: Violent games 'affect behaviour'; 2006
- Tech Addiction: Symptoms of Computer Game Addiction