Video Games: Are They Worth Your Time and Money?

by AJ Pettersen · 8 comments

Video gamers

Video games have been sparking the interest of kids and adults since the Atari was born in 1972. From the original games like Pong and Pacman, to newer games seen in high definition, the video game market is constantly evolving.

I’ve been a video game lover my entire life, sticking almost entirely to the sports games that are released each year. I’ve spent countless hours in front of a television screen, sometimes alone, sometimes with family and friends. Was this all wasted time? Are video games worth the time they consume and the money they cost?

How Video Games Can Have a Positive Impact

I got my first video game console when I was 13. I’d played some games before at neighbors’ homes, but this was my first experience with my own system. It was a great way for my dad, my brothers, and I to have fun and build bonds. While this may not be the case with everyone, the hours spent playing with my family and friends have led to a number of memories I’ll never forget.

What’s Wrong with Too Much Gaming?

Video games have taken some heat in recent years due to issues with youth violence and youth obesity. Critics of video games see them as contributing to these two important issues. Kids play too many video games and don’t get outside, leading to an increasing number of them being overweight. There have been a rising number of violent acts by youth, leading some to believe that first person shooter games may be a cause. Video games can cause schoolwork to slip. If overdone, video games can be a problem for children everywhere.

The Fine Line

Some kids neglect to leave the house and play video games for hours on end. This can definitely lead to obesity and general poor health. In moderation, video games can be entertaining and positive, but too much gaming can be detrimental. Where’s the line drawn?

David’s Note: I remember spending countless hours on role-playing games like Diablo or racing games like Grand Turismo. I’m pretty sure someone can argue that I spent way too much time on them at certain times of my youth, but it will forever be a mystery whether I would actually be doing something productive instead if I never picked up a controller.

In fact, it’s hard for me to blame video games — since they naturally pushed me to spend a ton of time on the computer, ultimately piquing my interests to earn a masters degree in engineering. Though my business isn’t exactly engineering-oriented, the technical knowledge helps me tremendously with coding and understanding how the parts of this site connect together.

And let’s not forget the joy that these games provided! I still get an urge to go out and buy a copy whenever a new version comes out, since the release always bring back a flood of memories. I really don’t play anymore, but I don’t have a hint of regret for doing so back in the day.

What’s Your Experience?

My experience with video games has been very positive. Just the other night, my brothers and I played on the same team in a college football game. We had one of the most exciting times we’ve ever had playing a video game. To me, that alone is worth the cost.

I have found video games to be a good bonding activity, as well as an entertaining way to spend time inside. What’s your experience like?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

KM October 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I have nothing but good things to say about video games. I will always be a gamer geek and thankfully my husband is like that too (right now we are playing EVE and also have Diablo 3 on the back burner, which we got for our anniversary). Sure, everyone is different, but I had an extremely positive experience with games. Even though I spent hours and days playing Planetarion and EVE at one point (I wasn’t as absorbed in the non-MMO games) and my grades did suffer just a bit, I made amazing friends all over the world that I still keep contact with, and my lodging throughout Europe was free because those friends let me crash on their couches – this allowed me to see more places because I spent more on train passes and food by saving on hotels. That cultural enhancement in itself is priceless, but if you also factor in the good times and the life experience, it’s a great deal for getting a B instead of an A in a couple of classes. And I never would have gotten so close to those people had I not defended space stations and galaxies alongside them, worked out attack strategies, or spent countless hours in a chat room.

Games also bring people together in other ways. My brother and I have been fighting for most of our lives together, like any proper siblings, but even when we couldn’t share something, we always found common ground in games (whether they were video, board, or toy based). He kicked my butt more times than I can count, but I always looked up to him and tried to be better, and it was a major bonding time for us. Even when we grew up and he was in the Army, I introduced him to EVE when he was getting ready for his second deployment and I will always cherish those few months we played until the deep hours of the night.

I think if video games screw up a person, he was screwed up from the beginning and any activity would have that effect. Most people with extensive video game histories in youth grow up to be perfectly functional individuals. Sure, many of us aren’t very social, but games aren’t to blame – we would be like that anyway.

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Slackerjo October 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I think with any hobby/activity there must be balance and priorities.

I know someone who comes home from his very crappy and stressful job and spends 5-6 hours gaming to escape the crappy stressful job. That would be okay but the reason that he has a crappy stressful job is that he dropped out of high school and now at age 32, his employment choices are very limited because he does not have a high school diploma. Those 5-6 hours a night would be better spent getting a GED and possibly taking some sort of post secondary certification course.

You can’t blame gaming for his situation but it’s not helping.

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Grayson @ Debt RoundUp October 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I have been a fan on video games for long time, but I spread my time with them. Many of them are very addicting and can lead to many hours lost in front of the television.

I think many people want to blame video games for increased violence and obesity, but it is just a vehicle. With anything, you have to teach people how to responsibly navigate that vehicle.

I am an adult and will continue to play video games, but I will do it responsibly and still enjoy the outdoors as much as possible.

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Michal October 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

I have also been a video games fan since 4th grade since my dad brought me my first Atari from West Germany in 1988. I spent endless hours playing all sorts of video games until my taste shaped up for the Strategy and FPS/RPG. I don’t think I can blame them for worse grades at school, I got my MBA and I am making more than most of my highschool classmates. The games naturally led me to become interested in computers as such, and I guess they developed my logical thinking. My parents took care that I never placed computers and computer games over social interaction, I have had many friends and I met many fantastic people through gaming. Ever since my son was born, I only have a very limited time available to play them, sometimes going weeks without even turning my supercharched PC on. It has become a way of relaxation for me. Yeah, I am starting to think whether spending 3K Euro on a gaming machine that loses value everyday was a good thing… but I can’t regret it. I don’t deny that video games may have a bad influence, you just have to be careful and recognize that the road to the supermarket is not a racetrack from the Need for Speed series… In real life you only get 1 chance, there’s no save/load menu.

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Danny November 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I started playing video games from the age 10 and now I am 25. I am still playing now and that make me feel really stress free. I think spending money on video games are worth the time for me.

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alaa November 15, 2012 at 1:03 am

In my opinion, video games can improve the skills of the children in their early age. It makes their brain work out.

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alaa November 15, 2012 at 1:09 am

Parents should recognize that video games can have powerful effects on children, and should therefore set limits on the amount and content of games their children play.

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Victoria December 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

I have been playing since a young age and i now know almost anything about computers.I have played a lot of simulation games , like sims 1 , 2 and three , and i do a lot of coding in my free time.I think parents should let their child play games , but check if it teaches them anything, and the age rating.And make sure that it isn’t too violated/rude.

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