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Video Games, Let's Play!

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Video Games, Let's Play!

Bonita Coney

University of Phoenix, Axia College

Even though some video games can be violent and may even cause violent behavior in children and teens, the positive effects can build social, problem solving and motor skills, they even help with disabilities and becoming more fit.

Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock and roll. (S. Miyamoto)

We tend to judge what we do not understand, video games can be used in many ways, some negative, some positive, some educational and some physical. There are so many different ways video games have influenced people's lives. Video games have been around since the 1970's starting with the first game of pong. Video games have changed over the years many teaching new skills and talents and many improving old ones. Video games have different influences on different people, the average gamer are no longer children or teenager. Gamers ages now range anywhere from 3 to 103. People of all ages have become gamers due to new technologies in video systems and there games. It is truly amazing the new things one can do or learn with aide of a video game. Now we can surf the net, exercise, form a band, play a game or even bowl on a video games. Video games are not just for play anymore, for some they have become a part of their everyday routine.

We see video game commercials on TV and we may even own a few systems. But how many of us understand the powerful difference a video game system can make in a person life? Video games have been around since the late 1940's starting with the "Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device [1947]" was created by Thomas Goldsmith and Estle Ray Mann. Video games were simply made to entertain. We've come a long way since the first video game. They are now used for a variety of things from learning how to read, write, do math, to just killing time, to helping disabled veterans conquer PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and burn victims reuse their muscles.

In 1972, the first main-stream video game was created. It was called Pong created by Nolan Bushnell a young engineer. (Wikipedia, P, Ament) It was designed as the first electronic table tennis. As time progressed, games went from the 8-bit too sophisticated 3-D polygonal models.

Video games, while fun and challenging can be used to make life better. Since the late nineties, video games have been used to improve learning skills, and hand-eye coordination. As time has gone on and technology has improved, games have been used to rehabilitate people of all walks of life. As of recent, consoles such as the Nintendo Wii have been used to rehabilitate burn victims by helping them reuse the limbs that might have been too damaged by fire. By getting these patients to use their muscles with games such as Wii Fit and others, to get into the habit of using their arms, hands and fingers again. And by using the Wii Balance Board, they can use their torsos, and legs. Most doctors now praise these systems, and even prescribe and recommend them to, many of their patients.

In the case of persons with PTSD, most psychologists recommend playing first person shooter games, such as Call of Duty, Tom Clancy, Halo, and Counter Strike. It helps men and women transition from solider to civilian. Most people with PTSD cannot be treated with conventional methods, but with this new wave of video game rehabilitation, or "Wii-Hab" as it is being coined, this generation of gamers can simulate some of their most difficult battle situations to become more desensitized. Used properly, therapists can treat patients at their own pace, while getting them to face their worst fears by altering the situation of the game simply by adding aspects or changing the difficulty settings in the main menu. They now use the Wii systems in senior citizens center and retirement homes to help improve mobility. The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) even offered training on how to play the Nintendo DS (Dual Screen) in conjunction with the game Brain Age a game that helps improve different aspect of your brain. The Wii has also been notes for helping patients with Parkinson's disease. "The Wii allows patients to work in a virtual environment that's safe, fun and motivational" (B. Herz) Patients of Parkinson's have improved motor skills, balance and bilateral movement.

Video games have begun to help many people lose pounds using the Wii fit games and balance board.

These games have helped people to build up energy and have showed the positive effects of playing video games. Why say playing video games, because these different "exercise" games make exercising fun. Exercise no longer becomes a chore playing these games becomes enjoyable for all. Wii Fit and Wii Sports and other games are chance to turn a couch potato into a happier healthier person learning that exercise can be fun. The whole family can enjoy playing against one another in the different sporting events. Families have become closer and video games have improved many family unities. People play together more as a family and they can have more family nights due to video games. The Wii has help people all over lose weight and has become so popular that one of the most popular TV show in weight lose The Biggest Loser has even made several video game that can be played in conjoined with the Wii Balance Board. It lets the user set goals, set up weekly routines and will even give the user tips on how to eat right to achieve their weight lose goal.

People who have become ill due to different disorders are feeling more human again due to different video games. Rock Band has made Nissa Ludwig feel human again, Ludwig was a musician, dancer, and performer but due to a progressive disorder she has difficulty walking. Now enjoys playing an instrument again through video games.

The computer video game call "Capable Shopper" was created by three graduates from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The game is to help individuals with disabilities, create a virtual shopping list by picking a meal they would like to make and shop for it. Capable Shopper a simulated game is based on the blueprints of a local Price Chopper supermarket.

The game allows the user through a mouse or joystick virtually to become familiar with the entire supermarket, where different items can be found, and how to shop



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