The Feel-Good Gaming Stories Neglected by Media
For years, cultural commentators sounded the alarm about video games and how they are a corruptive influence on young minds. Just like the concern over horror movies and video nasties, many people feared that video games were making young people – especially young men – more violent, less talkative, and more isolated.
A few decades later and some people are still concerned about the impact video games could have on the welfare of young people, but there have also been a number of studies suggesting that video games can actually have a positive effect. It is perhaps not surprising that the media has been much slower to report on the positive aspects of video games and the gaming industry.
The artistic expression of indie video games
One of the most exciting developments in the video game industry has been the rise in independent developers. At the beginning of the 2000s, only large video game developers such as EA and Nintendo had the resources to create games. Over time, however, it became increasingly possible for small, independent producers to develop, create, and successfully launch video games.
The opening up of the industry has allowed for an explosion of creativity as small developers have suddenly been given the opportunity to turn their dreams into reality. That has allowed intensely artistic, narratively complex, dynamic games to be created which otherwise would not have been due to their lack of mass appeal.
The rise of a new industry
The COVID-19 global health crisis impacted nearly every sector of economies worldwide as health restrictions were repeatedly imposed, changed, and revoked over the last year and a half. The video game sector was impacted positively because more people than ever before had extra time at home to spend enjoying their hobbies. However, the gambling industry was heavily impacted as brick-and-mortar establishments were unable to open and operate as usual during the pandemic.
Thankfully, the gambling industry survived through the proliferation of online casinos and digital gambling platforms. The online gambling industry has been steadily growing over the course of the last ten years, but the restrictions caused by the pandemic helped the industry to explode in popularity. The increase in popularity also gave homebound people a new hobby and source of entertainment.
There are now hundreds of different online casinos for gamblers to choose from and the online gambling industry is employing more people than ever before. Now that there are so many different online casinos, there are also many more games developers that have surged in popularity and growth. That being said, not all games are created equal and NetEnt games are acknowledged to be some of the best applications which can be found in the game’s libraries of online casinos.
New ways of making connections
Video games have always been a source of connection for gamers and a way to find a community. Roughly twenty years ago, LAN parties and message boards would have been the main channels through which gamers were able to find one another and develop social connections.
Now it is easier than ever for gamers to develop communities and friendships around the world. Massive multiplayer online games such as Fortnite allow gamers to play with one another while chatting and connecting. This source of social connection was especially important for many gamers during the imposed isolation of the pandemic.
Streaming platforms have also provided a new source of connection for many gamers as they are able to watch their favourite gamers play video games while also chatting with fellow fans and community members. While this may seem insignificant to some, for others, it has proven to be a great source of social engagement.
Video games and spatial cognition
There is more and more evidence that playing video games can help to increase a child’s spatial cognition and can even reduce the gender differences in spatial attention and mental rotation ability. These are skills which are not necessarily applicable to a child’s life but can prove helpful when the child grows up.
Many STEM career paths such as mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering all require a high level of spatial cognition. There are still many different studies being done on the area and the evidence is not conclusive, but it suggests that playing video games could help to bridge the gender gap in STEM. However, to truly bridge this gap, increased investment in supporting girls and women in STEM is certainly needed.