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How Video Games Help Us

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In Johnson’s essay Why Games Are Good for You he makes a powerful argument for video games but doesn’t open immediately with the benefits of gaming. Instead he poses the scenario where “video games were invented and popularized before book.” (p. 482). Johnson shows the reader what society might say about the new craze of reading and some of the arguments against books in this parallel universe. It is a powerful way to open the reader’s eyes to a new perspective on judging video games and forces them to reevaluate their stance on video games, maybe not just as mindless entertainment or improving eye-hand coordination, but pointing out how games can be used as a powerful teaching tool as well. Video games are new by many people standards, but few art mediums have had as strong an impact on our society and culture as video games. They are also one of the most controversial. Why are video games so hotly debated? Is it because of the violent nature of major titles? What if video games were able to teach us about taxes, land management, and balancing relationships? What if they could influence and condition how we think? Johnson points to complex game economies, learning topics such as land taxes, and the reward system video games use as teaching us those exact things. Video games can teach us complex issues, help us confront moral dilemmas, and help us develop how we think to solve problems. One major benefit of video games Johnson states is the ability to teach people complex issues in an interactive environment. One example used was when he was teaching his seven year old nephew the basics of SimCity2000. After an hour of showing his nephew the game’s inner workings Johnson was trying to revive a rundown section of his city. His neph... ... middle of paper ... ...eptics while strengthening the argument for games. Video games have many more positive benefits than modern media gives them credit. These include the ability to teach us complex issues, help us confront moral dilemmas, and help us develop how we think to solve problems. Few modern art mediums have had such a powerful impact on our society in such a short amount of time since their creation. Johnson makes a powerful argument for video games, arguing how perspectives would be different if games came before books and pointing out how games can be used as a powerful teaching tool. Without video games we would be missing not only an art form, but a tool for learning and exploring from our society. Works Cited Johnson, Steven. “ Why Games Are Good for You.” From Inquiry to Academic writing, Ed. Stuart Greene, 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012. 667-673. Print.
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