The Shifting Perceptions on Video Games

Posted on April 11th, 2016 by:

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Video games have been the center of a few long standing debates. Ever since the 1990’s there has been much discussion about the positive, and mainly the negative effects of video games. Ranging from childhood obesity, to negatively portrayed stereotypes, and violence in games. While games themselves have stayed relatively the same, people’s perceptions about them have been changing, along with the people who are participating in playing games today.


Despite the misconception that the gaming community is a boys club, today in 2016, there are more females than ever playing games. At roughly 47%, females make up almost half of the gaming community. Since the very inception of video games, some of the heavy hitting composers in the game community have been females. Yoko Shimomura, Manami Matsumae, Michiru Yamane, Karen Collins, and Winnifred Phillips (just to name a few) are among the most beloved and well known female composers attached to some of the biggest game franchises. Since it’s early days, Nintendo has added one of the most iconic female characters that was not a damsel in distress, which was Samus Aran in Metroid. As time goes on, more and more female gamers are picking up controllers, and finding their way into positions of power in the game industry. More strong female characters are being included in games, and soon things like women being portrayed as objects in games, or woman not being treated fairly in the games industry will be completely obliterated.



Since the 1980’s the demographic of those who play games in general have changed as well. Kids were usually the ones picking up the controllers. But now in 2016, those kids have grown up, and today the average age of a gamer is 30 years old and works full-time. 49% of American adults are gamers, and would consider themselves gamers for the rest of their lives. Most gamers today also game with their children. Research has shown that gaming with your kids is an excellent way to bond, and also people who play games together cooperatively trust each other more.

Games like Mortal Kombat, Doom, and Grand Theft Auto (just to name a few,) have sparked discussions about how there is too much violence in games. Since the 90’s you could definitely say that some of these things have continued to grow. Games have gotten more violent, but people’s perceptions about them have changed. The statistic of people who believe that games cause violence has come out to a more equal split. A slight majority, (at 53%)  disagree with the statement that video games cause violence. Studies have also shown that people are actually less likely to be violent in real life after playing a violent game. Violent behavior acted out in a game like Grand Theft Auto can increase the players moral sensitivity and make the player more likely to engage in voluntary behavior that benefits others.


As time goes on, games are changing and the dilemmas they bring up, along with the perceptions surrounding them. While sometimes they do have merit, for the most part the downsides of gaming are pretty benign, and mostly concern younger gamers. Childhood obesity, lack of attention on homework, lack of vitamin D, and social connection, are all things that can be fixed with proper parental interference. As for adult gamers, these are decisions they can make individually on how much time to spend gaming. The evidence of the benefits of gaming has been mounting over the decades. Ranging from helping those afflicted with Autism, depression, and anxiety. The Nintendo wii getting the elderly a healthy and safe way to exercise with their peers. Increasing cognitive function, and memory. Games being used as a learning tool, helping with spacial recognition and problem solving. The list of benefits of playing games is growing as the years pass, and with it, people’s enthusiasm for gaming.

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Gaming and Gamers

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