There’s a tunnel up ahead with large swinging axes shredding the air. Up ahead is your destination– a door that can only be opened with a combination written on the key that you now possess. After unlocking the huge door, you face yet another peril, but no worries– your skills are endless now, your prowess is greater than when you began. Your senses are keen, you are vigilant, ready for anything and ready to protect your partner.
Such is the adrenaline rush of video games. They have the power to transport us to another world, a world with mythical creatures, perilous tombs, advanced warfare, zombies, moogles, guns for hire, and futuristic wonderlands. For several minutes, we are another person on a mission. The hours spent with thumbs and fingers moving allows us to escape reality, to live vicariously through a screen, through another body. But this entertainment can lead to disaster if not monitored– it is true that video games are a wonderful way to pass one’s time, a way to be engaged, but if not used responsibly, any type of video game can have detrimental effects on enthusiastic players.
July 20th, 2012. The Dark Knight Rises had begun to appear across the large screen. The audience was captivated, unaware that twelve of them would soon be lying on the floor motionless, while seventy others would wonder if they will live to see the morrow as a sharp pain coursed through their veins, their lungs experiencing a suffocation that nobody should feel. He entered, throwing two gas canisters at the audience before firing with a shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle and a Glock. The murderer went to his car afterwards and was hence arrested there. The mass shooting is regarded as the largest in Colorado since the Columbine High School Massacre of 1999. This was the work of James Holmes.
Like many of us, Holmes was a fan of superheroes and gaming. His story lends well to my main point of how video games are not the only culprit to possible mayhem. He was obsessed with World of Warcraft, a computer game. He took his vengeance out through this outlet and later embodied Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker, believing that the villain and himself had much in common. Music artistry is another example– Charles Manson and his followers went on a killing spree partly because of the Beatle’s song Helter Skelter, which they believed incited violence. The Slenderman Case demonstrates how literary media can be detrimental. Often times people of other generations, and even some from our own, criticize video games and shed them in a negative light, believing that they are the reason for kids being introverted and having violent tendencies.
That being said, although video games can have this effect on individuals, some of my fellow Lesley students, particularly my close friend Jamie and myself, have earned positive vibes from playing video games. We have observed that these games can improve our problem solving skills, and appreciate the beautiful digital art and stunning creativity that’s laid before us. They even are a source for our imagination, being the spark of topics for future stories and enhancing our storytelling abilities. We are classified as healthy gamers– ones that don’t become addicted to the screen.
In the end, the media in general can have detrimental effects on the mind if not used properly and in a healthy manner; but it is also true that the media can be a positive outlet, providing us with information (live news and documentaries), and or providing entertainment and escapism (like reality TV shows or video games). People like James Holmes began to mesh fantasy with reality. His pure enjoyment of killing people came from World of Warcraft, while The Dark Knight Rises was the catalyst to carrying out the act. I know it is easy for many to say that video games are more likely to cause individuals to become violent since indeed, you are the one virtually killing your enemies, but the media is at the same level of risk. Media will always include violence; it depends on how we regulate and react to it. If we act positively, receive help if needed, and game in a healthy way, we can safely enjoy ourselves, and be sure that people like Holmes won’t rise again.