Why We Still Crave Video Games
Updated: Jul 23
Have you ever wanted to wake up in the morning and devise a plan for world domination? Have you ever wanted to start a religion, cult, or country, without anyone getting in your way? What about being ridiculously rich and being able to buy more than the property that is your house and/or business, or, even, commit a mass shooting?
While we cannot, or should not, do most of these things in real life, the virtual space that is video games is what attracts so many of us into playing them for several hours, if not days—the ability to be and do things you would probably never be able to do in real life, or, at least, won't be able to do without getting away with it. In a video game, it's "okay" to act like Hitler, "okay" to raid a peaceful village, and "okay" to actualize your deepest sexual fantasies, whether with other players or with fictional entities.
Video games are very dark, and yet, it is all good and okay as long as it does not cross the border with that of real life. They are alternative simulations that can put you in different shoes, a pair of which you will probably never get to wear in real life. It is no surprise, therefore, that there are certain people (not me) that prefer to spend their lives in virtual worlds rather than in real life. For many, real life is boring, lacks almost any kind of fascination, and so on.
However, it is important to remember that video games are just that—games. They are not real life, and they should not be taken too seriously. If you find yourself spending too much time in a virtual world and not enough time in the real world, it may be time to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying video games, but it is important to find a balance between your virtual and real-life experiences. After all, the real world is where the magic happens.
Beyond work, family, and some hobbies, that is pretty much it for many people, and it will be, probably, for the rest of their lives. Real life might be only more interesting than video games to some people—kids, people in love, and those who can afford the best of luxuries in this world. For the rest of us, life is monotonous, and even boring at times; some if not most of us might only have been living for the next pay check.
Having several generations that grew up on video games, few are, probably, the people, that treat them as toys, when in fact they can be more complex than that. They are no longer the sole interest of kids, teens, and young adults, and there are even elders who might play them on a regular basis. It just goes to show how functional video games are to our lives, and not only for the sake of entertainment, but also, perhaps, as a way to fulfill our fantasies, or at least put us in situations we will never find ourselves in regardless of our endeavors.
The "problem" with video games, of course, begins on the ethical level, when certain people who play them regularly become violent or abusive to others, people that can even be kids. While indeed the younger generations can act wildly, it is still debatable whether or not it is something that begins with video games and ends in real life, as even Socrates said the following quote about the youth:
“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
That raises the following questions:
Are younger generations of today any more violent than any other generations of the past, just because of video games and other modern enjoyments?
Will a life devoid of any video game, or even any game, make people less violent, less aggressive, and/or abusive?
As a kid I always wanted to be a villain and conquer something, hence why I liked war games so much. The feeling of conquering something in a video game was unparallell to anything I felt at the time. Obviously, I couldn't invade my elementary school with a fleet of airships and paratroopers like I wanted, but a similar experience can be achieved in many other alternatives -- virtual alternatives, of course.
I disagree with the belief that video games can significantly make you more violent. I can speak for myself when I say that I am the least violent person you'll probably ever meet, and most of my childhood was spent playing video games.
People need different forms of outlets to express things they cannot express or try to express in general society. I believe that one of the philosophical aspects of games is that they represent the human being as a far "darker" being than we represent ourselves in our repressing society.
Are we all that benevolent when we have the video game-alternative capability to cause the deaths of countless people, choose evil-aligned decisions, and so on? If we can do so in video games, who says we cannot do so in real life, should we be given the chance, the power, and the authority?
This is, of course, food for thought, and not an attempt to insult anyone. It's just the possibility that we can be darker than we are just because we are restrained by society and its norms. This is also why, of course, not everyone should be in power, let alone carry a gun or start a religious movement.