The Benefits and Genres of Video Games

Category: Entertainment
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When it comes to video games, most people tend to think that they are harmful to the brain. “Video games are frowned upon by parents as time-wasters, and worse, some education experts think that these games corrupt the brain. Playing violent video games are easily blamed by the media…” (Tumbokon, 2018). Through two different genres, I will show that video games can have many benefits. Although the two genres I chose have similar titles, they are very different from how the information is presented and explained. The first genre I will contrast is a YouTube video by ASAP Science called Can Video Games Make You Smarter? The second genre is an informal article written by Allison Wignall called “Science Says Playing Video Games Can Make You Smarter”. When comparing and contrasting two different genres, I will do so through the activity system and by explaining the discourse communities.

Video games have been around for over 50 years and are known for killing leisurely time. The discourse community within gaming is huge. A discourse community is a group of individuals who have a set of goals. To achieve these goals, they use mechanisms such as intercommunication, feedback, using one or more genres, and the threshold level of members with relevant content and discourse expertise (Swales, 1990). The discourse community in gaming age ranges from 10 years old all the way up to 65 years old (Statista 2018). The gaming community is constantly growing. As new games come out, more and more people are drawn to play them. With playing games, it is important to play in moderation. Twist and Robertson state, “Games should be played as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle”. With anything, too much can be a bad thing. In relation to the discourse community, the activity system functions act similar but with more framework.

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The activity system resembles the discourse community but in more detail. It provides more of the framework for understanding the interactions of individuals, groups, and texts to illustrate complex interactions among the activity system. Within the activity system, it focuses on shared activities in the communities, understanding of individual participants motive, conventions, and divisions of labor for carrying out the activities. According to Kain and Wardle, “Activity theory gives us a helpful lends for understanding how people in different communities carry out their activities… the most helpful aspect of activity theory is the way it helps us see more fully all the aspects of a situation and community that influence how people use the tools of language and genre” (2002 p.397). In Active theory, it says that people use a range of factors such as tools, subjects, objects, rules, community, and division of labor to reach a certain outcome. Activity systems are usually presented in a triangular shape with three levels. Tools are on the top, the subject is on the left in the middle row, object (motives) is on the right in the middle, rules on the bottom left, the community on the bottom middle, and division of labor on the bottom right. The arrows in the triangle show how each portion is connected to one another. Not every activity triangle looks the same because of the arrows on the inside. (TRANSITION)

ASAP Sciences YouTube video Can Video Games Make You Smarter is an education and science genre. It provides different examples through experiments on how playing video games improves cognitive skills. YouTube is a video-sharing website where one can watch videos people create. The tools this video uses are YouTube, drawings, video editing programs, Stroop effect experiment, and multiple objects tracking experiments. The Stroop effect experiment is where a word will appear, and a person would have to say the color of that word as fast as they can. An example of that is seeing the word “purple” but it is written in red. This experiment goes through a series of examples similar to it. The Stroop effect is explained by the Speed of Processing theory and Selective Attention theory.

According to Cherry (2018), the Speed of Processing theory states that they can read words much faster than saying the color of the word. The Selective Attention theory shows that naming the colors of the word requires more attention than simply reading the text. The Stroop experiment tests a person’s reaction time of that task. People who play 5-10 hours a week of video games have been shown to have a faster reaction time. Not only does the fast reaction time apply to the experiment, but it also applies to reading. ASAP Science states that, “… children who played regular video games ended up reading faster and more accurately… relating to improved attention skills” ASAP Science. (2014, Jan 19). The Multiple object tracking experiment is an experiment to see how many objects a person can track.

In this experiment, there is a screen that displays multiple moving yellow circles and one or two blue moving circles. The idea is to track the blue dots once they turn yellow. At the end of the yellow of the experiment, an arrow will point to one of the yellow dots and ask if the dot was blue. The average person can track 3-4 objects while gamers were said to track 6-7 objects. According to the video, “… action gamers were 58% better at perceiving fine differences in contrast” ASAP Science (2014, Jan 19). The purpose of this video was to entertain, make money, and present the benefits of playing video games. This genre is for all ages to watch because it is family friendly and factual. In addition, the information and drawings provided in the video are eloquent. The rules of this genre are YouTube’s regulations such as no harmful or dangerous content, nudity or sexual content, violent or graphic content, impersonation, threats, spam, and no harassment or cyberbullying. For the division of labor, it is split into different parts that being the editor, caption author, drawer, filming, lighting, and audio. The community for this genre include the main creators Greg and Mitch, the publishers, subscribers, and the YouTube community. (TRANSITION)

Allison Wignall’s informal article on College Raptor, “Science Says Playing Video Games Can Make You Smarter” is about how different genres of video games can be beneficial. The tools the article uses are popular game titles, the Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System (IPEDS), different game genres, and College Raptor. IPEDS is one of College Raptors main source to find statistics and data. The purpose of having multiple video game genres is that, “… video game is a broad term with so many different types of games, researchers focus their studies to see how different genres affect players” (Wignall, 2018). When it comes to gaming, gamers have a large lexis. There are hundreds of acronyms an example being AFK (Away from Keyboard), RPG (Role Playing Gaming), FTW (For the Win), GG (Good Game), and BRB (Be Right Back).

The object or motive of the informal article is to get shares and inform people that video games are not as detrimental as they might think. Of course, with any activity, if too much time is spent on it rather than studying it can be detrimental to both school and social life (Wignall, 2018). The rules for this genre are determined by College Raptor’s requirements. Plagiarizing, using materials for commercials, reverse engineering software on College Raptors sight, copying other people’s site to mirror the materials, and kids under the age of 13 are not allowed. The community consists of Allison Wignall, students, writers, researchers, and College Raptor authors. The labor of division is the students who write or send in audio pitches to College Raptors, editors within College Raptor, and the U.S Department of Education. (TRANSITION)

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The Benefits and Genres of Video Games. (2021, Mar 23). Retrieved from