Five misconceptions about video games
For years, video games have mystified people who don't play them.
More than 40 years later on, many individuals still struggle and some long lasting myths continue to be very difficult to dispel.
1. Pong was the very first video game.
Despite various debunking, the idea that Pong was very first continues. A headline in Vanity Fair shows this typical mistaken belief: "The Origins of the First Arcade Video Game: Atari's Pong."
Pong was a big commercial success, one that helped turn a nascent medium into mass home entertainment. It wasn't the first arcade video game, nor was it the very first home video game that you might hook up to your TELEVISION. Pong wasn't even the very first video-game version of table tennis - it was simply the very first one that asked you for a quarter to play it.
Like any medium, computer game has many antecedents. The majority of professionals point to William Higinbotham's Tennis for Two, a presentation created for an open house at Long Island's Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958, as the first true video game.
Tennis for Two was followed by Spacewar, created by Steve Russell and others at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962. Spacewar was popular enough amongst the computer researchers who worked on mainframes that Stewart Brand covered a competition at Stanford in 1972 for Rolling Stone. Annie Leibovitz took images.
And the very first home game console was not Pong however Baer's Magnavox Odyssey, which went on sale in 1972, 3 years before Atari's home version of Pong. It had table tennis in it, too.
Pong was not even the first coin-operated arcade game from Atari creator Nolan Bushnell. That difference goes to 1971's Computer Space.
2. Computer game is larger than movies
Since the early 1980’s, individuals have actually hypothesized that the appeal of interactive entertainment was harming ticket sales at movie theatres. The claim that the size of the video-game industry rivals or exceeds Hollywood has been a staple of mainstream news reporting for more than 3 decades.
It's true that Americans spent nearly $24 billion on video games last year, compared to a meager $11 billion on movie tickets. The theatrical box office is not even close to the whole revenue stream for "movies" or Hollywood. Americans invested an added $18 billion on home entertainment such as Blu-rays, DVDs, iTunes and Netflix.
Sure, some of that money is invested to binge-watch TELEVISION shows instead of movies. We're already $5 billion ahead of video-game earnings without thinking about the cost of (or the rights costs paid by) premium cable television channels.
The video-game numbers are pumped up, too, by the addition of sales of hardware, such as consoles and controllers. The home entertainment figures don’t include the cost of things like Blu-ray gamers or universal remotes.
More vital, dollars aren't people. Here's some rough mathematics: When Grand Theft Auto V makes $1 billion, it's because 20 million individuals, give or take, have actually purchased the video game.
When The Force Awakens makes $1 billion, it's because 100 million tickets were sold, more or less. Even if every ticket purchaser saw the brand-new Star Wars twice, and every Grand Theft Auto V player shared the game with another member of their family, the Lucas film movie would still come out ahead.
3. They're for males.
According to a Pew Research Center study published in December, 60 percent of Americans think that "many people who play computer game are males."
Top-selling games such as Call of Duty and Madden NFL tend to be marketed to guys, and almost 3 times as lots of men explain themselves as "players" (15 per cent of men compared to 6 per cent of women).
The latest data from the Entertainment Software Association, the lobbying arm of the video-game industry, does indicate that most of players - 60 percent - are men.
That still leaves a large percentage of female players. There are likewise more women over 18 who play video games than boys under 18 who play; women 50 and older are more likely than their male counterparts to play.
A Pew Research Center study published last August found that nearly 60 percent of teenage ladies play video games on a computer, console or cellular phone.
One reason these gamers aren't noticed: Almost half of these teenage ladies never ever play online video games, and a quarter of them always play alone, never in the physical existence of another individual.
4. Violent computer game is a reason for real-world violence.
In the wake of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, video games were blamed for helping to numb the shooters to the repercussions of their actions.
These issues aren't baseless. A review of the clinical literature, performed by an American Psychological Association task force, discovered a "well established" link between violent video games and short-term boosts in hostility.
People who play violent games in laboratory settings are willing to administer, state, more hot sauce to a stranger, or a louder blast of noise, than individuals who don't play violent games.
Playing violent games likewise leads to greater levels of what psychologists call "aggressive cognition" - for example, completing a word with a missing letter by selecting a D for "blow up" instead of an R for "explore".
Numerous scholars challenge these findings, stating that at finest they show an effect on ideas rather than actions, and at worst simply show that looking at an image of an explosion makes you think about explosions.
Regardless, the task force did not find evidence that playing violent computer game causes criminal violence or delinquency.
5. They're making us smarter.
And they might not be wrong. "Action games" - mostly first-person shooters - have been found in a variety of research studies to enhance hand-eye coordination and spatial thinking.
More unexpected, these games can enhance vision, boost interest and make gamers more efficient at mental task-switching, even when they're not playing the games.
But just some video games have these effects. Playing chess - whether on a physical board or a screen - doesn't confer any of these benefits. Nor does playing a few of the most popular computer game, including the slower-paced Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, the Sims, Minecraft and even Tetris.
Some sports, driving and experience video games may be thought about "action games", but the research study has actually emphasized the benefits of shooters, which are more perceptually requiring.
And the video games that enhance cognitive performance tend to be the very ones that the American Psychological Association task force states increase aggressiveness.