The Positive Effects of Playing Video Games in my Life

I am fond of my childhood days. They were warm and had not a responsibility in the world. I would play with my Xbox and stare at my mint condition Barbie. Play in the snow when winter came around. Enjoy the annual light shows. I played video games as a way to just spend extra time I had.

My Barbies were just to gawk at and look at their tiny details. Their melanin skin, beautiful hair, and the tubular bodies. I kept them in their boxes because my mother said something along the lines of, “If you keep them in their boxes, they will become more valuable over the years to come.” I remember waking up very super early on Saturday mornings repeating everything an animated heroine would say because I believed it was cool, then sharing it with my mother.

Only to be disciplined for repeating a double entendre. I remember when my brother and sister came into the world. We laughed and played. I realized I would never had to be alone. I remember the melancholy feeling I held onto after my father left. The nights I stayed up past eleven, staring out of my snow-packed window, hearing my mom quietly sob in the next room wondering if her first tier Air Force will be enough to give a stable life to my two siblings and me. I did not really look into it as a deep seeded problem until later in life. This was the day, I became indifferent.

From that day onward, my adolescent enjoyments did not hold the same meaning. My video games that once held a genuine enjoyment was now my form of escaping reality when things got really tense. When I went to go stare at my Barbies, they served a constant reminder of something I could not really find. I recognized they had beauty and value, but those were not the comforts I was searching for. I did not know what I was looking for in their cold, plastic, doe eyes. Of course, my thought process has gotten more positive in my subsequent years, but I still look back at the time and ask myself, “What pulled me through?” I had okay “friends”, I had been bullied, I had many of chances to take my life by my own hands. The harder I try to search for the answer it keeps going back to one ideal. It always tracks back to my childhood.

My family, my cartoons, and my games. These were the most lively and impressionable years of my life. My everlasting impression being that happiness is just a facade. It was because I felt this way, which I want to help other people not feel this traumatizing truth. I believe video games made a pretty big turning-point in my life. How is that possible when I just bluntly said I only played them as an escapism, a way to escape difficult situations? As a kid, one cannot really comprehend a story in its entirety. I mean we understand the basics: the beginning, the conflict, the ending. No child looks for a story. As I became older, during some of my lonely bouts I killed time by playing some of the consoles instead of going outside.

On that particular day, I played a game called Brutal Legend. It was a fantasy based game, but the epic tale of our hero hit home really hard. The protagonist’s name was Eddie. Eddie was a roadie and he was a zealot Roadie. It was even mentioned in the game that he was the best in the business, but even if he was his fellow band members mistreated him and took him for granted. I felt some pity for our hero seeing that he was regarded and obviously lonely. I could relate to that, so I could easily pretend I was in his shoes. As the game progressed, many things happened, he lost people he could call friends, he witnessed betrayal, and he witnessed death.

At the end of the game, he and his team won the battle against evil. He was the main one who led the team to victory, however the praise fell on another man who had given up half way through. When Eddie was confronted and told that he was the one to defeat the evil he simply turned to them and said, “I’m a Roadie. We know we have done a good job when no one can see it.” At first I was confused, would one not like to be recognized for their hard work, the meaning dawned on me later. I do not need to be constantly praised to realize to know that I have done a great job, and just because I never heard anyone say I did a great job does not mean anything. I should not be contemplating to harm myself or reject myself happiness because I feel as if I do not deserve it.

“The people who take care of us at the end of our lives, recently issued a report on the most frequently expressed regrets that people say when they are on their death beds- I wish I had not worked so hard, I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends, I wish I had let myself be happier.” Believe it or not this line pulled my thinking in another direction, or the better. There are two people who covered topics like mine, Jane McGonigal and Ann DuCille. Both of these women cover the same topic, but with two totally different item. McGonigal is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games. Her games are purposely designed to solve problems and attempt to improve lives. She also created six award winning games. Obviously, this woman covers video games.

She has a strong passion to rebuild lives by something everybody has today, video games. She says a quote which I find really true, “When we’re in our game worlds, I believe that many of us become the version of ourselves” (McGonigal). Just last week, I was playing a game which required me to keep relationships up with my teammates. Now, I cannot lie I like some more than others, but when I had my chance to help them with a problem I would, and I do not know why. They are fictional characters who do not have real feelings. I guess I do it because it makes me feel good. Which just proves McGonigal’s point: We try to better ourselves by helping.

DuCille focused her attention to Barbie and how all he “ethical” Barbies are from the same mold as the white Barbie. It is a bit tough to mix this in with my topic, however, it can tie in with my childhood and issues I am still facing today. That issue, fitting in with the western beauty standard. As a child I was enrolled in a YMCA swimming class. The girls were comparing their selves from the tips of their heads to the ends of their toes. As strange as it seems I was the only black girl attending that class. When it was my turn to be compared, it was the obvious, my skin was darker, my nose was bigger, and I was muscular. “Just what are we saying when we claim that a doll does or does not look… black? How does black look? …

What would make a doll look authentically African American or realistically Nigerian or Jamaican? What prescriptive ideals of blackness are inscribed in such claims of authenticity? … The fact that skin color and other “ethnic features’ …are used by toymakers to denote blackness raises critical questions about how we manufacture difference”. Unlike my mint condition Barbies, I had the dark skin tone, yet lacked the Caucasian features. I will always vividly remember this, because it was the first time I was berated for being black.

If it was intentional or not, it hurt. Whether it be with video games or Barbies the message is still strong and coherent. I learned that just because that sometimes I don’t feel useful, or that I feel out of place is not necessarily true. Sometimes we need to take the time to look a toys or enjoy our spare time playing games because we all deserve happiness. I have already applied this to my future by letting it bring up my self-esteem from a young age. Video games and family can really make one look differently at oneself.

Works Cited

  1. “Ann Ducille on “Ethnic” Barbies – Sociological Images.” Sociological Images Ann Ducille on Ethnic Barbies Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2016. “How Can Video Games Improve Our Real Lives?” How Can Video Games Improve Our Real Lives? N.p., 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.
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The Positive Effects of Playing Video Games in My Life. (2021, Nov 23). Retrieved December 1, 2021 , from
https://studydriver.com/the-positive-effects-of-playing-video-games-in-my-life/

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