Home Entertainment The Brain Game: A Deeper Look into the Effects of Video Games

The Brain Game: A Deeper Look into the Effects of Video Games

by Jesse Sanzari

Students from the Montclair University Gamers Organization play Guitar Hero at the Hawks Nest Commuter Lounge.
Photo courtesy of Devin Torster

It seems that in today’s world, everything centers around violence and gore, especially video games. The debate over whether they bring out violent tendencies in players is a debatable topic among gamers, including students from Montclair State University.

Vincent Esposito, a sophomore Italian major at Montclair State, turns to video games as a form of relaxation after a long day of school and work. Playing them, especially his favorite one, “Overwatch,” helps him unwind and de-stress.

When it comes to video games causing aggression in gamers, Esposito thinks it depends on the individual person.

“A person must already be angry and have violent tendencies for video games to trigger them and have catastrophic results,” Esposito said.

Esposito is a devoted gamer who started playing video games on his grandmother’s Nintendo gaming system when he was around 5 years old. Now, he spends an average of 15 hours per week playing video games at his home.

His father, Vincent Esposito Sr., says he does not believe video games bring out one’s inner demons if they are not conscientious. He also thinks it’s important to monitor children’s usage because it is all about moderation.

Communication and media arts professor Dr. Vanessa Domine has a lot of experience on the topic of video games and aggression.

“We do know that there is a link between consuming violent media [especially video games] and increased aggression or aggressive behavior among children and adolescents,” Domine said. “However, nearly five decades of audience research on the impact of media violence cannot establish a direct causal link to violent behavior.”

Domine also said that violent behavior is not the same as being aggressive.

Some students believe that violence in video games depends on each gamer’s experience. Jesse Mactaggart, a junior computer science major and member of the Montclair University Gamers (MUG) organization since his freshman year, agrees that it varies.

“Not everybody plays the same thing,” Mactaggart said. “Video games aren’t the sole cause of aggression.”

Other students think there is a lack of evidence on gamers’ behaviors. Olivia Paez, a junior journalism major, thinks this is because every player is different.

“We don’t have enough statistics to prove that video games influence people to react violently,” Paez said. “It depends on how impressionable they are.”

The debate about whether or not video games contribute to youth violence is ongoing and will likely remain. The entertainment provided to today’s youth becomes more aggressive all the time. Studies have been inconclusive as to whether video games actually do bring out violent tendencies in developing minds, so panicked parents don’t know what actions to take regarding their child’s gaming habits.

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