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Let the Games Begin by Prianna Pathak

SoundsLikeBanana's picture

this is my final paper:


Let the Games Begin

Here are my options: write this paper or play Rock Band with my peer mentor. The average Bryn Mawr student would choose to write her paper, knowing that it was due the next day or that there are greater consequences and rewards of the paper. Yet the rewards of playing this video game, according to recent studies, may actually help me in the long run. A new world of experiments and hypothesis have arisen testing how video games both hinder and help the brain, and specifically its unconscious functions.

It seems tech-junkies are trying to rationalize once again the necessity of electronics in our daily lives, only this time they have a point. Video games just might be a necessity in modern day culture, where jobs require a certain level of tech-savvy. Video games are now being proven to help train surgeons for laparoscopic surgery and pilots to control unmanned fighter planes by increasing the usage of the neural pathways for decision making and dexterity(Business News). Games have affected not only the physical wiring of the brain, but also the unconscious detection of environments. The games encourage players to be aware of what is around them to solve the quests or tasks, and due to this gamers develop a heightened sensitive to their own environments allowing them to “[gather] enough for the person to make what they perceive to be an accurate decision” (Business News). This encourages the unconscious to absorb more information and thus communicate more with the conscious mind, increasing creativity and drive.

The prime example of how creativity is enhanced by video games is how playing the games affects brain chemistry. For example, in a complex game the “brain’s circuitry urges our students forward” due to “dopamine…the neurotransmitter released during video game play”(MacKenzie, 2005). Dopamine is released from the “pleasure center” of the brain, more commonly known as the hypothalamus, during “anticipatory or appetitive phase of motivated behavior, where dopamine is involved in learning which environmental stimuli or actions predict rewarding outcomes” (Central Nervous System). This means that altering our brain chemistry through video games, changing our unconscious, can not only affect basic tastes and perceptions, but spark drive necessary for outside tasks.

Games can not only force us to be more driven, but also cause us to be more unconsciously creative outside of the game. Playing a video game, “gamers are forced to construct hypotheses about the gaming world, lean its rules through trial and error, solve its puzzles, develop strategies, and work their way through complex array of spaces without getting lost” (MacKenzie, 2005). This translates to the real world where students can quickly and accurately solve problems or see multiple perspectives of a situation. For example, “a British teacher used the videogame Myst to prompt his students to write descriptions and reactions as he navigated through it. As a result, he achieved striking improvements in their English test scores” (MacKenzie, 2005). Video games have become more advanced so that while playing any game you could be hooked and communicating with other players all over the world. These games are no longer isolating children, but allowing them to communicate about something they are passionate about, which in turn affects their personality. This is unconsciously allowing gamers “to be more social, confident, and comfortable solving problems” (MacKenzie, 2005). This illustrates how the unconscious is altered by utilizing video games, enabling students creativity outside and inside the classroom.MacKenzie, 2005). It seems that through the use of video games to blow of steam and express one’s anger, the unconscious mindset of not only the players, but the country, may have calmed.

Outside of the classroom video game are being utilized medically and socially. Doctors and physical therapists alike recommend that their patents play video games to treat some of their medical problems such as anxiety, or to help them keep entertained during recovery. Medical professionals believe that "the introduction of videogames into this context can be of huge benefit" in situations such as “using games to build muscles to training diabetic children to better self- administer their medication” (2003). Playing games which the premise is to be as violent as possible allows the gamer to experience a release of dopamine, thereby making them happy and relieving stress. This alters the unconsciously unhappy mindset and is a productive, and harmless, way to blow off steam (2003). While some critics believe that playing these video games could lead the players to emulate the violence of the games in real life, studies have showed that “during the period that gaming has become widespread in America, violent crime has fallen by half” (

Technology-developing corporations and tech-savvy consumers alike have been rationalizing the importance of their newest gadgets, promoting everything from fitness to entertainment. It seems that they have won their argument at last. Video games are no longer reserved just for anti-social teenagers, but now they can be used by anyone to improve their mental health, creativity, and social skills. These games have transcended the realm of unrealistic entertainment, into the world of acceptable social conduct and scientific significance. Video games can affect our perception of the world and our role in it. And that is why I’m going down the hall to play Rock Band.



Works Cited

Business News; Video Games Lead to Faster Decisions That Are No Less Accurate. (2010, October). Electronics Newsweekly,27. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2149737821).

Central Nervous System; Study finds TV viewing, video game play contribute to kids' attention problems. (2010, July). NewsRx Health & Science,118. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 2080833501).

Videogames are Good for You. (2003, September). Electronic Gaming Monthly: Issue: 170,68-69. Retrieved December 3, 2010, from Research Library. (Document ID: 412981251).


The Brain, the Biology Classroom & Kids with Video Games ,Ann Haley MacKenzie The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 67, No. 9 (Nov. - Dec., 2005), pp. 517-518 Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the National Association of Biology Teachers , Stable URL: