It’s strange to think that only a few decades ago, pong was the most revolutionary game on the market.

The rapid evolution of video games took the world by storm, introducing unforgettable icons such as Mario who, even years later, is still relevant, selling around 13 million copies worldwide. Graphics have improved so much that some games are near indistinguishable from real life, and certain games, such as Journey, are being regarded more as an interactive art form than an actual video game.

Can video games relieve stress?

Despite their immense popularity, video games have repeatedly come under fire by the media. It has been speculated that video games can increase aggressive behaviour in adolescents and have been labelled as the cause of many recent tragedies plaguing America. These speculations have gathered so much traction that President Trump stated: “I’m hearing more and more people saying the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people’s thoughts.” Despite these claims, there is more scientific evidence supporting the fact that video games are stress relievers and are more likely a tool to vent aggression than actually cause it.

VR: the future of gaming

The evolution and controversy surrounding gaming make it interesting to speculate where gaming will be in just a few years time. One of the ways games are currently being revolutionised is the introduction of virtual reality, fully submersing the player into the environment. Whilst the idea of being the main character in your own movie is exciting, the social implications of this advancement could be worrying. If games become too immersive or interactive it may be difficult for gamers to move from the simulated reality back into their real one. Although most studies are showing that video games are actually more of a benefit than a problem, it’s still too early to tell, as the newer generations of children are the first to have video games be a large part of their lives from such an early age.

All of this shows that the prospects of what gaming can do, not only to us personally but also as a society, should be treated with both caution and excitement.