The Quiet Place
Whenever a new study regarding gamers decides to show its face, it comes in two forms. The first of which, is a well-constructed, purposefully fueled controlled test where the subject group is placed through various events in order to ascertain how a certain effect is incurred. Afterwards the test results are more commonly found to be inconclusive or incapable of proving that video games, or many forms of entertainment have any significant long-term effects. However, the second test is slightly different from the first. This is the test you’re more likely to see on any media outlet, or placed online for the everyday googler to stumble across inadvertently. These tests are usually slightly more to the left or right of a particular issue, and by slightly I mean “so ridiculously far to one side or the other, that there’s no possible way the test results are accurate”. These are the tests that were neither conducted, nor properly researched in any setting at all. These are tests where someone who is hoping for quick results in their favor can go to a polling company or study center for sociological research and purchase the results they are looking for. That’s right. They buy the exact thing they want, and with so many idiotic statistics on the market that are overwhelmingly black and white on issues we all know are shades of grey, they’re easy to spot for inaccuracies.
With this being said, I’ll arrive at my point. The most infuriating “study” ever bought and sold on MSNBC as conclusive evidence regards the characteristics of gamers in such a stereotypically condescending manner that it’s only fair that I set the record straight as to how far out of touch with us these so-called experts are. This post was brought about by a study that made the claim that “Video games have the unfortunate effect of causing their users, primarily the frequent ones, to experience severe depression, as well as prefer a sense of isolation to the outside world”.
This statement alone is enough to prove that there was little to no proper research conducted to obtain this result, as well as show that either the people who purchased the results, and perhaps the study center itself is not even close to being familiar with today’s youth. What these people don’t seem to understand, is that they’re trying so desperately hard to receive results that would display games in such negative light, that it would be regarded in future legislation as having an overbearing vicegrip on the psychological stability of adolescents, allowing them to further limit what forms of interaction that kids have with others today. Controlling the alternative forms of entertainment allow authoritarian figures to push forth what they would deem as “safe” substitutions for youthful individuals. Something as dangerous as this, cannot be allowed in the eyes of any sane person, as allowing anyone to determine for you what is and is not taboo is the fastest way to achieve personal enslavement. Games are one of the newest forms in which hyper-liberalism and ultra-conservatism have managed to demonize as vessels for “ideological agendas” to be forced upon children. This, of course can’t be taken seriously seeing as how they are messages being pumped from the mouths of the “convert or die” parties. The reason I can say with a sense of arrogant certainty that this is one of those situations, is the fact of how loosely strung together their argument is for the connection between depression in users, and the games themselves. Allow me to explain.
Clearly, it would stand to reason that the people pining away for these demonizing test results haven’t the slightest clue, that being a kid can suck tremendously. That’s why the argument that “video games spawn depression in their users” is invalid. They fail to grasp that these games aren’t the catalyst for being a recluse; they’re the safety net. Let me inform you of things that are certain to cause depression when added to the equation.
When your teachers look down upon you every day as the incompetent, uncaring kid and you get called out in class at every opportunity out of spite because this magical example of the failure to mimic “Stand and Deliver” trying to get you to focus. When every time you pass a group of more socially inclined kids in the hall, they utter malicious phrases and torment you with verbal abuse incessantly. When your grades on a subject are declining, and your parents bitch at you to try harder but don’t bother to understand why it’s difficult because they presume the school system is top-notch. When every message you hear from peers is that “if you don’t do well in pre-k, you won’t do well in elementary. If you don’t do well in Elementary, you won’t do well in middle school. If you don’t do well in middle school, you won’t do well in high school. If you flunk out of high school, you’re doomed to die a sexless, jobless bum in a cesspool of filth with miscreants and hoodlums alike as you rot slowly in a puddle of decaying flesh”. When your parents encourage you to be honest with them, and when you are they use it as ammunition to turn your confession into an intervention. When you finally get the strength to talk to the person you’ve liked for so long, and they openly reject you as a 2nd class citizen. When you finally work so hard to obtain a goal, only to find out that someone else can do it in half the time. When you find faith, and devoutly ask for assistance in things in your life that are important, only to be denied promptly. When you believe in something so strongly that it is infallible, only to find out that you’ve lived in a doomed leap of faith for the majority of your life. THESE, are things that cause depression.
Many of these things have caused people to turn to video games for solace. Not because they are looking for a way to make themselves more hopeless regarding their lives, but because these games have healing properties. Video games are stress relievers, because you’re free to do as you please. Whether it’s building empires, slaying demons, participating as the MVP in your favorite sport, or even bringing the world back from the brink of global destruction, games have always given people a chance to live their fantasies in digital format. They bring incredible pleasure to those who accept them, and they aren’t going to judge you. They’re not going to suddenly become violent with you, or condescend to you when they feel your inadequacies need to be addressed. They allow time for you to gather your thoughts, while doing something you actually enjoy for once. MMORPGs also can provide a reasonable alternative to common social interaction. Here, you are welcome to engage in activities with other gamers who understand your issues, have felt the cruel injustices of the “real” world, and who aren’t going to delve personally because of a veil of anonymity between any two people. They allow you to form guilds, which can comprise of people that you might trust, and it has led me as well as many others to not only meet good friends, but also their spouse.
In closing, I’d like to state that any person who is opposed to the idea of video games, has clearly never been forced to endure life’s punishing social purgatory, and therein cannot be considered a valid source of information regarding them. They’re inexperienced, and haven’t nearly engaged in them long enough to fully understand the joy that people can obtain from playing them. If they’d like to argue, they can take it up with the 70% of the world who are currently playing them. I’m sure any one of them can tell them why it is that they are a necessary cornerstone of entertainment and social prosperity.
Video games DO NOT cause depression. This horrific, war-torn, celebrity-obssessed, superiority driven, perpetually anesthetized, slave camp of workforce stagnation and social discrimination causes depression. Video games just allow you a few peaceful, quiet hours of not having to look at it.