Video games take control of teens

Kelly Lynch, Features Editor

Video games are a creative pastime enjoyed by teens across the world. They can cause a great effect on the players’ lives depending on how they’re played. Good or bad people still play them everyday.

Video games were invented back in the late 1950s, by Physicist William Higinbotham in the Brookhaven National Laboratory. It all started with a simple tennis game and have since expanded and grown to be some of the most elaborate games anyone has ever created.

There’s many different styles and types of video games such as simulations, sandbox, role-playing games, racing, action-adventure, and first person shooters. According to, the most popular type of game this year are action games, which include a mix of vibrant visuals and a punch of adrenaline rush, delivering a unique experience to the gamers.

I like to play sandbox games, mostly, like Terraria or Minecraft,” senior Roman Miller said. “I also enjoy building and running my own business or maybe making vehicles, so I really enjoy Starship EVO or a good old game called Joint Task Force.”

The most popular game released in November is Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, which is set during the early 1980s of the Cold War. Its campaign follows CIA officer Russell Adler as he pursues Perseus, an alleged Soviet spy, whose stated goal is to subvert the United States and tilt the balance of power toward the Soviet Union. More than 10 million copies of the game have been sold in 2020.

“I’ve played most of the Call of Duty games,” senior Micheal Stadler said. “I enjoyed Black Ops II and Modern Warfare III the most. I really like first-person shooter games. They’re some of my favorite games I own.”

The first real video game that was created was Pong, which was a ping pong tennis game. It was created in the 1970s by Atari, who also created some of the most popular classic games like Pac-man, Space Invader and Asteroids. 

Since then other gaming companies have risen up to take the top spot for video games. Nintindo, Ubisoft, Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard are some of the most popular gaming companies in the world today. According to the Q2 2020 Games Market Dynamics, consumers have so far spent around $22 billion in gaming relating content this year.

“The first game I remember playing was Pokemon Yellow for Gameboy when I was like seven years old,” Stadler said. “The pokemon franchise kinda got me into playing other games and has since expanded my love for video games.”

Teens can get jobs that connect with gaming, either playing them or creating them. People can stream or record themselves playing video games and post it to the internet to where they gain a following and can obtain a profit from it, if they do it long enough and on preferred platforms. Youtube and Twitch are the most popular platforms to find gaming content. For example, a famous Youtuber called Markiplier has built his platform off of his gaming videos and has earned over 27 million subscribers. In the past year he has earned around $13 million from Youtube alone.

Anybody can earn a living from gaming,” sophomore Maya Conner said. “It’s content that many people find entertaining. It requires amounts of dedication. The audience is one of the main necessities to growing as a creator, so usually it’s a hit or miss.

Video games can affect a teen’s social life such as limiting the contact between “in real life” friends, but can also increase the contact of online friends. Gamers can meet others online while playing games in chat rooms or through their favorite creators.

“I think it improves my social life,” Miller said. “It helps in expressing myself, like meeting so many variants of people all across the world gives you a better view on how people interact with you if you do this and if you do that. But, I wouldn’t call the people I talk to online friends. There’s still that gap of knowledge about each other that still needs to be filled up.”

Gaming can also affect teens’ physical health because most gamers sit in chairs and don’t get outside much. There are options to help with it like standing desks or playing games that require movement such as VR and motion detect games.

“Many studies show that most adolescents who are addicted to computer games have high heart beat and blood pressure due to too much excitement and stress,” assistant professor Eshrat Zamani on NCBI said. “ Most of those who are involved in these games do not notice the time passing and even forget to eat.”

Mental health effects can occur when someone games a lot. There can be an increase in aggression or depression from the different types of games played or the lack of interaction with real life. 

“Video games can definitely help with depression or anxiety depending on what you play and how you play them,” Stadler said. “It helps me keep my mind off of things and makes time pass quickly. Gaming helps me calm down after a long day and playing with friends can make me happy.”

According to Science Daily, it revealed no differences in measures of aggression and empathy between gamers and non-gamers. This finding was backed up by the fMRI data, which demonstrated that both gamers and non-gamers had similar neural responses to the emotionally provocative images. These results surprised the researchers, as they were contrary to their initial hypothesis, and suggest that any negative effects of violent video games on perception or behavior may be short-lived.

I would say that violent thoughts and aggression could be obtained, but it is not an often occurrence,” Conners said. “Some users know the boundaries between a violent game and reality and that limits them to know where they can be a little more aggressive and not.

Video games are given a rating based on their content and what the basis of the game is. The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) was created in 1994 and has issued seven designations. They range from EC (Early Childhood) to AO, adults only. Most titles receive either an E (for children over the age of 6), or a T (for teens over 13). According to, researchers point out that a rating system is important because of failed efforts to ban or restrict children’s access to violent video games.

I think the system is accurate enough to set guidelines for younger audiences and triggers,” Conners said. “Though many times the ratings go ignored, they’re still really helpful for when they’re recognized.

Video games teach teens good skills such as hand-eye coordination, planning/resource management, multi-tasking, quick-thinking, accuracy, situational awareness, good memory and teamwork. 

I definitely think more tactically and analyze things better as well as thinking more logically and focusing on specific details more,” junior Aiden Watts said.

Gaming can be captivating and cause procrastination towards teens’ work. According to, researchers found that intensive computer gaming did have a negative impact on grades, especially when kids spend multiple hours playing them on school days. 

“Gaming has definitely affected my academics before,” Stadler said. “I want to just fit one more game in before I start working and sometimes it will turn into a couple. I feel like everyone procrastinates though with their work.”