New Emangalization recently linked to a psychology article (the article is solid, some of the sidebar ads are a bit beyond PG rated) about what video game usage and porn are doing to men today. Well, I perused the article and then I perused the comments section. Never peruse the comments section. If you do, there are only a couple of conclusions: either the world is filled with hopelessly unintelligent people, or people hide behind their keyboards and say belligerent and rude things they would never say in real life.
But the one thought I want to share after being scandalized by the comments section is this: What good do video games contribute to one's life? Even if you want to call the article a load of baloney, there is very little defense for video games other than the "What does it hurt line?" line. But if our only defense of a thing is "What does it hurt?" then we're going at it all wrong. Rather than asking "What does it hurt?" we should be asking, "What does it contribute?" or "What value does it hold?" By asking "What does it hurt?", you're trying to identify a bottom threshold of acceptability rather than aiming for greatness. We are made for greatness, and because we are made for greatness we should always be seeking the good rather than just avoiding the bad. We should let things into our lives because they're good for us, not simply because they're not bad.
I think you could probably construct a shallow defense of video games by calling it a social activity. I think Wii bowling is more social than World of Warcraft, even if you are "interacting" with people all around the world. I think video games can be social for a time, but they don't stay that way. By comparison, the first couple beers of an evening are social, beer number eight or nine is something else. In moderation, perhaps you can defend video games as a social thing. But beyond that, they don't contribute to your greatness, and that is what you are truly made for.