It is often said that school is out of step with the times. That today’s young people are light years ahead of their professors, obviously not in skills but in those who are extra-scholastic skills. That they know how to do with the computer what their teachers will never be able to do, or that, from “digital natives”, they live the world in a completely different, more modern and dynamic way.
This popular “vulgate” is actually true to a certain extent. Obviously, as always in these cases, there is a generation gap that makes young people a bit more dynamic and the old ones a bit slower. But knowledge and skills are not just a question of speed, but also of depth. And often, indeed, young people show that they know how to use the new multimedia tools, but not in a complete or conscious way. This is why the distance between teachers and learners is often less clear and serious than it may seem at first sight.
Certainly, however, the school sometimes finds it difficult to meet the passions of young people, and to exploit them for the cultural growth of the individual. Think of computer science: for a long time it was looked at with a certain suspicion, limiting it, at school, to purely technical fields. Even today, usually, there is at most only one computer in the classroom, that of the teacher. And the students find themselves typing on a keyboard only at home, and even rarely.
Even more net, however, is the prejudice against video games. This form of entertainment has made giant strides in decades. From simple puzzles or games of skill, the titles have turned into real adventures that lead to fiction. Adventures that in some ways have nothing to envy to films or TV series, since they present elaborate plots, precise aesthetic choices, even in certain cases ethical themes of some importance. In short, video games have become (and will become more and more) a form of art with which we must begin to confront.
Some teachers this new reality seems to have understood. And from time to time, also to stimulate the interest of children, he proposes tasks in class in which students are asked to create an argumentative text on video games. And this is where the kids go into crisis.
Because video games also play a lot, but they don’t always reflect on them. Nor, let alone, are they accustomed to defending their merits, arguing their opinion. If you fall into this category and are looking for some ideas, today we offer you five suggestions for a good video game theme. With lots of ideas, data and quotes.
Choose a valid thesis
Some original ideas
As you certainly know, the first thing to do when dealing with an argumentative text is to choose the thesis you intend to support. And in the case of video games you have to think about it well. If you are passionate about the subject, in fact, the temptation is to set off in the defense of an activity that is often denigrated.
In doing so, however, you risk running into at least two errors. On the one hand, to get carried away by the heat, remaining unclear and talking more to yourself than to the reader. On the other hand, not to choose a culturally relevant, original and interesting thesis. If video games are good or bad, it can also be interesting, but up to a certain point. Today, in fact, the field has expanded so much that you can choose to support some different ideas. And to bring up slightly more original topics.
Want some examples? We give them to you, we are here for this. For example, we can talk about art. Video games were born as a form of entertainment and leisure, like commercial works that only kept bored teenagers busy. But today they are something different.
First of all, today they are increasingly turning to adults too. In the second instance they have a plot, they create an experience, they influence people’s lives. It is no coincidence that certain forms of traditional art have explored the field of videogame entertainment. Think, just as an example, of video art, one of the most interesting currents of the last decades. And then, if art imitates video games, is it possible to imagine a future in which commercial video games will become works of art? After all, if it happened for TV series, why shouldn’t it happen even with video games?
But there are also other possible theses to support. For example, we can talk about sociality. Once playing with video games was a rather solitary experience, and in fact newspapers periodically published articles worried about the isolation of young people. Today the trend has reversed. Island mobile phones, but video games involve and unite people.
Nintendo, for example, has focused its latest consoles precisely on group activity. But even the emergence of multiplaying and many “corporate” titles are heading in this direction. In an increasingly anti-social world, will video games save us and allow us to relate to others?
Find understandable examples
And explain them well
Once you have decided what the thesis you want to support is, you need to organize your arguments. And above all, support them with adequate examples. Here, in this case it is useful to pay some attention. As we said at the beginning, there is often a gap between young people and adults, between students and professors. And very often the examples and references that young people can take for granted are actually not so easy for teachers to understand.
So, for example, it is good to mention a few video games, but it is essential to explain what it is and briefly present the characteristics of that title. Nothing should be taken for granted. Pokémon may be perfectly unknown to prof. GTA an acronym never heard. The Xbox is an enigma. In short, don’t be afraid to explain everything. Rather, try to be precise but at the same time synthetic: you certainly can’t dedicate three columns just to explain how a video game works. So, in a nutshell, look for the right example, because you will have space to talk only about one or two titles in a precise manner.
Obtain data, studies and statistics
Some important articles in favor of video games
Let’s face it: supporting a thesis in favor of video games can be a daunting task. As we have already written, the field is still cluttered with many prejudices, and it is certainly not easy to dissolve them. Therefore it can be useful to read up in depth. Universities and, more prosaically, newspapers in recent years have published numerous studies and data on the use of video games. And bringing some objective data to support your ideas is always a good idea.
You will say: yes, but if it is a task in class, how can I have data at hand? Well, if you’re doing a video game class assignment, what are you doing here right now? Are you using your cell phone under the desk? If instead the argumentative text you have to write is a homework task, then you have the internet and the opportunity to explore and search. Especially if you know English, since the most interesting articles are written in that language.
For example, this article in the Guardian is interesting because it gives many ideas. And above all it presents the links to a series of studies. Studies that analyze how many hours people spend on consoles on average; which TV series were taken from video games and how they were reviewed; what are the new frontiers of videogame robotics.
But there are even more interesting data. For example, this other article explains that some studies show that kids who play video games get better results at school (at least in some subjects). In addition, gamers today would also have better social skills and, compared to what was once thought, would not suffer psychological damage due to excessive use of the vehicle. In short, there can be plenty of meat on the stove.
Some probable objections
As always, when extending an argumentative text, we must also learn to prevent any criticism. To think, that is, what a person who thinks differently might object and to counterpoint in advance point by point. It is a fairly elementary rhetorical technique, which however is particularly useful in written assignments, because it gives the idea that the student knows how to problematize his own point of view. And see things from multiple perspectives.
So, once you have outlined the ideas that you intend to support and have found some data to support, you have to stop for a moment to think, precisely, of the possible criticisms of your thesis. What can they be? It also depends on the text you have in mind, of course, but let’s see some more or less universal ones.
For example, one could dispute that video games force the user to spend many hours in front of a television screen, ruining their view in the long run. In this case, you can also admit that the problem exists, but that it is enough to limit it with a careful use of the consoles. And that, in the future, it will become an increasingly less pressing problem, given that we will soon be invaded by virtual reality devices that will probably no longer use screens.
Another sensible criticism may be that video games push kids to isolate themselves from reality, to live more within virtual worlds than real worlds. Although this objection is already addressed by some studies we have presented above, we must nevertheless show that we know it. And to explain that today kids are much more used to distinguishing between real and virtual.
Last objection worthy of note is that linked to the violence of certain titles. It is undeniable, in fact, that some video games are not at all suitable for young people, both for their content and for the immorality of certain situations. This objection, however, does not only apply to video games. Although the latter are very engaging, such problems can also arise with films, TV and other expressive means. And the solution is always the same: to educate children and especially parents to consciously use games. Something that can also be done at school, if desired.
Keep some unexpected quotes ready
A serious and a self-deprecating one
The last advice we give you is, as we see it, the icing on the cake. Once you have found a good thesis, you have identified the evidence and examples that can help you support it and you have understood what objections your ideas can raise, there is just one final blow. That is something that leaves a particular mark. Like, for example, a good quote.
In reality video games usually deal with specialists in particular. It is therefore not easy to find an effect sentence that can be used in a school assignment. However, we have identified a couple that could be useful to you. One is more serious and one more ironic.
The phrase found above was pronounced in 2005 by Hillary Clinton. At the time the former secretary of state was a senator and in reality that quote is taken from a speech in which he said he was worried about the most violent video games. But it is also the best political endorsement ever shown for video games. And you can very well use it at the beginning or end of your text.