I can very clearly remember the Fox News segment about Mass Effect back in 2008, and the sheer stupidity of it all. In fact, I think the game is still banned in Singapore, but I digress. It seems like we've never been able to get rid of the stigma attached to video games in our society. It doesn't matter how mainstream it gets, how well integrated into our daily lives, it always seems to be brought back up in a negative light. Perhaps the most common being the whole song and dance about how first person shooter games make you more violent and aggressive, more likely to commit a mass murder. And just when it seemed like these accusations were starting to fade away (at least in my mind) it all comes rushing back to the surface but not in the way you'd expect.
It's been a long growing concern in some circles that young men seem to be checking out of society. A growing number are not working, not going to college, and rejecting the real world and turning instead to the instant gratification of pornography and video games. The Sexodus seems to be the most popular term for this trend taking hold of most industrialized societies.
Driven in part by economic woes and a general shift in focus away from men and more towards getting more and more women into higher education, these young men have opted towards a more escapist and leisurely lifestyle.
One young man (22 years old to be exact) who was questioned as apart of a Princeton study on economics stated that 'When I play a game, I know if I have a few hours I will be rewarded. With a job, it's always been up in the air with the amount of work I put in and the reward.' Simply that most young men no longer see the need to go out and work when they've got the latest Halo game, which offers infinitely greater amounts of entertainment and pleasure than a 9-5 job at Ben and Jerry's scooping ice cream. That's not to say its the mans fault at all, or the video games for that matter. But when society in general offers young men either a $60 video game, or a series of jobs and schools designed to prepare you and equip you with the education and money you need to buy a house, start a family, and generally transition into an adult and a (steadily) growing number are choosing the former, you know you have a problem.
No, I don't have a solution. As a young man who can see a great many of the pros to choosing the $60 dollar video game and sympathize with the Princeton interviewee I'm hardly the most unbiased and informed voice out there. But while I am loathe to do so, it seems that those voices claiming that video games are having an adverse effect on young men in America might in fact be onto something.