An eminent playwright has said that video games can inspire much more creativity than reading books or watching movies.
Lucy Prebble, who is best known for her financial satire Enron, attacked the popular stereotype of teenage gamers as 'chubby automatons' who spend their days shooting virtual enemies and eating crisps, the Telegraph reported.
AdvertisementThe award-winning writer also asserted that video games also offer more opportunities to be active and sociable.
Prebble said that rather than being criticized, video games should be acknowledged as an art form appreciated for the way they tugged at our emotions and stimulated creativity.
She cautioned that a "middle-class terror" of raising fat and idle children has led to an unjust perception of gamers as inactive, adding that fears about the violent content of some games are patronising and misguided.
Writing in The Observer, the playwright gave an account of how as a young child she became addicted to computer games after discovering a text-based DOS game called Zork.
She insisted that gaming was like writing, in that both are private, creative activities very different to watching films or reading books, which involve less input.
While playing video games, users are required to take decisions, giving them the opportunity to influence the story and even in part design the world in which the game is played out, she added.
"Playing a game is more sociable than watching a film. Watching a film may as well be done separately as together," she said.
She recalled that when she was a kid, how her parents and siblings used to gather together to play the latest adventure games and take turns to play, helping each other conquer the most difficult levels.
Quite often, video games have been blamed for a number of major issues like rising obesity levels, violent and anti-social behaviour among teenagers, poor literacy, decline in traditional outdoor pursuits among others.
However, Prebble believes that the poor reputation of video games could be traced back to a variety of factors including "a middle-class terror of bringing up fat children."
She mentioned that "the idea of raising a chubby automaton who spends all day shooting people in the head while calling for more Doritos" is more than some parents can put up with.
"Never mind that no one ever lost any weight reading, the holy grail of youthful hobbies," she said, adding that newer devices like the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect merge gaming with physical activity, using the body as part of the controller.
Video games are also slammed for being too violent, with war-based games often blamed for an "erosion of morality" when tragedies like high school shootings occur, Prebble said.
Contradicting this belief, she insisted that arguments ignore the face that most other pupils of the same age play the same games but do not end up confusing fiction with reality.
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