Traditionally play activity has been very social relying very heavily on interaction and imagination. In video games kids are plugging into a preprogrammed game experience that controls their imagination. Traditional forms of play offer a wide variety of experiences but the range of experiences offered by a video game is limited to what will sell in the market. In most cases the experience offered is primarily designed to promote conflict and intensity.
Video games are a communication media. When kids play they not only experience the content, they interact with the content in a unique way which means that when they are playing they are also assimilating the values, and norms, and themes that are imbedded in the play experience. Violence is the key entertainment value in almost all genres of video games. The most popular video games are violent and for many gamers experiencing violence is the motivating factor to play. In many of the most popular games the only goal is to kill.
Watching video games is different than playing them. The interactive experience creates greater intensity. Girls experience violence in video games different than boys do. Violent games have a different quality of experience than non-violent games. Heavy gamers become desensitized to violence and develop an emotional numbness and a cavalier attitude towards the killing of human beings and changes the way we think about killing
Video gamers can reach a point of psychological disconnection and enter into what is called the zone. The zone is the nirvana of digital gaming. Once in it, players experience a state of deep concentration, total absorption, and an alternation sense of reward and punishment.
There is some social scientific data to support the idea that video games are a healthy activity said to help children develop special skills such as visualization, concentration, and problem solving, help develop special skills, and informally prepare children for learning about science and technology.
Like other addictions, video games are experienced as a compulsive behaviour that kids will give up other things for, play for an increasing amount of time, and find it very difficult to stop.
British Columbia Survey on Gaming
SFU Media Analysis Lab