Video games are over a $12 billion per year industry, and that number keeps going up. Though they originated in arcade games in the 1970s, nearly every person carrying a cell phone now can play a video game whenever they want.
The positive and negative aspects of playing video games have been hotly debated throughout their history, and it has led to some misconceptions and falsehoods about how they affect players.
Mental Floss has decided to debunk these misconceptions once and for all with their latest video. But first, check out this breakdown:
Misconception 1: Video games cause ADHD
There isn't any evidence that video games cause Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but those with the neurological disorder (males in particular) are more likely to overindulge while playing video games than their neurotypical peers.
Video games light up the part of your brain associated with rewards, and those with ADHD are more likely to crave that type of stimulation.
Misconception 2: The "Madden Curse" is real
There are some who believe that players featured on the cover of the annual Madden NFL game are doomed to have a terrible next season.
Yes, some players featured on the cover have wound up on the disabled list the following season, but not all of them. Besides, there are plenty of players who have career-ending injuries each year who have never been on the cover of a video game.
Misconception 3: Most gamers are children
While it's the job of the older generation to accuse the kids of the current generation of being obsessed with their tech gizmos and do-dads, over 60% of gamers on consoles and PCs are actually adults. The oldest members of our society are also big into gaming, as roughly 23% of people 65 and older play.
Misconception 4: Blowing into an NES cartridge makes the game work
Those born in the '70s and '80s remember the struggle of game cartridges from the original Nintendo Entertainment System. The game would glitch and become unplayable, and the user would generally take out the game, blow into it (to get the "dust" out), and the game would generally be fixed. Everyone did this, but there's no evidence that it actually helped the game at all. In fact, it probably contributed to the corrosion of the connectors on the cartridge, making the game worse.
Misconception 5: Most video games are violent
While it is true that there are video games that are extremely violent, they are in the minority. Only 12% of games released in 2013 were rated Mature, indicating they contained graphic violence.
Misconception 6: Video games desensitize users to violence.
There actually isn't a clear consensus on this one, though video games are often a scapegoat for the violence that people do in real life. Some studies have shown this might be the case, while others have shown the opposite. There actually isn't much known yet to say whether this is the case, or if there is merely a correlation.
Misconception 7: Video games harm vision
At first glance, this one might be true. After all, staring at a screen for any length of time seems like it would bring about eye strain and cause vision problems. Actually, gamers typically have better eyesight than non-gamers, as they have an increased ability to pay attention to more things at once.
Misconception 8: Video games make you less intelligent
Playing video games has been shown to boost the gray matter in the brain in the areas responsible for multitasking, concentration, and memory. Of course, all of this comes in moderation. Playing video games for excessive lengths of time has more detrimental effects than benefits.
Misconception 9: "Donkey Kong" is a mistranslation and was supposed to be "Monkey Kong"
Donkey Kong is a gorilla, so it was originally thought that his name was translated poorly from Japanese and the character was supposed to be named "Monkey Kong" instead. The Japanese words for "donkey" and "monkey" really different and would not have caused the confusion. The "Donkey" moniker was given because DK is kind of like a donkey, in that he is stubborn.
Besides, gorillas are apes, not monkeys.
Misconception 10: Video game addictions don't exist
While the research on this is still young, many have claimed that there is no such thing as an actual video game addiction. However, the brains of video game addicts look quite similar to individuals with other addictions, warranting much further study.