Biggest myths about video games people believe

Countless people have countless opinions on video games, and a lot of them aren't, well, right. Like, at all. We're here to sort through all the myths about them new-fangled vidja games and clear the air — what are the biggest misconceptions about video games? Well, let's start with the idea that …

Video games are addictive

So many think video games are as addictive as drugs. And that almost makes sense. After all, video games are designed to get you hooked on them, so you spend all your time — and your dime — playing them! It's an open-and-shut case, isn't it?

Well, according to addiction experts, it is, just not the way you think. See, according to them, video games aren't — and can't — be an addiction. Like, when some were pushing for video game addiction to be classified as a disease, much like alcoholism, the doctors at the American Medical Association basically said, "Uhm … what?" Now, to be fair, they didn't say that it was so out-of-this-world silly, that everyone who thought it should fly off the planet. The doctors simply explained that more research was needed to back up the claim that 10% of video game players are video game addicts.

That additional research hasn't turned up anything that would make games more of an addictive thing so — at least for now — you're in the clear! Now, get back to mainlining Candy Crush Saga. You know you want to.

Consoles are over

There's a console for every day of the week, it seems. And yet, as we all know, PCs are better than everything else and the consoles are slowly dying out. Didn't the XBox lose a ton of money for Microsoft or something? Consoles are assuredly selling less than ever!

Err, about that. Console sales are actually pretty high right now. Despite how almost every single gamer wishes you could play Uncharted, Halo, and Mario on the same system, as long as these sales keep up, that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. Sorry about that, PC people. Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony are here to stay, unless one pulls a Sega and forgets how to do anything right. There's always that possibility.

Game mods are new

Ah, all these newfangled gamers with their mods. Back in our day, we couldn't turn the Galaga ship into Thomas the Tank Engine. We couldn't add goats to everything. These kids have no idea how good it is to have mods, because we certainly didn't get any!

Well, actually, that's not really true — mods have been around for a super long time! Almost since the beginning of gaming, in fact! One of the very first game mods ever was back in the '80s, a mod of Castle Wolfenstein called Castle Smurfenstein and was … well, you know what it was. You got to kill Smurfs. It was awesome, as most kill-Smurfs things are.

Since then, mods have just hung around, for basically ever. Doom even had one! Eventually, developers started encouraging it and whole games started coming out, like Counter-Strike, which started life as a Half-Life mod! Mods and video game history aren't separate, they're one thing. One awesome, awesome thing.

Gamers are basically all guys

All right, picture a video game competition. Or a video game store. Or anyone playing a video game. Odds are, you pictured a dude, some dudes, and maybe a dude. Because, as everyone knows, dainty little girls aren't actually playing those nerdy video games, right?

Well, look everyone — despite this world increasingly seeming more like fiction, it isn't actually a bad '80s sitcom. Despite what you might think, gamers aren't overwhelmingly boys. In fact, it's not even close. Adult women make up a larger percentage of video game players than even teenage boys. Yeah, that means that if The Wizard was remade nowadays, it'd be done as a sequel to Bad Moms and … now all we want is to see that.

Now, to be fair, men overall still are the largest demographic, but it just goes to show you that more and more, women are playing games, kicking dudes' butts, and at the rate they're going will steal the dudes' demographic right out from under them.

Video games aren't expensive to make

Video games are, like, numbers right? 011011. There. We just made a video game. Donezo. This is simple! Our dreams of being a videogame designer are within our grasp!

Yeah, not really. See, despite there being this idea of video games being simple things you can make in your garage with a bunch of friends, games are actually super huge, and super-complex, things. It requires designers, artists, voice artists, more designers, programmers, QA testers … did you fall asleep yet? There's so much work put into creating video games, and that's just the actual making of them. We're not even going to start talking about marketing video games, because then we'd need to talk about all the bad video game commercials and that seems like a different article, doesn't it?

Anyway, while there are — of course — some exceptions to this rule, it's the same as in Hollywood. Occasionally you'll get a cheapo indie that's really great, but in general, if you want your game to be good, you're going to need to spend at least a couple million. If that. Some games cost hundreds of millions of dollars, just to produce! The days of spending peanuts to make your own Pong are long over, kids.

You don't need a degree to make video games

Too many people think game-making is something most anyone can do, no schooling or help required. It's a great, romantic myth, but it's just that, a freaking myth.

If you want to become a professional video game designer … sorry kids, you're going to need to go to school for it. But at least nowadays there are schools for it. When video games were first coming out, you didn't necessarily need a degree, because everyone was basically just BSing the industry into shape, pulling stuff out of the air and seeing if it worked.

But now that game-making is a multi-billion dollar business, and games are more complex than ever, getting a degree? Yeah, that's not really a plus — it's a necessity. Sorry, kids.

It's fun to make them

So … you do need money, and you definitely need a degree, and you're going to be working with a bunch of other people but at least you're all having fun, right? It's still making a passion project, albeit one that has millions of bucks behind it.

Hmm, sorry, not so much. See, one of the big things with projects that have millions of dollars attached to them is that they're not fun, not at all. Even if you're making the next Mario game and the little guy's yip-yop-yaHOO'ing all over the place. Video game creators work awful hours, burning themselves ragged. Fourteen-hour days, for six days a week, doing literally nothing else, all to meet a yearly release deadline that was instituted without your involvement, and which makes absolutely no sense because how are you supposed to make a good video game in that time and also sleep? But of course, the answer is you can't, and also you're not getting paid well, and also God laughs at you nightly. Designers drop body weight, destroy their lives, and barely even get paid for it!

Some of what's done is arguably illegal, and it's all done so you can play the latest Assassin's Creed for a few hours before dismissing it as being too much like the last one. Isn't there a union? HA! There is no union, there is no hope, there is no respite, there is only … THE GAME.

It's fun to test them

Testing video games is a certain type of Hell normally reserved for politicians and video game pirates. It is the most mind-numbing and repetitive work outside of being a Subway sandwich artist.

See, despite the myth being that all you have to do to test a video game is, you know, play them, that's not actually what it's like being a tester. To be a tester, you have to do the same thing over and over and over and over (pretend you read that for nine hours) and over and over again. You have to attempt to break the game, which probably sounds cool, but what it actually means is … walk into this wall. All right, do it again. Slightly different angle, and do it again. Do it again while jumping. Continue to walk into this wall for eight hours a day until it breaks. Then, write down exactly what you did, as precisely as possible, so the programmers can duplicate it and fix the bug.

Alright, done with that wall? Walk back and forth in this one spot over and over until the game breaks. Repeat until you never want to play a video game ever again. Congratulations, welcome to the magnificent world of being a QA tester!

They make you more violent

It makes sense, doesn't it? After all, violent games replicate murder over and over in more terrifying and mind-bendingly awesome– we mean horrific, ways. After all, weren't the Columbine Shooters gamers?

Well, yeah, but so were a lot of their victims. Because playing video games isn't some weird niche thing anymore. It's pretty popular. But, like, it's still violent, right? Well, not really. A couple of studies have been done and the results pretty conclusively prove that — despite what concerned-parent pandering politicians might've said in the '90s — video games don't actually make you more violent or more likely to commit crimes.

Yeah, shocker, isn't it? One of the most popular pastimes around, something everyone engages in, doesn't turn you into a mindless beast. Other stuff does, real-life stuff that has nothing to do with a screen! Ah, the surprise!

Video games make you dumber

All right, video games don't make you more violent, but they do make you dumber, right? That's pretty easy to figure out — games aren't the most, well, intellectual of entertainments. It's not like the video game is as wonderful as the works of Shakespeare, or as important to study. It's not like video games can make you smarter.

Yeah, no, that's pure malarkey. Of course video games can make you smarter! Contrary to the theory insisting that video games rot the brain, they actually improve it. Video games make your memory, attention span, problem solving skills, spatial reasoning … much higher? Better? OK, we don't completely understand exactly what the games do, except it makes you much better brainwise? Like with smarts. In the brain. Dangit, we might need to play games more.

Video games turn your body into jelly

This one has to be true. You're just sitting there, playing a video game. Sutting and staring for hours is terrible for you, your body, and your health. There's no way we could turn this entry around with, "Well, actually?"

Well, actually, yes we can, because video games help your body so much. Not only do they help your brain (which, we're pretty sure, is part of your body) but they improve your hand-eye coordination. Yep, you can get better at sports by playing video games. But that's not all. Stroke victims play video games to help cure their paralysis. Talk about a power up!

Wow, sorry, that was corny. But c'mon, how else are we supposed to react to the fact that games are literally helping stroke victims recover? Do you understand how awesome that is? Jeez, is there anything video games can't do?

Video games make you less social

Video games are mostly played alone, so naturally it increased anti-social behavior and … oh, why are we even trying with the Socratic dialogue? Of course video games don't make you less social, you silly billy. Video games actually improve social skills!

Now, this might make sense if you're talking about World of Warcraft or Destiny, or any of those other games that involve high-level interaction with other people to actually succeed, but this isn't about that specifically. This is just video games, any game, even Bubsy. (Okay, probably not Bubsy.) One study, in fact, showed that kids who played video games were 1.88 times more competent in school than those who did not. That's nearly twice as much! So it sounds like, instead of sending your kids off to preschool, you should sit them in front of the television with a Wii U.

At this point, honestly, it's no wonder some people think humans are eventually going to learn how to live forever. It kinda just seems like a steady diet of video games is the real key to Eternal Youth. So get busy, friends — get busy playing and get busy living!