In this post, we shall see if there is even any point in comparing video games vs books. Is one really better than another? There has always been a debate about which one is more beneficial, especially for school-aged users. Reading books has always been considered more academic and educational. Teachers and parents have been pushing more limitations on video game access, believing that it could provide more detrimental effects on one’s development. But now that playing video games professionally has officially been considered a career, has its age-old reputation been trumped over?
Are video games better than books?
With so many points to consider and discuss, a single post about this discussion may not suffice. But, this post will try its best to give an unbiased comparison between the two.
At this point, we all know that video games have a more objectionable reputation and books hold a superior edge over them (as far as conventional education is concerned). But through the decades, video games have proved themselves more worthy than it is given credit for.
Reading books vs playing video games
Cost and time spent (video games vs books)
There is much satisfaction that we can get from doing each of these activities. And, honestly, we could just get lost in both and be surprised that the day is gone in a wink.
However, we know that books are much more affordable and accessible than games. There are times that you don’t even have to spend a dime to get access to them. They are available in public libraries and school collections. Book readers can take their books anywhere and use them at any time without much need for utilities (electricity, etc). For games, we don’t only have to buy the games but also buy the consoles with which to play them (a mobile phone, a game console, etc).
Storylines, characters, etc.
As a book lover myself, I enjoy making up the scenes in my head. Albeit with faceless and voiceless characters, it is always with amazement that I immerse myself in the world of fantasy the book offers me. However, we cannot entirely discredit the greatness that video games have in this aspect. Video games give us a more concrete perspective of this world of fantasy. It gives color to the settings and faces to the characters. Most of the time, character and setting designs exceed how we have imagined them in our heads as we read the books.
Books are limitless realms – with an abundance of backstories, timelines, and parallel universes. What makes video games better than books is the fact that it lets you enter these little nooks and crannies to enjoy experiences that are not necessarily written in the books. We can call it trivia galore and a little bit of cool side information is always fun.
WINNER: Video games
The learning experience
Let’s see these to know whether you would learn more in one than the other:
BENEFITS OF READING A BOOK
- Some people read books, enjoy the storyline and characters so much that they find games about it to enjoy
- Reading can boost creativity and imagination
- Authors have the intention of teaching lessons about real human experiences
- Books can always improve anyone’s vocabulary
BENEFITS OF PLAYING A GAME
- Kids can learn strategy and logic through the experience of playing games
- Some people read more after enjoying a game so much
- Group play always has social benefits
- Multi-tasking is a useful skill gamers learn
WINNER: Difficult to say
Now this is pretty obvious, right? If we are to compare the experience of reading a book versus playing a game, the latter is obviously more enjoyable. When we are reading a book we are mere bystanders to the story — watching and waiting for the plot to unfold. Meanwhile, when we are playing games, we have first-hand experience with the storyline.
WINNER: Video games
Completing a game and finishing a book
In the same way that we get happiness in reading a book or playing a game, there is also much sadness in finishing them. Do you feel sad and lost whenever you finish reading a book? Like getting the feeling of not knowing what to do with your lives now that you know (and maybe not know) the fates of the heroes and heroines you have spent so much time with? Playing a video game gives the same sense of helplessness.
Doing it over again
There is always much to learn when re-reading books. You can look at the characters from a different perspective. Different opinions can also be formed about the lessons every time you read a book. The same is true with games. You can re-play a game with a different strategy or a different character build. Each time, we come out as different people when we redo a game or re-read a book.
So, what’s the verdict?
Each contender has presented its benefits and its strengths. It really is difficult to decide which one is better than the other.
I am a book lover and I am not writing this post to say that we shouldn’t read them. In fact, we SHOULD read them as books, manga, comics, and other written media are precedents to video games. It gives us a clearer anchor and foundation for understanding the games. video games enhance books which is what makes them better.
All I say is that there is not much sense in hating one and preferring another. Why not consider one as an extension of the other, right? Books make the stories for games and games expand the book’s world of fantasy. Games create books and books create games — it’s almost a paradox, really.
So, instead of wasting time deciding which is better over the other, why don’t we just immerse ourselves in the creative greatness of both?