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What Playing Video Games Taught Me about the World and the People in It

Video games help us build our understanding of ourselves, others, and the world around us. Tony, a HS student from Philadelphia, shares what they’ve taught him.

By iThrive Games
April 14, 2022

This post is the next in the Power of Play blog series, which shares posts from teens reflecting on the many ways games have helped them connect with others, find community, explore new perspectives, and discover new possibilities for themselves. We're excited to continue the series with a reflection written and submitted by Tony, a high school student based in Philadelphia, PA, who shares some of the ways video games have mirrored, enriched, and influenced his world.

Video games have played an important role in my life and shaping how I perceive things. Although they may not be real, some video games portray the real world and make you ponder on things you normally wouldn't. Video games have been a gateway to great things for me. I have met some of my best friends and have gotten through hardships with games as they shape who I am and my life. Three video games specifically have altered my way of thinking, those games being Detroit: Become Human, Life is Strange 2, and Batman: The Telltale Series.

In the game Detroit: Become Human, we are taken into a futuristic period, one in which humans have created cybernetic androids to perform tasks and labor for them. This takes a turn when the androids become conscious and want to be treated as equal and not merely property. This game was one of the first in which I thought about ethics and what the morally correct thing to do would be. This game developed my critical thinking due to its really creative way of displaying discrimination. Although they're not human, the androids still have a consciousness and make choices. This game helped shape some of my thought processes. 

Life is Strange 2 is another one that comes to mind when I think of games that are a key element of who I am. This game follows the story of two boys who are living in an ordinary life until an instance occurs that immediately resonated with me. The boys, who are Mexican, have an altercation with a white male and the police arrive. The policeman immediately points his gun at the Mexican boys. This happens all of the time in real life in black and brown communities and I'm glad the game showed this. Police often see people of color as a threat when that's not the case. Things like this being mentioned in video games are another reason why video games are so great to me.

In another game, Batman: The Telltale Series, one of the most important themes and takeaways is how people around you and events can alter you and your perception of life. Batman witnessed his parents die. Joker becomes the Joker due to the manipulations of others and things of that nature. Recently, I had an event which altered the entire way I perceive life and how I go about it. Batman: The Telltale Series showcased to me how environments and circumstances shape who we are and how we live our lives.

Overall, I feel that although video games have this negative stigma associated with them, for me, and most likely others, video games are meaningful. They help me not only better understand myself but also the world and environment around me. They highlight questions about ethics and showcase real-world issues that need to be discussed like police discrimination against people of color. In my life, video games have been an escape from all the craziness and helped calm me. They are a key element in making me who I am. 

We are always looking to amplify teen voice and share their stories that attest to how games help us understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Have something to share? Send us your thoughts, stories, ideas, and reflections at contact@ithrivegames.org with a brief blurb about yourself to see it on our blog this year!