A clever comedian once said that the idea that video games influence human behavior is a ludicrous one, pointing out that if the games we played in the 80s had influenced what we did then, people would have been running around in darkened rooms with flashing lights, swallowing pills as they went.
He may have had a point. Certainly, what he said has a point behind it in another way. Specifically, computer games have changed incredibly over the years from the days of PacMan – when they were very simple, repetitive affairs – to the present day where we have the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Modern Warfare and various other incredibly deep and textured video games.
Obviously a major reason for this having happened is the improvement of technology year on year. Back in the olden days, three decades and more ago, a video game like PacMan or Space Invaders was viewed as being highly technologically advanced.
Merely the fact that you could control a character on a screen by means of a joystick was something pretty startling. And due to the fashion for retro styles, it still finds a place in many hearts.
However, there is also now the option to make the character interact more or less realistically with other characters on screen, to take the game in various directions and really feel control.
Whatever else you play a video game for, that element of control is an important one. The increase in popularity of video games may well have a lot to do with how much development has gone into them.