2121 – Writing for MIT Dr. Tim Freeborn January 31, 2012 Gaming the Console – Rhetorical Essay In Linda Bernstein’s informative article “Gaming the Console” she presents both sides to the ongoing debate about the possible consequences associated with playing video games. Some experts have concluded that gaming leads to negative outcomes such as an increase in violent behavior, or a decrease in academic and social skills. On the other hand, there is a belief that some video games can have positive educational and physical benefits.
Bernstein touches on all of these aspects of gaming and leaves the ultimate decision up to the reader to form his or her own opinion on the matter. Throughout the article, there are three images displayed that effectively support the text and help develop the arguments presented. The initial picture that is splashed across the entire first page of the article seems to represent the type of teen who exhibits the potential for increased aggression as a result of playing video games.
The photo depicts a male teenager with spiked hair, dark eyes, pierced ear, and stubble on his lip and chin. These characteristics are typically indicative of a more rebellious or aggressive individual. His concentration is evident in his wide-eyed expression and his grimacing face with his tongue in his mouth. He holds the console in a tight grip as shown by the redness of his skin around his thumbs, which indicates his level of intensity. All of these details compliment the notion that video games may be unknowingly impacting areas of the brain associated with aggression.
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Professor Craig A. Anderson of Iowa State University describes this as follows: “The effects aren’t huge or immediately noticeable by a game player, but they tend to increase over time” (Bernstein 14). The player may not feel more aggressive after playing a game, but there may be evidence to suggest the effect is still there none the less. The next image in sequence works well in conjunction with the text and seems to support the argument that gaming can have positive benefits if used appropriately. For instance, in the article eighteen-year-old David A. xpresses, “It’s a fun way of being with your friends when [you are] home relaxing. [It is] competitive and fun, but I only do it when I have extra time” (Bernstein 14). This opinion appears to be shared by the two male and two female teens shown in the picture. They appear to be having fun while playing the game and getting along. Although they have a look of concentration on their faces, the fact that they are all leaning in the same direction could indicate they are playing towards a common goal, and thus encouraging teamwork.
It shows boys and girls playing together which illustrates that gaming can have a social and inclusive benefit, and is not simply for socially awkward children. This image can support the notion that if gaming is not performed at the exclusion of other things such as schoolwork and sports, it can be a fun pastime. The last image Bernstein integrates into her article could be perceived as support for either side of the debate over the impact of video games. The presentation of a boy with his headset on and console in the air with a huge smile indicates again a positive image of gaming.
On the other hand, the fact that he is wearing headphones may signify that he is a serious gamer who spends a lot of time gaming at the exclusion of other educational activities. This picture is rather ambiguous because depending on whether he is part of the 8% teen gamers who are addicted or 92% who are not addicted it can have a very different meaning (Bernstein 14). Overall, this image can be interpreted to support whatever argument you are rooting for by the end of the article.
Bernstein is successful in presenting useful images that enhance the text while still being fair and showing all views discussed throughout the article. The first image portrays the aggressive nature of gaming, the second illustrates the social aspect of gaming and the third image is left up for interpretation by the viewer. Overall, the article displays a balanced perspective complimented with appropriate corresponding images that support Bernstein’s thesis. Works Cited Bernstein, Linda. “Gaming the Console. ” Current Health Teens. ” March 2012.
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