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Are video games really that bad?

  • Russell, Graham
  • Videos

About this work

Also known as

Should you really play video games?


This episode of Horizon narrated by Sanjeev Bhaskar looks at the effect that video games have on the human psychology, namely whether they can make people aggressive and if they are addictive. Bhaskar also briefly looks at the possible positive effects that gaming can have. This show brings on a number of guests from various different fields including video game journalists, video game developers, psychologists and doctors. Each guest speaks about their views on the effect of video gaming within their respective fields. The show looks at a number of different studies which have looked into the effect of violent video games. One such study performed by psychologists Craig Anderson and Brad Bushman looked at whether there was a difference between the aggression levels of students after playing violent games compared to non-violent games. They also tested whether violent games could lead to a desensitisation to real life violence. A study run by Dr Andrew Przybylski of the University of Oxford in which participants played the game ‘Tetris’ or its significantly harder copy ‘Bastet’, suggests that video games in general could make people aggressive due to a rise in frustration levels, not necessarily because of a desensitisation of violence. Bhaskar also discusses the rise in video game addiction, especially in countries such as South Korea where they have clinics to help young people stop excessive gaming. Towards the end of the episode several studies into the benefits of video games are presented. For example, ‘Underground’ helps surgeons practice some of the skills involved with keyhole surgery. Some studies such as one taken at the University of Geneva showed that those who play video games might have a better attention capacity and ability to process visual information. One study found that cognitive functions, as well as memory and attention span are shown to have increased in older participants who regularly started playing video games.


UK, [2015]

Physical description

1 DVD (59 min.) : sound, colour ; 12 cm.


Originally broadcast on 16 Sept. 2015 on BBC2.
Re-released as a DVD with an alternative title.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Graham Russell.
Narrated by Sanjeev Bhaskar.

Copyright note

BBC Scotland Science Production.



  • English

Where to find it

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