Mind Games Documentary: How Video Games Can Affect Us

In college we were taken on Making a Documentary and I decided to make one on the effects video games have on us socially, physically and psychological. Looking at case studies and statistics in order to deliver a well balanced for and against case.

Below you can read all of my pre-production and research notes.

The aspects that I wanted to research
The aspects that I wanted to research

Project Concept

I am going to use a mixture of interviews and a host. I aim to use the green screen to create a blank studio space. Coming from the side for video games, I want to give the impression that I am neutral. I adopted this idea from Charlie Brooker: “How Video Games Changed The World. In this, when Charlie Brooker” appeared on screen, often he filmed in front of a green screen. This makes it appear that he is a neutral partner, when in fact he is an avid video game fan. I am choosing to host it myself because I have a knowledge through personal interest. This way I can deliver my points clearly and accurately.


My plan is to gather some arguments for and against video games and put these arguments up to people who have dividing opinions on the matter.


Positives Negatives
Emotional Outlet Bad Language Online
Improves Hand Eye Coordination Encourages Violence
Problem Solving Ability Encourages Loneliness and Isolation
Increases Perseverance Addictive
Educational Tool Effect Academic Achievement
Improve Memory Can Confuse Reality With Fantasy

The Title for my documentary will be mind games. I chose this because I want to focus on how video games affect people on all levels. The main ideology that people who don’t play video games take away from them is that they make people anti-social and violent. Through my research, I want to show people that they can be beneficial too. However, I am going to focus on the positive and negative effects of video games. This way It greatly reduces the bias that I may have on the matter. As I am hosting it, some bias may seep through, by my tone of voice and how I phrase things. This is something that I will try to limit but I do understand that it will happen – somewhat obscuring the message.


For my documentary, I am focusing on the effects that video games have on people and their bodies. Those parts are, social effects, physiological and psychological.


Social Effects

There is a stigma that all games make people anti-social zombies. There are many variables though; the personality of the person playing or the type of game being played. I aim to break down this stigma whilst not impeaching on the negative side of view – because there is a negative side effect.



Video games can make a person more social – depending on the type of game and whom they are playing with, they can encourage interaction between themselves and players online. Chacha Tumbokon, who runs the site raisesmartkid.com studied Psychology and Early Childhood Development wrote an article about the positive and negative effects of video games [1]. In this article, she raises a myriad of points on both sides of the argument and she states that “encourage your child to work cooperatively to achieve his goals.” I believe this to be true. Games such as Portal 2, which is a puzzle game has an online cooperative gameplay needs players to “formulate plans”, both players to be in synch and rely on each other in order to complete the game. To continue, she goes on to say that games “can introduce your kid to players of different nationalities and cultures”.


An article backs up these points on psychcentral [2]. The author of the article uses American Psychological Association as their source. Statistics show that “More than 70 percent of gamers play with a friend”. Video games can also make people more sociable, because games can make people happy. As a result, that person will be a more desirable person to hang around with. The lead author of the sourced thesis, Isabela Granic, PhD states “If playing video games simply makes people happier, this seems to be a fundamental emotional benefit to consider,” This is something that is very often overlooked. People play games because it makes them happy. Just like watching soap operas makes people happy.


There have been a few studies which have proved that games can be “pro-social” events and content which encourage players to be helpful and encouraging to people. A study conducted had 161 students play a selection of games “Violent games, neutral games or pro-social games (in which helpful behavior was required”. Once the students played the games, they completed tasks in which they had the option to be helpful or hurtful to each other. The results showed that “Those who had played the violent games were more hurtful to other students, whereas those who had played the pro-social games were more helpful.”[3] This does provide evidence that games can prove to help people in a positive way. However it does also support the argument of violent games can be bad for people socially. Unfortunately, the link to the study conducted does not work so it is difficult to determine any variables. For example, the article I sourced does not mention how old the students were. If they were younger, it means that they could be more susceptible to the negative impacts of the game. We also do not the personality of those students. Some of the volunteers could have been anti-social people to begin with. These variables and many others could easily change the outcome of the study.


Probably the most social thing about video games is the Esport (Electronic Sports) events. Esports has been around since the 70’s. They often started in schools or community centres but they have now escalated to multi-million dollar events In South Korea, they have TV channels dedicated to Esports, especially StarCraft 2. Esports is so popular that there are teams who play for at least 12 hours a day to train. There are also sponsorships. Red Bull are very popular supporters of video games and their “athletes”.



Professor Henry Jenkins from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been investigating the link between games and violence, and he has noted, “there is a decreased rate of juvenile crime which coincides with the popularity of games such as Death Race, Mortal Kombat, Doom and Grand Theft auto.”

The results of his study would suggest that players are able to leave whatever emotional attachment they have with the game.


A study done by researchers at North Carolina State University, York University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Have come to the conclusion that gaming increases player’s social lives. Dr Nick Taylor – the lead author of the paper states “they’re highly sociable people. The methodology conducted for this study had the researchers travel to more than 20 public gaming events based in Canada and the United Kingdom. The size of the events ranged from 20 people meet ups in bars all the way to 2500 people at conventions. As far as sample variety goes, this is an exceptional example because it actually covers people of all backgrounds and passion for video games. The large events do bring in casual gamers but also hardcore ones. For example, Insomniac Gaming Festival is a huge gaming festival in the UK and people travel from abroad to come here. Those people if interviewed would provide extraordinary results because they went through extreme lengths for something they love. The results from bars with 20 people would also provide interesting results because they could be more casual players or they might not have the opportunities to go to these massive events. Most people might not be able to go to conventions, meaning that the results from the bars, could be more relevant because they represent the everyday person.


The “Pro-Social” study referenced above does provide evidence that games can lead to all anti-social behaviour, yet only when those students played the violent games. It is often thought that playing “Too much video game makes “ you “socially isolated” [1], that they never go out and socialise with their friends. There have also been cases of violent games leading to aggressive behaviours and thoughts. These thoughts could translate from the games to the real world. Making for a very uncomfortable time for people around them. This however is not very common.



http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-video-games [1]

The issue with this source is that the information, which it entails, does not cite a source. This means that this could not be a completely trusted source because there was no evidence used to back it up. It could be purely opinion based.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/26/video-games-help-boost-social-memory-cognitive-skills/62537.html [2]

The author of this article is somebody of profession. Rick Nauert PhD has twenty five years experience in the profession. This leads me to believe that this is a trusted source. At the end of the article, the source is cited, however you have to pay a membership in order to read the thesis.

http://www.dana.org/Cerebrum/2009/Video_Games_Affect_the_Brain%E2%80%94for_Better_and_Worse/ [3]

https://news.ncsu.edu/2014/03/wms-taylor-gamelife2014/ [4]

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/violent-video-games-create-aggression-but-they-do-cause-kids-to-commit-081415#1 [5]

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~nscentral/news/2007/mar/vvg.shtml [6]




The Effect of Video Games on the Brain


The Effects of Prosocial Video Games on Prosocial Behaviors: International Evidence from Correlational, Longitudinal, and Experimental Studies


How video gaming can be beneficial for the brain


Surgeon Use


The impact of video games on training surgeons in the 21st century.










  1. It Improves The Cognitive Functions:

According to research conducted by C. Shawn Green, the psychologist of the University of Wisconsin, video games can benefit the teen’s cognitive functions. It changes the brain structure exactly the same way while playing the piano, navigating the map and learning to read. The combination of concentration and the surges of neurotransmitters strengthen the neural circuits that build the brain.


There are aspects that I am not happy with and wish I could go back and do them again. Mainly the sections that I hosted. I believe didn’t look comfortable in these sections which could be distracting for audiences and means they might not absorb what I am telling them. I had to cut a lot of the production out because we had a set duration that our productions could be – mine went over enough as is.

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