Movies vs. Video Games Unit

Moviesvs. Video Games


Videogames are increasingly growing popular among the youth and childrenand some adults as a media channel. Traditional media includingtelevision, radio, newspaper, and film were viewed as having a wideeffect the youth and society at large. One of the most discussedissue pertains to violence, drugs, sex and language use in films thatseems to promote such behaviors in children who through the sociallearning theory tend to copy such behaviors actors on TV and films.However, with the turn of the 21stcentury came video games. These games can be played on game consolessuch as play station, Xbox and Nintendo among others or online viacomputers. The games allow players to play different roles and in theprocess tell a narrative.

Moviesor Video Games: Which is more influential?

Videogames have grown in popularity and reach today that one would haveexpected a decade ago. Video games are clearly more engaging to theplayers given that the players get to create their own identifies insome games and control the action within the games program. Thisfundamentally differs from movies where the audience takes a passiverole and sits and absorbs content. The audience gets immersed in themind and imagination of the director. On the other hand, video games,are programmed in a manner that allows active participation such asshooting foes, choosing the color and make of car, what to invest inand such. A movie mostly allows the audience to engage itsimagination through suspense as all activities are carefully planned,edited and presented in a manner that the director desired. It cantherefore be deducted that the greatest influence any medium can havevaries with the level of involvement physically or throughimagination. In comparing movies and videos, then it shows definitelythat games have more influence on society than movies. Educators andtrainers have identified games as more influential in shapingsocietal behavior though movies have a bigger reach.


Thestudy by Greitemeyer and Osswald (2010) comprised a series of fourexperiments in which a total sample of 167 students from a GermanUniversity participated. The authors hypothesized that playing apro-social game increases helping behavior among players as opposedto playing a neutral game.

Methodology:The participants were allowed several minutes to play certain gameswith different themes and their behavior observed. In the firstexperiment, 54 participants were exposed to prosocial, neutral andaggressive games for 8 minutes. The prosocial game was Lemmings, theaggressive game was Lamers, and the neutral game was Tetris. Theparticipants were then exposed to different situations to test anybehavioral change and also filled out PANAS questionnaires. Thespecific situation in the first experiment involved the experimenter“accidently” knocking off pencils and wiring five seconds to seewhich participants would seek to collect the pencils. Otherexperiments followed the same methodology (Huesmann &amp Taylor2006).

Results:Results from the first experiment showed 12 out of 18 players whoplayed prosocial video games were more willing to pick pencils whileonly 6 out of 18 who played neutral games were willing to help and afurther 5 out of 18 that played aggressive games were ready to help.


Thearticle does not really address the effect of the changing content ofvideo games on players. While the article mentions the differentlevels of enjoyment that result from various games, the articles doesnot address the key issue of how past experiences in video games andmovies and existing technology helps shape opinion and attitudetowards new videos games and films. For instance the article clearlycompares older movies to new movies and even new games to oldergames. The main issue noted is the graphics and the realism involved.The authors conclude that games are trying too hard to be movies andin the process losing the plot. On the other hand, the numbers tell adifferent story with several games selling more than movies. Thearticle should have answered why games if at all slow in creatingbetter content are performing better and could that be the result ofchanging tastes and preference in the market or simply bettertechnology availing better video game content that competes betterwith movies.

Anotherissue I would have liked to see addressed by the article pertains tothe interaction between one’s genetic makeup and the preference tocertain games. Psychologists and sociologists have shown throughseveral studies that some behavior traits are genetic and hence thesame traits might influence one choice of video games or movie(Huesmann &amp Taylor 2006). The question that would arise then doesone genetics history influence the choice of video games and moviesor it is the movies and video games that have a greater role ininfluencing their behavior (Franich, 2011).


Continuedconsumption of movies and video games cannot be denied but onlyembraced. In the discussion above, what movies and video games aredoing to society is evident and it is also clear that though gamesare accused of imitating movies, the games nature of activelyinvolving players is likely to win over audiences seeking to be moreengaged while movies will seek to appeal to audiences that do notdemand to be actively involved. On matters of influencing society,the fact that it is already concluded that some games are based onmovies and other borrow heavily from movies makes it very hard tocompare the specific impact of one genre or the other.


Greitemeyer,T. &amp Osswald, S. (2010). Effects of prosocial video games onprosocial behavior.

Journalof Personality and Social Psychology,2010, Vol. 98, No. 2, 211–221.

Huesmann,R. &amp Taylor, L. (2006). The role of media violence in violentbehavior. Annu.Rev. Public Health27:393–415

Franich,D. (2011). Videogames vs. Movies: Have games replaced films as themodern popular