Page 1


jacob lark I’m a regular kid in the 7th grade at Cedar Park Middle School. I enjoy band, football, and speed solving my rubiks cube. I’m also a gamer...that is, I love video games. Call of Duty: Black ops 2 Madden ’12 NCAA Football ’12 Need for Speed

From the Editor If I were honest, I would have to say that video games started taking over my academic life. Because of that, I became interested in video games (not as a gamer), but as a see how video games affect the brain. I set out to uncover the controversy of positive and negative affects of video games. But more than just being a student of the research, I decided to become the experiment. In this issue of Got Game? I will share my own journey of a one month video game fast. Along with the journal of my journey, I will be sharing other findings to try to get to the truth of the affects of video games. I hope you enjoy this journey with me. (:

gAme on...


table of contents mindcraft How do video games affect the brain?

thinking outside the xbox Can kids actually have fun without video games?

designed to be addictive? How do video game makers design the games to be addictive?

my journey My month long journey of no video games

MINDCRAFT... do video games shape the mind? Video games have been known to shape your mind in many ways. They’ve been changing how you talk, walk, eat and sleep. There are many positive results along with negative results.



Logical thinking


Problem solving


Team Work

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Helps with vision/eyesight

Bad language

Decision making

Attention problems

Planning Multitasking

Negative results of playing violent video games Obsessive gamers will eventually create bad habits for their brain. This could lead to aggressive behavior or mood changes They tend to be more anxious than those who don’t Playing can lead to aggressive thoughts and feelings

designed to be addictive

Do the video game makers have a strategy to get us addicted? Taking a lesson from a dead psychologist, it certainly seems like they know exactly what they are doing to get us hooked.

B.F. Skinner was a psychology masters and doctoral student at Harvard in the 1930’s. He experimented with mice to determine animal behavior. He invented the “Skinner box” in which he put mice and observed their behavior. In order to get food pellets, the mice pulled on a lever. They eventually got into a habit of pulling the lever to eat, or get their reward. But Skinner wanted to take the experiment further. He chose to not reward them every time, but only occasionally after they pulled the lever so many times. This caused the mice to continually pull the lever to be rewarded with food. He also then decided to punish the mice with an electric shock if they stopped pulling the lever after so many seconds. All of this led to the mice continually pulling the lever, avoiding pain, and increasing pleasure. Getting you into the Skinner BoxVideo game makers are very familiar with the Skinner box and use the same methods to get us pulling the lever getting pleasure. In other words, they know how to get us hooked. First, video games create virtual food pellets for us to eat. These are rewards for our work. They could be virtual money, points, experience points, tokens, bonus levels, etc… Second, they keep us pressing the lever forever. Like the Skinner Box, they don’t give us rewards every time. If they did, we would probably become bored and stop playing. Instead, they keep us thinking that another reward is coming soon if we just keep playing long enough.

Also, they ease us in by giving us more rewards at the beginning to grab out attention and then the rewards become slower and slower as time goes on, causing us to play more and more to get the rewards. Also, play it or lose it. Like the Skinner Box that punished the mice with an electric shock, some video games punish the user for stopping or not playing for a while. For example in Farmville, the user will lose their crops if they don’t play for a while. Finally, video games get us to call the Skinner Box Home. They provide what we really want in real life, but never really get: Autonomy – which means that we have some say in what we do day to day. Complexity – which means it is challenging mentally. Connection between effort and reward – which means that we are rewarded for our hard work.

thinking outside the xbox

Thinking Outside the Xbox is finding different/creative ways to have fun in a way not involving video games. This means it is possible to think outside the xbox and it can be fun or even more fun than playing xbox. There are many ways to have fun and not play xbox. Personally I like playing outside or hanging with friends. There are many things you can do without video games. I found multiple websites listing all sorts of activities you can do. I as well created a list of 25 things you can do without video games.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Swim Boxing Running Bike Work out Learn Italian Go to a foreign country Read your whole S.S. text book Do your math HW (that was do a week ago) 10. Read all the Harry Potter series in a day 11. Color/draw 12.Paint your room 13. Paint the fence 14. Start a new fashion trend 15. Produce your new fashion trend 16. Learn how to cube 17. Learn How to cube FASTER 18. Learn how to cube FASTEST 19. Do something stupid 20. Blame your friend saying he broke my arm 21. Dig a bottomless hole and jump in it 22. Explore the woods 23. Get attacked by a bear in the woods 24. Live in the hospital for six months because of the bear 25. DONT PLAY VIDEO GAMES!!!!!!!



1 ay  

March 10,  2013

It’s my  first  day  of  no  video  games  and  

it has  been  very  difficult  but  i  have  found   ways  to  entertain  myself.    On  the  way  to  my   grandparent’s  house,  I  realized  how  much  I   missed  video  games.  I  wished  I  could’ve  play   minecraft.    Fortunately  I  brought  my  rubiks   cube.        This  may  be  a  long  30  days  so  I’ll   write  every  other  day  to  fill  the  time.


3 ay  

March 12,  2013

I’ve been  practicing  band  every  day  and  

it has  been  pretty  fun  but  I  have  been   wishing  to  play  video  games  more  often.    I’m   realizing  how  often  I  play  video  games  way  to   much.    I  am  looking  forward  to  see  how  my   “need”  for  video  games  has  slowed  down  from   this  experiment.    


5 ay  

March 14,  2013

I’m leaving  my  grandparents  house  today  

and I  had  a  great  time  with  them.    We   recently  purchased  a  new  computer  and  I   want  to  play  video  games  on  the  HUGE   screen  so  badly!!!  But  I  will  stay  strong  and   complete  this  experiment  without  playing  any   video  games.


7 ay  

March 16,  2013

The new  computer  is  soooo  cool  and  I  am  

very tempted  to  play  video  games.    I’ve  been   finding  other  interest    such  as  FaceBook  or   texting  (which  isn’t  as  productive  homework   or  band  but  no  one  said  it  wasn’t  allowed).     Spring  break  is  coming  to  an  end  and  school   is  coming  up.    I  am  starting  to  getting  used  to     the  no  video  policy  but  I  still  miss  them.    I  hope   school  starts  on  a  good  note  and  I’m  looking   forward  to  other  quest  presentations.


9 ay    

March 18,  2013

School has  finally  started  which  is  good  

because I  get  bored  fast.    I  saw  Hannah  and   Matthew’s  presentation  and  they  both  did   really  good,  so  now  I’m  worried    about  mine.    I   hope  I  do  well.    I  can’t  wait  for  my  presentation   for  two  reasons:  first,  I  want  to  get  it  over   with;;  second,  I  want  to  play  XBOX.  

Instead of  playing  games,  I  have  been  

going to  youtube  and  watching  tons  of   minecraft  videos.    This  hasn’t  been  the  best   thing  for  me  so  I  have  added  in  the  rules   that  I  can’t  watch  games  anymore.  


1 1 ay  

March 20,  2013

I have  stopped  watching  minecraft  

games and  wanted  to  focus  more  on  the  idea   of  having  a  good  balance  of  games.    Just  like   eating  balance  or  musical  balance  every  thing   is  going  to  have  a  balance,  whether  you   realize  it  or  not.    If  your  body  has  too  much   carbs  and  too  little  protein  its  not  going  to    function  well  so  you  will  need  a  balance,  For   example,  if  you  have  too  little  problem  solving   games  and  more  violent  games,  you  will  be   acting  violent  more  than  usual.    It’s  just   common  sense!  


3 1 ay  

March 22,  2013

Many games  are  supposed  to  be  

addictive.  In  fact  that  is  there  goal;;  to  get   you  obsessed  with  it.    Like  I  said  before  you   have  to  have  a  balance  so  try  to  do  it  30min.   a  day.  

I have  made  a  great  pie  chart  to  show  a  

good balance.  

Problem Solving  Games



Building Games Violent  Games Educational  Games

15% 20%


5 1 ay  

March 24,  2013

The days  are  going  by  quickly  and  I’m  

starting to  realize  how  easy  it  is  to  go  without   video  games.    It  might  be  easy  but  there  are   challenges  such  as  a  friend  asking  me  to  play   minecraft  or  friends  talking  to  me  about  Call   of  Duty.    Angry  Birds  is  a  finger  tip  away   and  I  can’t  wait  till  April  10.    That  being  said  I want  you  to  try  this  challenge  as  well.    This   will  establish  good  habits  for  video  games.     And  potentially  bring  up  grades.        


7 1 ay  

March 26,  2013

I can  already  tell  an  improvement  in  my  

academic life  such  as  grades  and  band.    All   this  time  I  have  been  tricking  myself  into   doing  homework  and  band.    I  have  time  to  do   all  of  my  homework  and  I  have  been  practicing   band  more  than  usual  which  I  guess  is  a  great   thing  because  we  are  having  UIL.    Mr.  San       Luis  has  been  wanting  us  to  practice  more  so   I  guess  this  was  a  great  way  to  improve  on  my   writing,  reading  and  other  subjects  such  as   band  or  social  studies.      


9 1 ay  

March 28,  2013

We ended  up  doing  really  well  during  UIL  

and Mr.  San  Luis  is  very  proud  of  us.    I  think   I  did  a  lot  better  than  I  would’ve  if  I  had  the   distraction  of  video  games  with  me.    I  really   want  to  play  video  games  but  I  know  that  it  is   better  for  me  to  not  play.    I  have  been  very   addicted  with  cubing  lately  but  I  guess  its   helping  me  keep  my  mind  off  of  video  games.


1 2 y a  

March 30,  2013

I decided  to  keep  my  mind  off  of  video  

games by  cubing  obsessively.    For  example  I   watch  all  sorts  of  youtube  videos  about   cubing.    I’m  asking  friends  like  me  to  come   and  cube  with  me.    I  am  learning  all  sorts  of   techniques  to  improve  my  time.    And  I  guess  it   has  been  improving  my  time.    I  guess  I’m  dorky       in  that  sort  of  way.    But  nerdyness  pays  off   in  the  long  run.  


3 2 y a  

April 1,  2013

Today was  the  STAAR  test  and  it  

was the  most  painful  thing  of  my  life.    Its   feels  like  that  type  of  weather  were  you  feel   like  you  want  to  get  in  PJ’s  and  play  video   games  until  you  fall  asleep.  BUT  NOOOOOO!!!! I  of  corse  can’t  and  I  just  have  to  cry  myself   to  sleep  because  I  can’t  play  video  games.    I   thought  of  the  most  genius  idea  ever  and   soon  it  will  haunt  me  in  my  dreams.  :  (


5 2 y a  

April3, 2013

Another miserable  day  like  monday  but  

it wasn’t  as  bad  because  writing  is  my   specialty  unlike  math.    Unlike  monday  it   doesn't    feel  like  a  time  to  game  but  it  feels   like  a  time  to  cube.    Which  I’m  grounded  so  I   have  no  intention  in  life.    I  guess  home  work   can’t  hurt.     But  it  does  work  the  brain.    I  love  how  quest is  not  necessarily  optional  but  you  can  do  it   when  you  want.    


7 2 y a  

April 5,  2013

STAAR testing  is  over  for  a  while  and  

it feels  so  great  to  finish.    I  am  close  to   finishing  my  project.    I  really  need  to  practice   more  on  how  I’m  going  to  present.    I  have  seen   good  and  bad  presentations  and  I’m  sure  the   good  ones  practice.          


9 2 y a  

April 7,  2013

I am  really  BORED.    I  can’t  wait  for  this  

video game  thing  to  be    totally  DONE!  I  was   thinking,  if  I  want  it  to  be  a  full  month  I’m  going   to  have  to  wait  until  the  11th.    This  ruins  my   life!!!!!!  I  mean  when  you’re  told  to  run  30  miles   and  you  will  get  a  lollipop  but  then  you  have  to   do  one  more  to  get  a  lollipop  that  just ANGERS  ME!!    I  guess  I  should  have   thought  this  through.


1 3 y a  

April 9,  2013

This will  be  my  last  journal  entry  so  I’ll  

make it  the  BEST!!!    I  can’t  wait  till  tomorrow. And  I  am  REALLY  nervous.    I  hope  I  do  all   right.    I  know  what  to  expect  and  I  hope  I  do   pretty  good.            

video game ezine  

got game????