Video Games are Evil, and Chess will Rot Your Brain

Video games may be vilified...but so was chess back in its day. What new fad will parents rage against next?
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You might still be able to find a few people in America that would agree that video are evil, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a reasonably intelligent adult declaring a war against the game of chess… unless you travel back in time to 1859. 

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While Clive Thompson was reading a Q&A regarding the upcoming book Bad For You: Exposing the War On Fun, he was surprised to learn that chess was once described as an inferior game without any bodily or mental benefits. 

If you look up the article, “CHESS-PLAYING EXCITEMENT”, which appeared in the July 2, 1859 issue of Scientific American, you’re in for several delightful tidbits regarding how terrible the sport of chess is, and how to keep your children away from it. 

In fact, the article goes so far as to say

“…chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while at the same time it affords no benefit whatever to the body…. A game of chess does not add a single new fact to the mind; it does not excite a single beautiful thought; nor does it serve a single purpose for polishing and improving the nobler faculties.”

We’ve come a long way since then haven’t we?

I can only hope that there is a time in the next few hundred years where researchers will look back at our culture’s fear of video games, and have a good laugh. I already get a good chuckle from it most of the time, but it’d be nice if everyone could understand the humor. 

At the very least, I hope something newer comes along that society can use as a scapegoat – blaming aggressive and violent tendencies on video games is a worn-out trope by now. But wait! Virtual reality could definitely be evil, right?

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