LANGUAGE ANALYSIS SAMPLE: Books vs computer games
In a world where gaming consoles have become standard household items, there is much debate concerning the value of computer games versus the more conventional form of literary entertainment: books. Steven Johnson writes for the ‘The Times’, putting forth the view that computer games are a valid and valuable form of entertainment which increases problem solving skills while Boris Johnson, in an article posted on his own website, blames video games for a drop in reading standards. Steven Johnson’s convincing article ‘Making our Brains Sharper’, published in ‘The Times’, aims to highlight the value of other ‘non-literary popular culture’ in ‘honing different mental skills that are just as important as the ones exercised by reading books.’ Johnson begins his piece with a sarcastic jab at what he calls ‘conventional wisdom’; the idea that ‘reading books enriches the mind; playing video games deadens it’. He prepares readers to question these widely accepted views while highlighting the idea that these views are old and, consequently, likely to be outdated. In order to ensure that his views are not considered radical, Johnson also acknowledges the ‘virtues of reading books’ which reassures the reader that Johnson is reasonable in his views and is likely to follow with a logical and reasoned argument. In support of the idea that video games are the ‘most powerful example’ of popular media which improves thinking skills, Johnson explains that the games are not simply about pleasure; that the player actually spends significant time ‘not having fun’ because games are ‘fiendishly, sometimes maddeningly, hard.’ In doing this, Johnson challenges the common beliefs held by those who place video games on the ‘list of the debased instant gratifications’ and encourages readers to focus instead on the ‘delayed gratification’ often inherent in these games, as well as the problem solving required. Further supporting this idea is...
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