Video games are addictive activities targeted at teenagers, sometimes with tragic results. Games are increasingly violent and offensive, attracting the attention of legislators in many states to protect the exploitation of children by them. Games such as Grand Theft Auto are very violent, sexually explicit, and feature criminal behavior. These games are rated "M 17+" for "Mature," but courts have stricken down laws preventing retailers from selling them to children, under an interpretation that the First Amendment protects offensive video games even for children. Some people argue that violent video games cause violent behavior in some children, but such a link has yet to be conclusively proven. The effects of violent video games on the developing psyche of children and adolescents vary greatly and of course have much to do with the mental stability of the subject in question. Serious crimes have been associated with video games, but nearly all mentions of video games in media coverage of said crimes are added for the sake of sensationalism and are irrelevant. For example, a 14-year-old brutally murdered a video arcade employee one morning and his cousin stands trial for murdering the store manager when he entered the store shortly thereafter. In the USA, all retail games carry ratings from the ESRB, a video game ratings organization.
Video games in the course of their existence have grown from the simple arcade style games, and have become more detailed and separated from one another. Genres can now include first person shooters, racing, simulation, role-playing, sports, action and many others. Even then, games can combine genres, such as Mass Effect (Role Playing and Third Person Shooting), or not fit nicely into any genre, like Katamari Damacy.
Popularity & Controversy
Games have risen in popularity over the years, as is shown in the rise of video games sales from the 1980s until today. This has brought with it a various amount of controversy as the video game industry continues to grow with its original player base.
At least one study has shown that, contrary to the position mentioned above, kids who don't play video games at all seem to show more violent tendencies. Of course, as expected, those who played violent video games for large amounts of time also showed violent tendencies, however the study claims that this is a "risk marker", not an actual cause. 
Multiple studies have shown a correlation between violent video games and levels of real life violence, caused by playing some of the aforementioned video games.
Although nudity is not prominent in western video games, there are various products containing sexually-suggestive material. One reason for the relative lack of explicitly sexual material in western games may be the refusal of Wal-Mart (the leading distributor of video games in the United States) to sell games carrying an "Adults-Only" rating. One notable target of controversy is the Grand Theft Auto series after a third-party mod was released that allowed the player to engage in a mini-game containing explicit sexual material. Mods are, as "third-party" would imply, fan-made and are not the responsibility of the game's developer. Other sources of this criticism relate to the game Tomb Raider as it was one of the first games where a female character (the protagonist) is depicted and advertised as a sex symbol.
Video Games & Society
As video games become more popular, their impact on society becomes ever more present. A prime example of this is the massive ad campaigns for the Halo series, as well as Grand Theft Auto. Advertising, merchandising, and even social pressures have changed in the ever-growing influence of video gaming.
Due to their popularity, various corporations have begun placing advertisements for their products within the context of the game. Second Life, an Internet-based virtual world, has blurred the lines between real-world and virtual world, and companies such as Adidas, Reebok, and Dell have set up virtual stores selling real-world products within the game. Reuters also operates a news bureau reporting news in the game.
Faith in Video Games
Faith in Video Gaming has, as a rule, either led to the creation of new and dynamic antagonists, or video games that are mediocre, such as Spiritual Warfare and Bible Adventure for the Nintendo, or The Bible Game for various systems. Bible Adventure in particular is infamous for it's poor design and playability.
The Bible, or other such religious texts, tell a story spanning many different viewpoints. Turning these ideas into a video game, however, most often leads to games that tend to bore most video game audiences.
Religion has, however, taken a prominent place amongst the various heroes and villains in video games. The Breath of Fire series and the Shin Megami Tensei games, in particular, use a god as a main antagonist in many of its incarnations. Other games to use religion in some way include the Final Fantasy series, Left Behind: Eternal Forces, Black and White, Heaven and Hell, Xenogears, Okami, and the Tales series, particularly Tales of Symphonia. Unfortunately, many (not all) of the aforementioned games present religion (or it's respective church and followers) as evil, fake, or having ulterior and nefarious motives.
Games may include a fictional religion as part of the setting if the use of a real religion may invite undesirable controversy.
Video game reviewers have sometimes unjustly attacked and reviewed games where real-world religion plays a notable role. One of the most prominent examples of this is the game Left Behind: Eternal Forces.
Popular Video games
- Assassins Creed - Taking place, after a fashion, during the Crusades. Play as Altair, and kill leaders from both sides to stop a deadly plot.
- Age of Empires - An RTS in which the player leads an ancient civilization.
- Call of Duty - A series of first person shooters in which a player is either a soldier in World War II or a soldier involved in the War on Terror.
- Civilization - A strategy game in which the player leads a civilization from it's birth, and into the future.
- Donkey Kong - An early platform game in which Mario (then known as "Jumpman") tries to save his girlfriend Pauline from a barrel-flinging ape named Donkey Kong. Both Donkey Kong and Mario went on to star in many other successful video games.
- Final Fantasy - A very popular and long running RPG series in both the United States and Japan. Earlier games were rather child friendly, but the series has become more mature over time.
- Gears of War - Mankind has been annihilated by an underground race of beings.
- Grand Theft Auto - A game series about gangster like characters who perform missions to rise to the top by killing, stealing, and other, sometimes violent, missions.
- Guitar Hero - A game where players play the role of the guitarist in a band. Uses a special controller in the shape of and played similarly to a guitar.
- Half-Life and Half-Life 2 - First Person Shooter series about Gordon Freeman, a luckless scientist turned hero-from-desperation. This game uses one of the leading physics engine in first person shooters, the Source engine.
- Halo - A trilogy of games following a super soldier during a fictional future war.
- Harvest Moon - Farm life simulator, with many sequels spreading from various platforms. Character runs a farm, raises animals, and can eventually marry.
- The Legend of Zelda - A popular series of fantasy action-adventure games.
- Mass Effect - A science fiction RPG for mature players.
- Medal of Honor - A first person shooter series usually taking place in the front lines of World War II.
- Mortal Kombat - Multi-player fighting game which is famous for violence, blood, and gory finishing moves called "fatalities".
- NHL series - A series of Hockey games produced by EA Sports.
- Pac-Man - An old maze game. It was very popular with kids and adults back in the eighties.
- Portal - A popular first person shooter/puzzle game using the same game engine as Half-Life 2 involving inter-dimensional travel through portals in an abandon testing facility. This game is known for its deadpan sense of humor.
- Resident Evil - Survival/horror video game series, revolving around viral zombies and the survivors of the zombie attacks.
- The Sims - A life simulator produced by EA.
- Super Smash Brothers - Series of Nintendo fighting games. It mixes characters from different Nintendo franchises [with some exceptions] in wide environments.
- Soul Calibur - A weapon-based fighting game. Revolves around the tale of two weapons, Soul Edge [Cursed] and Soul Calibur [Blessed], and those who fight for control or destruction of the weapons.
- Street Fighter - One-on-one martial arts fighting game series, where a player selects one of various martial artists and battles other players or against computer-controlled characters.
- Super Mario Bros. - Side-scrolling platform game series by Nintendo. Players play as Mario and Luigi, two Italian plumber brothers, who explore the Mushroom Kingdom in order to rescue Princess Peach from the evil Bowser [called Koopa in Japan]. Possibly the most well known game in the world.
- Tomb Raider - Series of games following the adventures of Lara Croft.
- Pong - the first real video game, resembling 2-d ping-pong.
- Some claim that 2/3rds of videogamers are over 18 years old, but far more people are over that age and a much higher percentage of minors are videogamers.Only a third of videogamers are under 18
- http://wii.qj.net/New-research-reveals-kids-who-don-t-play-videogames-at-all-are-more-at-risk-of-violent-tendencies/pg/49/aid/118505 New research reveals kids who don't play video games at all are more at risk of violent tendencies
- Ashley, Robert. "The Secret History of Videogame Sex." Official Playstation Magazine Feb. 2006: 96-99.