Let us take a moment to consider the benefits and positive aspects that contemporary interactive entertainment choices provide. The vast majority of games can be played by a broad range of ages and still manage to be fun and engaging without resorting to foul language or violence.
“Games can definitely be good for the family,” opines the ESRB’s Patricia Vance. “There’s plenty of selection. Often is the time that I think parents feel they’re isn’t because video games in the media are portrayed as violent, and hardcore games tend to get the lion’s share of publicity. But parents also need to be comforted knowing that E for Everyone is by far largest category. Nearly 60 percent of the almost 1,700 ratings we assigned last year were E for Everyone, which means there’s a huge selection of games available that are appropriate for all ages.”
University of Rochester researchers found that children who played video games were quick thinkers and had good hand-eye co-ordination.
Dr Matthew Dye said
“Avid players got faster not only on their game of choice, but on a variety of unrelated laboratory tests of reaction time… gamers don’t lose accuracy in the game or in lab tests as they get faster: this is a result of the gamer’s improved visual cognition.”
Dr Dye said video game fans did well on hand-eye co-ordination tests and comprehension tests.
“Playing video games enhances performance on mental rotation skills, visual and spatial memory, and tasks requiring divided attention.”
The doctor continued that parents and grandparents should, in fact, play their children’s computer games to improve their own memory and brain function and avoid senility.
“Training with video games may serve to reduce gender differences in visual and spatial processing, and thwart some of the cognitive declines that come with ageing,” he said.
Book Me In
British playwright Lucy Prebble agrees:
Playing video games requires so more involvement and creative input than reading a book or watching a film – and also offers more opportunities to be active and sociable.
Video games should be recognised as an art form appreciated for the way they tugged at our emotions and stimulated creativity, Prebble commented.
“The first thing I remember is Zork.
Zork was a text-based computer game, which just meant that from a black screen, sparse white text appeared, telling you where you were, what was happening and then awaiting instruction. “You are standing in an open field,” it began, “west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.”
Then you would type in what you wanted to do. No multiple choice, no avatar, you would type in… anything. It’s difficult to explain the thrill this was to a tiny, book-obsessed child who had recently learned to read; cushion tucked beneath her bottom, eyes reflecting the screen’s glow, Ribena poised dangerously by the keyboard. It was asking me what to do next. It was asking me to join the story.
From this point, my journey was Sega-bound. The Gamesmaster, the Mega Drive. There were those who went the Nintendo route with its lighter colours and squat Mario bouncing. I eschewed them. You were Nintendo or you were Sega and ne’er the twain should go round each other’s house for tea. I can still hear the voiceover from the Mega Drive’s Altered Beast. I can still do an uncanny impression of the sounds Ryu made when he threw a fireball on Street Fighter. So why did I become an avid gamer, while many, in those days at least, did not?
It’s difficult to explain the thrill Zork was to a tiny, book-obsessed child; it was asking me to join the story. I think it’s linked to writing. Like writing, gaming is essentially private and individual (although it really doesn’t have to be). It is creative, in comparison to the passivity of watching a film or reading a book. ”
Educational Benefits for Students
A recent study from the Education Development Centre and the U.S. Congress-supported Ready To Learn (RTL) Initiative found that a curriculum that involved digital media such as video games could improve early literacy skills, especially when coupled with strong parental and teacher involvement. Interestingly, the study focused on young children, and 4- and 5-year-olds who participated showed increases in letter recognition, sounds association with letters, and understanding basic concepts about stories and print.
The key for this study was having high-quality educational titles, along with parents and teachers who were equally invested in the subject matter. That way kids could discuss and examine the concepts that they were exposed to in the games. Also interesting is the value that video games are proven to have even for very young players. A further study by eggheads found that low-income children are “better prepared for success in kindergarten when their preschool teachers incorporate educational video and games from the Ready to Learn Initiative.”
More evidence, perhpas, that it is a lack of support from society to engage in an industry favoured by the young and active.
Older children such as teens and tweens can benefit from gameplay as well. Even traditional games teach kids basic everyday skills, according to Ian Bogost, associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology and founder of software maker Persuasive Games.
“Look at ‘World of Warcraft’: You’ve got 11-year-olds who are learning to delegate responsibility, promote teamwork and steer groups of people toward a common goal.”