Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Video Games

Having just spent a weekend with extended family, I was interested to read Dennis Jerz' post this morning.

My son, who is almost 19 and a really good kid, spent a bunch of time this weekend defending his love of video games. Now, my fmaily isn't really opposed to him playing games because they know him, but they feel video games cause other people lots of problems.

Responding to another post, Dennis says
Diana laments that she can’t get her son to be social, to go shopping, go to a movie, or travel. But he may already be socializing with friends online. He may be shopping online, watching movies online, and exchanging e-mails with people from around the world.

If he knows how to negotiate alliances and trade resources in a virtual environment, he may be developing vital skills that will help him in the global information economy. Diana’s son may be developing leadership skills, mentoring newbies and rejoicing in their accomplishments. He may have have published his own game strategy guide, written fan fiction, or created his own user mods (new content that can be played by owners of existing games).

Dennis makes some great points about the benefits of video games. I think there is more chance for someone to be really creative and involved and to learn something of value playing a video game than there is watching TV, for instance.

I really think a lot of this is a fear of the new. My brother, after talking about video games with my son, acknowledged that by jokingly referring to the fear we heard expressed when we were teens that Rock-and-Roll would destroy the nation. Every generation, it seems, has its "demon". Did Rock-and-Roll ruin us? There are some who would say yes, but for the most part I think we acknowledge that our music didn't destroy us. I don't think vidoe games will, either.

1 comment:

Dennis G. Jerz said...

While Diana herself never returned to continue the conversation, several of my students weighted in. You might be interested in reading what they have to say.