Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Video Games

The more imaginative the better, I'd say. The success of Big Brain Academy and Brain Training round here would suggest that there could be a massive market for more traditionally educational games.

(Not that we don't think that the problem solving involved in most platform games is not incredibly educational! And as for reaction times, I can't find the source but my guess is that it's all true that only 14% of the population could have passed the reaction time test for fighter pilots in the 1940s, when over 40% could nowadays.)

As to video games causing raised levels of aggression, I think if the phenomena does exist, it is only extremely temporary, being merely a product of being sped up and ready for action. It is anyway perfectly subject to will. The same symptoms can be generated in attempting to do any task that requires quick and close attention, such as IQ tests or quick maths problems. It is not confined to games and they should therefore not be demonised.

5 comments:

Alison said...

I've seen so many benefits of video games for my son (nearly 6, has been an avid gamer since he was just 2). One is that he is so used to practising things over and over in games, that he's much calmer about not being able to do (non-game) tasks first time than his older sisters were/are.

I'd worry that playing games in schools would just make the rest of the time seem even more boring by comparison ;-)

Carlotta said...

I agree completely. I think gaming can provide a safe environment for exploring difficult problem solving, for learning that one can improve with practice and that this may serve as a useful paradigm in other areas of life.

And yes...I also agree about the problem for schools!

Leo said...

Alison, what games is your son into?

Alison said...

The last couple of weeks he's been playing lots of Harry Potter 4, Prince of Persia - the Two Thrones, Tony Hawk's Underground (skateboarding) and Shrek 2 on the xbox, and Super Smash Bros and Super Smash Football on the Gamecube. But it varies all the time - they'll play one game endlessly for a week, then not touch it for months. Luckily we have rather a lot to choose from, lol!

Leo said...

Cool. I need to get a console one of these days. *goes beg*