Final Draft – For the Love of the Game: Advocating for the Benefits of Video Games for Kids

19 Oct

“Fully 97% of teens ages 12-17 play computer, web, portable or console games”, this is a statistic found by Pew Internet & American Life Project researchers. Many statistics like this have been brought up to prove whether or not video games are good for kids and teenagers. Many parents are afraid of how video games will negatively impact their children because of how poorlythe media portrays it. There are many benefits to video games that people ignore because of the few bad stories they see on the news or read in the paper.  In actuality, Video games open up a whole technological world that appeals to young people, and invokes many fantastic qualities within them. These qualities are great life-long advantages to have, some of these being: imaginative and artistic creativity, social interaction, logical and ethical thinking skills, and even health benefits.

Throughout my middle school and high school years, I have personally found that the greatest artists I knew were big fans of video games. Many adolescents find inspiration to draw based on the characters in video games. In the New York Times article “Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?” People argue whether or not video games are a form of art. Jason Rohrer, who was at this meeting, quoted Robert Ebert by saying, “Ebert said video games can’t be art”. The gaming community took this statement as a challenge to prove him wrong. If one considers drawing. graphic design, and literature art, then video games must be included too since they use all three of those forms. Rohrer (who is in favor of video games as an art form) states, “A realization is dawning that games can be much more that what they are now… They even have the potential to be meaningful in deep, fundamental ways”. Not only are the graphics and stories of a game art in itself, but they also invoke art in its players.  If one goes to just about any fan-based video game website, they are very likely to find a whole sections dedicated to fan art. These kids love the games enough that it has brought out a new talent within them. Here are some examples of fan artwork posted on the internet:

This piece of artwork is based on the video game Mass Effect 2. The artisi is unknown. http://www.1up.com/boards/posts/list/1350/47132.page

 This second piece is based on the Legend of Zelda video game series. The artist’s name is unknown.  http://www.gamespot.com/wii/adventure/legendofzeldaootn64/view_image.html?id=bYMN4Bwm7hqV7RDl

Drawing is not the only form of creative abilities that are emerged because of videogame. Kids are even inspired to play instruments with many virtual music games these days. In The New York Times’ page ”Part II: Answers to Questions About Video Games and Learning”, a commenter by the username “Waldorf Teacher” argues that: ”Video games cause children to believe they can actually do things they cannot. Guitar Hero is a perfect example. Put a real guitar in the hands of a child who has mastered that game and he is helpless. We as a society have estranged ourselves from the very things that created our success to begin with. I am referring to real-life experiences that promote proactive thinking.” I do not agree with this statement at all. He is not giving kids today the intellectual credibility that they deserve. It is fair to say that kids and teenagers know that there is a difference between a piece of plastic with colored buttons and an actual guitar with strings. I agree with James Paul Gee (who is considered an expert in his knowledge of video games) when he responds to this statement by writing, “Most players — like most book readers — know they cannot do all they have experienced in the game or book. A game like Guitar Hero is not about learning to play the guitar, but it often has the effect of motivating kids to want to learn to play a musical instrument”. Not only are adolescents motivated to play music, but they are also influenced to write. Once a player beats the game they may want to continue the story past the main storyline, so what many fans do is write stories. The games help them with the setting and characters, and the fans make up the plots on their own. This is a great start for one who wants to get into creative or narrative writing. These writers then share their stories with fellow gamers on the internet.

As one can tell, games have a special way for people together. Whether it be families playing the Nentendo Wii in their living room, or it be kids playing with other kids across the seas using Xbox Live. Many people hate video games for their kids, because they say that the games are making them anti-social. In reality many gamers only play online games. Games like the Halo and Call of Duty series are massively played on online gaming venues. With these you can either web chat or physically talk to friends with a headset. This type of gaming also teaches kids and teenagers how to work with others strategically during Co-op mode. There are also many family oriented games that can bring a child and a parent together in a fun setting for everyone. These games are not only for kids, but for people of all ages. I worked at an assisted living facility for the elderly, and almost every night at 6 pm the residents would get together to play Wii Bowling. This shows that no matter how old a person is, they can get together with friends and play a fun video game. Social interaction is just another on of the perks kids acquire from video games.

More real-life traits that are exercised through video games are logical and ethical thinking. Many games that kids play are puzzle based games. Games like Nintendo DS’s Professor Layton and the Curious village and Brain Age are two popular games where the player must complete mind challenging puzzles and problems. Some of these even improve school skills by presenting the kids with math problems to practice.  Video games are even being integrated into the school room. The New York Times featured a magazine called “Learning by Playing: Can Video Games Transform Schooling?” by Sara Corbett. In her writings, Corbett found that a middles school was teaching their kids by having them play and design video games. This school is named Quest to Learn , and it is located in New York. Corbett says, ”Quest to Learn is organized specifically around the idea that digital games are central to the lives of today’s children and also increasingly, as their speed and capability grow, powerful tools for intellectual exploration” (56). This can be a fun learning experience for kids and teenagers. So, if kids and adolescents love video games that help them learn, then why not integrate them into the classroom?

The picture above is from Corbett’s article. It shows three students of Quest to Learn. Each of these students look to be having their own unique learning experience from the same game.

Not only do games these days contain various degrees of logic, but they also show paths of ethical decision making. Many RPG’s (Role-Playing Games) now focus on the player and revolve around the choices they want to make. Games like the Mass Effect series, Dragon Age: Origins, and the Fable series are very decision based games. The outcome of the game can completely change depending on the moral choices the player chooses. Though most of these games may be set in an alternate world they bring tough decisions to kids and teenagers. Though the world is just virtual, what one decides to do within it can show a lot about their actual character. This is the ideal way for an adolescent to practice making difficult decisions, because today’s video games show reasonable consequences for strong actions that the player must decide to take. It is also great practice for kids since their decision only effects their virtual world, not their real one. James Paul Gee says that, ”Different types of games are good for different things. Good designs have to know how to match the content to be taught with the right problems, decisions, actions and game mechanics to make a good game for learning.” This shows how each video game suites a different type of learning, whether it be anywhere from mathematical or ethical.

Another big issue parents have with video games, is that they believe that they are physically and mentally unhealthy for their kids. Now yes, if all a kid was doing all day was sitting alone in a basement while eating a bag of chips, I would consider that unhealthy too. That is the picture many people get in their heads when they think of their children playing video games, but it is extremely unrealistic. Game consoles have been greatly improved in recent years to include physical activity. Nintendo Wii was one of the first major consoles to take a stab at motion sensory controls. Nintendo also came out with games like Wii Fit, which are focused on keeping people in shape while having a good time. (insert facts on people’s actual results using this game). Not only can video games help keep kids active in an enjoyable setting, but they can also be a great stress reliever. Everyone has a hobby that can help them relax some being: reading, music, biking, and yes video games. The adolescent years can be a very stressful time in a person’s life, and a great way to step back from that stress is to jump into a virtual world. Many critics call this a form of escapism, which in some ways it is. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Escapism is, “The tendency to seek, or the practice of seeking, distraction from what normally has to be endured”. Escapism is not a terrible thing. As long as the child is not losing focus on their real life  all together, then why not let them relax for a little bit in a world they can control?

Technology has adapted throughout time to create the best possible experience for gamers, and developers will continue to create video games that challenge kids to turn their virtual skills into life skills. The bad representation that video games receives by many media can overwhelm parents with the difficult choice; do I make my kid happy and allow them play their games, or do I not, because I think it is for their best interest?

Works Cited:

“Escapism.” Oxford English Dictionary. Second Edition. 1989

Corbett, Sara. “Learning by Playing” The New York Times Magazine.19 September 2010.

Bearman , Joshuah. “Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?” The New York Times. 13 November 2009. The New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/magazine/15videogames-t.html?_r=2&scp=9&sq=videogames&st=cse

“Part II: Answers to Questions About Video Games and Learning”. The New York Times. 21 September 2010. The New York Times. http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/part-ii-answers-to-questions-about-video-games-and-learning/?scp=2&sq=attention%20span%20video%20games&st=cse

Lenhart, Amanda, Joseph Kahne, Ellen Middaugh, Alexandra Rankin Macgill, Chris Evans, and Jessica Vitak. Teens, Video Games, and Civics. Pew Internet and American Life Project. 16 September 2008. http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/pdf/PIP_Teens_Games_and_Civics_Report_FINAL.pdf?tag=contentMain;contentBody

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#1 Revisal – For the Love of the Game: Advocating for the Benefits of Video Games for Kids

17 Oct

“Fully 97% of teens ages 12-17 play computer, web, portable or console games”, this is a statistic found by Pew Internet & American Life Project researchers. Many statistics like this have been brought up to prove whether or not video games are good for kids and teenagers. Many parents are afraid of how video games will negatively impact their children because of how poorly groups like the New York Times and many other people portray it. There is no denying that kids and adolesents love video games, and there are good reasons for it too. There are many benefits to video games that people ignore because of the few bad stories they see on the news or read in the paper. I completely disagree with people who say that kids and teens should not be playing video games. Video games open up a whole technological world that apperals to young people, and it envokes many fantastic qualities within them. These qualities are great life-long advantages to have, some of these being: imaginative and artistic creativity, social interaction, logical and ethical thinking skills, and even health benefits.

Throughout my middle school and high school years, I have personally found that the greatest artists I knew were big fans of video games. Many adolesents find inspiration to draw based on the characters in video games. In the New York Times article “Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?” People argue whether or not video games are a form of art. Jason Rohrer (who is in favor of video games as an art form) states, “A realization is dawning that games can be much more that what they are now… They even have the potential to be meaninful in deep, fundamental ways”. Not only are the graphics and stories of a game art in itself, but they also envoke art in its players.  If one goes to just about any fan-based video game website, they are very likely to find a whole sections dedicated to fan art. These kids love the games enough that it has brought out a new talent within them. Here are some examples of fan artwork posted on the internet:

The first piece of artwork is based on the video game Mass Effect 2. The second piece is based on the Legend of Zelda video game series. The artists’ names are not certain since they are from fan-sites, many artists only post them under their user name.

Drawings and graphic designs are not the only form of creative abilities that are emerged because of videogame. Writing also comes into play for young gamers. Once a player beats the game they may want to continue the story past the main storyline, so what many fans do is write stories. The games help them with the setting and characters, and the fans make up the plots on their own. This is a great start for one who wants to get into creative or narritive writting. These writers then share their stories with fellow gamers on the internet.

Continue reading

the zoo and other pictures I took today

12 Oct

My REAL Final Draft- Here Ye Here Ye Freshman: A Textual Analysis of the Article “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend”

12 Oct

click here for the essay: textual analysis

For the Love of the Game: Advocating for the Benefits of Video Games for Kids

11 Oct

“Fully 97% of teens ages 12-17 play computer, web, portable or console games”, this is a statistic found by Pew Internet & American Life Project researchers. Many statistics like this have been brought up to prove whether or not video games are good for kids and teenagers. Many parents are afraid of how video games will negatively impact their children because of how poorly groups like the New York Times and many other people portray it. There is no denying that kids and adolesents love video games, and there are good reasons for it too. There are many benefits to video games that people ignore because of the few bad stories they see on the news or read in the paper. I completely disagree with people who say that kids and teens should not be playing video games. Video games open up a whole technological world that apperals to young people, and it envokes many fantastic qualities within them. These qualities are great life-long advantages to have, some of these being: imaginative and artistic creativity, social interaction, logical and ethical thinking skills, and even health benefits.

Throughout my middle school and high school years, I have personally found that the greatest artists I knew were big fans of video games. Many adolesents find inspiration to draw based on the characters in video games. In the New York Times article “Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?” People argue whether or not video games are a form of art. Jason Rohrer (who is in favor of video games as an art form) states, “A realization is dawning that games can be much more that what they are now… They even have the potential to be meaninful in deep, fundamental ways”. Not only are the graphics and stories of a game art in itself, but they also envoke art in its players.  If one goes to just about any fan-based video game website, they are very likely to find a whole sections dedicated to fan art. These kids love the games enough that it has brought out a new talent within them. Here are some examples of fan artwork posted on the internet:

The first piece of artwork is based on the video game Mass Effect 2. The second piece is based on the Legend of Zelda video game series. The artists’ names are not certain since they are from fan-sites, many artists only post them under their user name.

Drawings and graphic designs are not the only from of creative abilities that are emerged because of videogame. Writing also comes in to play for young gamers. Once a player beats the game they may want to continue the story past the main storyline. So what many fans do is write stories. The games help them with the setting and characters, and the fans make up the plots on their own. This is a great start for one who wants to get into creative or narritive writting. These writers then share their stories with fellow gamers on the internet.

Continue reading

My Advocacy Proposal

6 Oct

Ever since I was little I always loved playing video games.  Throughout the years, I have seen video games evolve drastically through graphics and concepts. Many people believe that video games are bad for kids, but I completely disagree with them. I would like to urge people to understand that video games are not just violence and gore. I want to advocate that games can help kids and teenagers become more creative and logical thinkers.

Many people would also say that video games make for unhealthy kids and teens. What these critics do not understand is that there are some health benefits to playing video games. For many kids and teens, video games are a form of stress relief. Companies like Nintendo and Sony have invented physically active gaming systems, which require the player to stay active.

There are many great qualities about playing video games that many people overlook. My goal is to bring these benefits of gaming back out into the open, so that people will realize that they are not a bad hobby.

My Final Draft- Here Ye Here Ye Freshman: A Textual Analysis of the Article “Ditch Your Laptop, Dump Your Boyfriend”

5 Oct

click on this link to veiw: textual analysis