I grew up with the Atari 2600 video game system. It was the cultural phenomenon of 1978, right along with Star Wars (I was a nut for both). To go from the old Pong game system to Space Invaders, Pac Man, Pitfall, and Asteroids seemed like a giant leap for all mankind. I had such fun playing those games, saving up my money to buy another cartridge, and swapping stories and games with my friends. Perhaps I wasted some hours of life along the way, especially in the long days of summer, but all in all, it was good clean fun.
Flash forward 33 summers later. My son just turned 12, and like all boys, loves to play video games on his X-Box. As a matter of fact, right now he is playing a video hockey game with a friend. They just finished playing soccer and wiffle ball outside, so it’s a great way to cool down indoors on this steamy July afternoon.
This is what I love about video games. It can be a very social activity for boys and girls to play in between more active, creative activities. Sometimes, my son and I will play a game when we are wiped out from the other activities of the day, and we just want to chill out and have some fun. We tease each other and laugh a lot, as we play a game that keeps us acting and reacting to each others’ onscreen moves. Mostly, he wins, which makes him feel great, but most importantly, we enjoy the free-spirited competition — the laughs, the taunts, the punches — much more than the game itself.
As with every good thing, there can be too much of it. Here’s one of many articles about the negative effects of too much gaming. Certainly, moderation is paramount with video games. Continue reading “Video Games”