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Gaming: Convincing The Old

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    Gaming: Convincing The Old

    a.k.a. Video Games Aren't Waste Of Time

    During one of the calls from my grandma she clearly stated that "I shouldn't play games all the time and read a book".

    It's not like I haven't finished reading several pretty fat volumes about feudal Japan recently, for the note.

    Now I realized, during watching a random video on "How Gamers Are Depicted In TV", such a subject is actually a pretty bad one. I am not sure how culturally different your own countries are, but now I'd love to poke up a fair discussion on how to present games as valuable experiences that are not worse than books (and sometimes, quite more different). It is not rare in TV media to show that gamers are bad, embodying the false stereotypes that "he killed parents cause he played brutal video games" or "games make you dumb" - but like in the aforementioned YT video a fair point was pointed out: new generation media (such as main cultprit - the video games) taking away the popularity of more 'classic' television.

    First of the steps, I believe would be showing the game, explaining it, and showing the different mechanics, options, its universe and stories. However, using my own experience from perception of news and politics (after all, I finished degree in Political Studies) people do like to think in a binary good-bad code. They love to simplify things that are overly complex.

    How would you fare with such a problem?

    P.S. I do agree however we are at the point of trying to cleanse history from the major points and actual facts, pulling a lot of outright fake crap and outrageous stuff that should not be in there. (Yes, I am looking at you, Battlefield V.)
  • #2

    I definitely agree that this is a problem, but to be honest, I think it's on its way out. Silly mobile games broke the back of the tendency for adults to completely dismiss gaming as a platform (after all, I know more 40+ mums who love Candy Crush than I do teens who play it!), the concept of educational games has become fairly widespread - to the point that I don't think most people would bat an eyelash to see such games played in schools, and games are becoming appreciated as more of an art form - particularly with the rise of indie games that focus on the concept of the experience rather than the entertainment.

    That being said, there will always be those who dismiss gaming as a medium. Sadly, I feel that's just an element of the standard generational gap. We had it with the backlash against comic books, against kids 'glued' to the TV, against video games. Frankly, I think we're beyond attacking video games now and it's becoming about attacking mobile phones. I promise it'll rear its head again against whatever the next big entertainment platform is. Who knows, it might be us as oldies who are doing the complaining!

    Comment

    • #3

      This is a topic I definitely want to weigh in on.

      To me, video games are pastimes. They're a form of Solitaire. Yes, Solitaire - that game you play with yourself with a deck of cards. Video games have leaped way ahead in graphics, tricks, controls, different kinds of challenges, and in all sorts of different genres, but they are still, in the end, only a form of Solitaire.

      Now this is where video games become the real stickler for me.

      A game of Solitaire can be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes. Modern video games? One can spend hours playing them.

      Hours. Also, since most video games are only advanced forms of Solitaire, they are played alone. This precludes any kind of social interaction. I won't go as far as to say that some people become so involved in their video game worlds that they become unable to tell the difference between what goes on in the game and reality, but I will say that it stands to reason that this kind of absorption into something that precludes interaction with other people in the real world is harmful. So much so, that young people can very easily have their potential for interactive skills, severely stunted.

      That is harmful.

      Moreover, young people's grades in school can be severely effected. I know there is video after video on YouTube about parents destroying their kids' game systems. In almost every instance, it happens because the child has fallen very far behind in school, or has refused to do chores around the house. And it is all because they refuse to get up from their video games for long enough to do what they're supposed to.

      My view on video games in short:
      • They are empty pursuits
      • They can be addictive
      • When a person becomes addicted to them, other areas in their lives suffer


      There is absolutely nothing wrong with someone sitting down and playing a video game for a little while. They're a great way to unwind. I believe the contention here though is, are when people, especially young people, allow themselves to become addicted to them. The argument here is, that this is something that happens all too frequently.

      But then, there are video games that are designed to suck people in and addict them. And all for the almighty dollar. World of Warcraft is a perfect example (among many examples). It is a game where young people (and sometimes older people too) become drawn into this whole online scenario, wherein they build up characters, gain powers and strive to complete one quest after another. And all for the easy subscription fee of so many dollars per month. Developers strive to make these games as addictive as they can. They have research panelists who do nothing but keep fingers on the pulse of what their customers want - and so they can keep giving it to them, and so they will stay addicted to the game for as long as possible.

      I have never played any of these online games. Well, for one, because I most usually access the web with a cellular connection. There's usually too much lag for the streaming bandwidth that most of these games require. But secondly, and most of all, I find these kinds of games distasteful. I see them for what they are. They are designed specifically to make their companies money. And because of the effects they have on the lives of those who become addicted, in my view, that makes them no better than tobacco companies or drugs. If anything, it makes them just as bad, if not worse.

      I grew up in the television era. When I was a kid, if you wanted visual entertainment, the TV was the only thing one had. But back then, a lot of programming was wholesome and/or fun. Leave it to Beaver, Bugs Bunny, The Pink Panther, Andy Griffith, Gomer Pyle, the Laugh-In Show, Carol Burnett and on and on. All good shows, many of which did their best to give their audiences, especially if their targeted audiences were kids, wholesome entertainment, and often with some kind of positive message about life, too. TV later became 'Bad' and a topic of negative interest, when TV producers started producing shows that were... to not put too fine a point on it, stupid. But even still, a TV show was a TV show. A kid sat and watched it and then it was over. The kid got up and did something else.

      Such as run through the neighborhood barefoot with model airplane in hand? That was how I grew up. Now a days, you hear parents complaining about how hard it is to get their kids to do anything. "Yeah, all he wants to do is sit in his room and play video games all day." When I was growing up, it was all parents could do to get their kids to be indoors in time for dinner or for bed!

      I don't care how you slice it. (Hehe, no pun to you, Slice.) Our societies have entered an era of laziness and lack of collective production. Our kids are doing poorly in school. Our economies are faltering. I'm not going to say that all of this can be laid at the feet of video games, but I guarantee you a lot of it can. The pattern of downward decline of kids in our societies can be perfectly correlated with the advancement of video game technology.

      Now, as to smartphones, don't even get me started. I won't be griping about games on them, however. What I will gripe about and loudly, is the distraction they cause when someone is using one when behind the wheel.

      And take it from me, a professional driver. I see it every single day. Some dimwit going down the highway, his or her smartphone in hand, he or she barely able to maintain their lane because they have too much attention for the phone.

      Now a couple of quotes that I think make these points most eloquently:

      Albert Einstein said:

      "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

      Jason Silva went on to write:

      "Technology is, of course, a double-edged sword. Fire can cook our food but can also burn us."

      Scary, huh?
      Rick Canaan's Signature
      A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

      Comment

      • #4

        Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
        But then, there are video games that are designed to suck people in and addict them. And all for the almighty dollar. World of Warcraft is a perfect example (among many examples). It is a game where young people (and sometimes older people too) become drawn into this whole online scenario, wherein they build up characters, gain powers and strive to complete one quest after another. And all for the easy subscription fee of so many dollars per month. Developers strive to make these games as addictive as they can. They have research panelists who do nothing but keep fingers on the pulse of what their customers want - and so they can keep giving it to them, and so they will stay addicted to the game for as long as possible.
        While I see your point, Rick, there are a few things I want to add to it. First of all, The MMO market has pretty much whittled itself down to a handful of player. World of Warcraft is still the biggest of these.. They seem to be the only two games that can get away with charging a monthly subscription. Pretty much every other one has gone Free To Play. This tells me that people are willing to pay that fee. They are getting something out of it. I have friends that do the podcast with me who play World of Warcraft as a family activity. Then there's the fact that those games are social by nature. Raids are designed to be done in a group, and you can't win them on your own. Because of how fast things tend to move, you can't be effective with just the text chat, you have to use voice to do it. That breeds teamwork and sets the spark for building more serious relationships. There are countless stories online of people having met their spouse inside of an online game.

        I think the worse culprits are the games that use mechanics that border on gambling to addict people. Loot boxes, collect-em-all (Gacha) mechanics, carrot-dangling, and many other techniques get used often. There are tons of these in mobile games, and they've been creeping into retail games as well. It's kind of disgusting.

        Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
        Such as run through the neighborhood barefoot with model airplane in hand? That was how I grew up. Now a days, you hear parents complaining about how hard it is to get their kids to do anything. "Yeah, all he wants to do is sit in his room and play video games all day." When I was growing up, it was all parents could do to get their kids to be indoors in time for dinner or for bed!
        Kids don't go out much today because there is a societal proclivity to isolationism right now. This has been going on since the early 90's and the whole "Stranger Danger." campaign. Then 9/11 happened and the paranoia ratcheted up even further. There are cities in the US where it is actually illegal for kids to roam around the neighborhood on their own. So what are kids going to do? Well, play games. Sure it would be better if they read books or comics or the like, but that's where we are.

        Anything that is done to excess can be bad for you. Gaming is no exception. The World Health Organization has recently added video games to the list of addictions, which I totally agree with. If someone has gotten them addicted to games, then they should be able to get help. As a gamer, I can't deny that these things can be and often are made specifically to be addicting. Now the gaming community at large needs to decide what to do.

        With all of this negativity associated with gaming, it's easy to understand why people wouldn't see them as anything positive. On the other hand, you've got Overwatch becoming a team sport with a league that recently formed. Starcraft, FIFA Soccer, and many fighting games have major tournaments now. Hell, you've got people who have earned their racing license playing Gran Turismo Sport. There's bad, and there's good in games. We all play them, but it's fair to know there are both downsides and upsides.



        Daryn's Signature



        “Just when you think humanity has found the limits of stupid, they go and ratchet up the standard by another notch.” - Bob

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        • #5

          You raise some very interesting points there, Rick. I think they're worth going through and unpacking a little (and don't worry - some of them I completely agree with you on! )

          Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
          A game of Solitaire can be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes. Modern video games? One can spend hours playing them.

          Hours. Also, since most video games are only advanced forms of Solitaire, they are played alone. This precludes any kind of social interaction.
          A very fair point. Although can the same not be said of binge-watching Netflix shows, or even reading a book?

          Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
          young people can very easily have their potential for interactive skills, severely stunted.
          Fully agree there. I don't think it's video games as much as entertainment technology more generally that is to blame here. Kids on smartphones or plonked in front of the tv as a sort of cheap babysitter. This isn't the fault of those technologies, but it is certainly a flaw in how we use them as a society. Kids need to be encouraged to be sociable and to play outside. Studies in Finland show that it affects so many aspects of human development, directly improving school results - playing outside as a youngster improves a child's handwriting as they grow up! It's all about how they pick up balancing skills and fine motor manipulation.

          Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
          I know there is video after video on YouTube about parents destroying their kids' game systems. In almost every instance, it happens because the child has fallen very far behind in school, or has refused to do chores around the house
          I've seen videos like this. Sometimes I do sympathise with the parent. Although we also need to look at it another way - if it has got to the stage that destroying the console is the only path these parents can see, and furthermore doing it in a very public way to humiliate their child, I wonder if that shows a severe lack of communication between parent and child. One would hope that removing the console and agreeing upon conditions under which it would be returned could at least partly address the problem, and do so in a way that causes less resentment between child and adult.

          Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
          But then, there are video games that are designed to suck people in and addict them. And all for the almighty dollar.
          Oh, I'm with you there. I try to avoid such games myself. When you really look into the psychology of it, it can get quite twisted and nasty. The guy who made Farmville boasted about a technique to intentionally make the game more annoying to play, but then allow players to pay for ways to make it less annoying - he said it was intentional that you had to click on each square in a field individually to harvest a crop, because then the player could pay for a combine harvester which allowed them to click on three squares at a time, and they'd feel like they had advanced, even though the designers could have given players that option right from the start.

          I like South Park's explanation of it:



          Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
          All good shows, many of which did their best to give their audiences, especially if their targeted audiences were kids, wholesome entertainment, and often with some kind of positive message about life, too.
          I think that's fair, yes. I absolutely love the Mr Rogers approach to creating content for children. However, I feel plenty of games do have these kinds of messages or lessons, or else develop skills like logic or reaction time. Those with worse messages or which promote violence tend to be restricted by age certificate, and if parents choose to ignore that, it is the parent, not the game creator, being irresponsible (just as a parent showing a child a horror film is responsible for that child getting nightmares, not the film director)

          Originally posted by Rick Canaan View Post
          Our societies have entered an era of laziness and lack of collective production. Our kids are doing poorly in school. Our economies are faltering.
          I agree with the collective laziness, which again I think is a technological issue as well as a social attitude. However, I take issue with the idea that kids are doing poorly in school. If we look at the basic indicators, like literacy (and I mean the literal ability to read), we're in a far better place across the world than we were 50 years ago, and it shows no signs of reversing. Most children nowadays can read. That has been the case for a very small portion of mankind's fling with the concept of the written word. Children are generally aware of basic scientific concepts, and of basic mathematical concepts. They're typically IT literate, and they can explain things like healthy eating and safe sexual contact. These seem like basics, but they haven't been instilled in our children for that many generations. Historically, if you fell behind, you were left behind. Schools weren't held to their statistics of what grade every single child achieved, and what percentage of attendance they scored. Standards have increased massively, and I feel we're letting out children down by expecting too much of them and not letting them actually be children. Constant examination is a bane on the younger generations, and we need to take the Scandinavian approach and incorporate free play and exploration into children's lives. With plenty of time outside and away from screens, of course.

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          • #6

            Originally posted by Daryn View Post
            you can't be effective with just the text chat, you have to use voice to do it. That breeds teamwork and sets the spark for building more serious relationships.
            Does it?

            One of the reasons (of which there were admittedly many) I moved away from my roommate in Kansas City, was because of his addiction to these kinds of video games.

            Have you ever watched a monkey eat a piece of fruit? Find a video of one doing it sometime. I'm sure there are many. When you watch one, you'll see precisely what I mean.

            My roommate was exactly like this. Moreover, if I tried to speak to him, about anything, even in just passing, such as saying hello, he would snap at me with extreme exasperation - and only because I was interrupting his gameplay. Which he was doing all the time, when he was at home.

            He would even talk down to me like I was a child because of this. I had to get the heck out of there, or else I knew I'd wind up punching his game-addicted lights out for him.

            And he was doing the voice-over chats with his games, just like you described. But they were all with people he didn't know in real life, just faceless tag names in that game's roster. And there I was, a right-there friend, or a potential one, anyway, asking if he'd like for me to bring him something back from the store, only to have him yell at me in exasperation for bothering him while he was playing his game.

            This is a pattern that is repeated all over the world. Families are torn apart by video-game-addiction. Fathers, mothers, children, are all susceptible to the addiction. When they become addicted, they want nothing more than the video game, and they'll do whatever it takes to get people, even loved ones, out of their hair, so they can focus on their addiction.

            There is only one other thing that is associated with these behaviors.

            Drugs.

            I don't care how you slice it, how you argue it, video-game-addiction is a real problem.

            And to answer one of your points, Slice. Two of them, actually: a book takes you off into a different world. R. R. Martin, a famous published author wrote: "A reader lives a thousand lives. One who doesn't read, lives only one." Now tell me how a video game can stand up against that.

            Secondly, Netflix binging. I can agree there. But there again, all it takes is a little common sense. I Netflix-binge, myself. But I do it only while I am at home and on days off. I do not bring my TV shows onto the road with me. I know how susceptible I am. I'd stay up all night and miss work if I had them available to me. But even so, Netflix programming is just there. It wasn't deliberately designed to be addicting. Video games, very many of them at least, were.
            Rick Canaan's Signature
            A balanced diet is an ice cream cone in each hand - Rick Canaan

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            • #7

              I can agree with Rick, sadly. I was about to rant on how 'video games are not the bruh duh bad', but then I realized there's a fine rule:

              Everything can be overdosed, everything can be a drug.

              There's yet another rule I forget about that not all people think the same. There are the actually abusive people who'd smash his or her mother for turning the internet off... and there are people who don't give a damn if something like that happens. Myself, I pledge guilty of being at times "shhh lemme concentrate", but given the nature of Elite Dangerous and its rebuy... yeah... but I wouldn't react as extreme as some angry kid.

              (As a side note. It's beyond my understandment how people are not friggin' worried to fly these 250 million asset-worth boats, as 13 million credit rebuy is basically what I get after MAYBE week of playing in Elite Dangerous. No, thanks, I'll stick to my Cobra Mk III.)


              To think about it, there might be something in certain behaviour I can't really assess at the first glace. Players are afraid of time they have invested into the game to lose something or backtrack. Dark Souls demands your full attention, as there's no pause in-game, despite being singleplayer game.

              It may sound strange, but most of slightly annoyed players when they are disturbed are ironically worried about time.



              As for the reading, I'd really not give a discussion books vs video games. That's not the point of it, as video games win in some aspects and books win in the other aspects. Unless I understood something wrong, that is. Also blaming video games for addiction is also pointless, cause you can be addicted to anything. But then, there's a reason why some people are addicted to video games and some are addicted to roleplaying.

              Reality.

              That can be s****y as f**k.

              Ironically, you can also be horribly addicted to books to the point it ruins your economy. Especially when books are pretty expensive (at least where I live). Sure, there are libraries, but in 99% there are no books that would interest you at all.


              Addendum:
              I agree with gaming being also addiction in yet another case: lootboxes. This is gambling and any company putting stuff like that into their games, KNOWING the game is constructed pay-to-win (even in case of paid titles) and knowledge that humans are ran by greed... there are no civilized words to be put in here due to PG-13.

              But I'd put all the bastards to the wall and have no remose to order execution. And I say it as someone who is supposed to be a guy having Human Rights specialization in Political Studies.

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