July 8 - National Video Game Day

Posted on July 8, 2020

The thing about most holidays is that traditions and festivities have to be changed so drastically during a global pandemic. Or the entire celebration has to be cancelled or at least postponed.

But National Video Game Day is perfect for stay-at-home, social-distance folks. 

So play your heart out!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

BAD: Over the years, there have been a lot of concerns about "computer games," "video games," or electronic games played on any device.

Too violent. Too "adult." Too many ads. Too addictive. 

Some people worry that violent video
games make people more violent.

Actually, research doesn't show a link
between violence in video games and in
real life - not even between gaming and
real-life aggression.
There are definitely grounds for these concerns. For example, I think that we should be careful about the images and words we put into our heads - from anywhere and everywhere, including movies and TV shows and music and and and - as well as from electronic games.

And we are all individuals. A particular game or kind of game might affect Child A or Adult B in a bad way (but not necessarily affect people-in-general), and we should be attuned to changes of behavior and attitude. 

GOOD: Despite all of the concerns, there are benefits of video game play. Games generally involve problem-solving and puzzles and the need to strategize or at leasts plan ahead. Often game play builds reading or math skills, and some game worlds build understanding of science or history. 

Note that I am not necessarily talking about games that are especially created in order to teach reading, math, science, or history; games created to be educational are often less interesting and therefore played less often than games created for entertainment purposes. That said, virtual experience of well-crafted worlds with, say, different numbers of suns or different gravitational pulls are inevitably going to help us learn about light and shadows and gravity. And playing video games set in history will inevitably cause learning about that era. (Be sure to select historical games with high levels of accuracy!)

Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Video games can be a haven for people with social anxieties - which during a time of COVID-19 is all of us! Video games can actually increase confidence and improve self-esteem. Multi-player games can help people find and build a community. And, like all play, gaming can relieve stress. 

Needless to say, some gaming can improve hand-eye coordination.

UGLY: When I owned my first computer, I loved electronic games - but they were really, really ugly compared to today's graphic marvels. I mean, so ugly:

But the games were still SO FUN! I had visitors come to my house and end up spending the night because they were so captivated by an early, ugly computer game! (I'd go to bed and tell people, "Okay, have fun, and turn off the light when you leave!")

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