I readily admit that I’m a late bloomer when it comes to the world of gaming. I never really got into it as a child. My mom wouldn’t let us have one (except for playing Frogger and Pac Man on my sister’s old Atari) so I never really got into it. I had friends throughout college and even after that were all into games like Halo and whatever else (I have no idea), but I was just never drawn to it.

But recently I got an iPhone, and being the technology geek that I am, I just love exploring the app store. I’ve noticed that the top categories are always games and it seems from reading many articles that games are definitely the most downloaded apps on the phone… interesting. We’re not a very productive society. And alas, I have fallen as prey to Apple’s plot to keep us from getting anything accomplished.
Yes, I bought a game.
Not just any game… Bounce On. It reminds me of Mario (although I only have a few memories of Mario as it were, because I only played it a few times at friends’ houses growing up). Nonetheless, it’s pretty much the jam and I find myself playing it all the time.
But I was philosophizing the other day (as I often do), and I realized something: playing video games has helped me to take more risks… Yes. This is weird. I admit. But it’s true. I find myself thinking about things the way I would think while playing Bounce On. “Don’t wait for the opportune moment. There’s not one. Just go for it!”
Wow! So aside from carpal tunnel, obesity, and social awkwardness, video games can have a benefit! I never knew!
And it’s a pretty interesting phenomenon, if you ask me. I was taught all my life that video games are for lazy, non-creative types, not me. (Was this my mom’s excuse for not buying them? The world may never know…) Nonetheless, I had always associated games as such (unfortunately, this statistic can often be true, although, admittedly, it is not universal).
So what can we learn from this? Are games for the slovenly? Do they contribute to thoughtless, mindless youth? Or can they have the opposite effect? Is there a way we can teach children to productively channel the lessons they learn from the games into their everyday lives (although perhaps not their driving habits)?
An interesting subject to ponder as I grab my phone for another round…

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