Most people born in the nineties or after won’t be able to conceive of a time before personal computers and video game consoles were mainstays in homes. But those of us who are a little older can remember the fun we used to have before the digital world took over – playing games that may be primitive compared to the titles available on the Xbox 360 or PS3, but somehow provided endless hours of fun all the same.
That’s not to say traditional games have all gone the way of the dinosaur though, and anyone who’s spent any time with a toddler will know that peek-a-boo is still a winner. But it seems to be increasingly the case that imaginative games like hide and seek or I-spy are relegated to times and places when video games are unavailable, like visiting grandparents or travelling in the car. But with many cars now featuring game consoles to entertain younger passengers, these places are getting scarcer.
But are video games really that damaging to children’s development? The format has been criticised for its vegetative effects since the early days of the Atari and Commodore 64 (in many cases, correctly so!) But it can be argued that playing video games in sensible moderation can actually improve certain skills, such as hand-eye coordination and problem solving. They can also be a highly effective way of keeping kids quiet and entertained for an afternoon, and surely more rewarding than sticking kids in front of the TV?
While some traditional kid’s games manage to peacefully coexist with modern-day video games, some genres seem to have become relics of the retro age, particularly board games. Eighties kids may have been satisfied throwing dice and moving coloured counters around a board, but of all the boxed games we had piled high in our wardrobes, few of these could really be considered classics.
And what of those that were? Well, firm favourites like Scrabble have now been expertly transferred to video game form themselves, where players have the opportunity to compete against friends or other people around the world, either through dedicated gaming sites or social networks like Facebook. Some games that can be intolerably frustrating in the slow-paced home environment can actually be improved by the digital transition, like Monopoly in particular.
There’s a place for all kinds of games in the modern world, even if the omnipresence of video games can make this hard to see sometimes. While video games certainly aren’t just for kids, I’ve noticed that the older people get, the less interest they tend to have in the sort of titles commonly available on game consoles – like shoot-em-ups or time-consuming role-playing games – but will usually be up for a play if board games and other party games are brought out at family events.
Jennifer is a part of the digital blogging team at getyourblogsout.com who work with brands like Woolworths. For more information about me, or to keep up to date with the latest in entertainment news, check out my posts at getyourblogsout.com or visit my Twitter account, @BlogsOut
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