Bonding Through Video Games

PBS has a cool website up called The Video Game Revolution with a lot of fun and informative sections on video games. I especially like Henry Jenkins’ (any relation to Leeroy? Ha. Ha.) article Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked.

He debunks a lot myths, anything from video games leading to violence among youths to the claim that girls don’t play video games. I have to say that I was vaguely disappointed with a few of his explanations, such as the one that discusses the misconception that “scientific evidence” supports a causal link between video games and aggression. He did a good job of picking the flaws in these studies, but didn’t mention that tentative evidence from long-term studies on video game playing are not finding even a correlational link between video games and raised aggression.

His #7 myth, that of video games and isolation, has been addressed on this blog a few times when talking about online communities. I’d just like to highlight this part:

Much video game play is social. Almost 60 percent of frequent gamers play with friends. Thirty-three percent play with siblings and 25 percent play with spouses or parents. Even games designed for single players are often played socially, with one person giving advice to another holding a joystick.

Before I played video games with my friends, I would spend countless nights playing with my mom. I was a bit young to be using the controller, so I would tell her where to go and what to do and it turned into a great bonding experience for us. I often think that it’s one of the reasons we’re so close today. And, I have to say, as much as I like being the one behind the controller, I also love “watching” story-oriented games with my friends as well. Although these days we usually switch who has control every so often, unless it’s a survival horror, where I tend to hole up in one spot and let the enemies come to me. That really annoys people. Can’t imagine why, ke ke ke.

Via New Game Plus.

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3 thoughts on “Bonding Through Video Games

  1. I think the myth-busting was the best essay on the site (of those I’ve looked at).

    I also have really fond memories of my brother and I watching my mom play NES. We’ve kept trying to get her back into gaming even since the 16-bit days (I’m going to bring Katamari when I visit over the holidays, that seems like a good one for non-gamers). She does really enjoy watching us play story-driven games.

  2. Katamari’s a good choice. If I owned a PS2 still, that game would be a much-loved addition to my collection. I agree that it’s good for non-gamers, because it’s easy to learn and can be fun to play even in short spurts.

    Good luck with wooing your mom back over to the dark side!

    All my mom does these days is play WoW. I’ve been trying to coax her to move on to bigger and better things, but she’s really immersed in the game despite its flaws. It’s only a matter of time, though, ’cause a lot of her characters are approaching levels where raids become the only viable way to progress. I give her three months max before she starts seeking something else.

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