Thursday, November 21, 2013


It's a multi-billion dollar industry!  And my kid has a foot firmly planted in it.  He's definitely a gamer and a fan of game development; he spends quite a bit of time at this point in his life playing, researching, reading about, and marveling at games and their developers.

Instead of resisting his interest, I've decided to embrace it and encourage him to explore.  Granted, I still harbor some hesitancy about all of it (which is probably some sort of protective instinct or is weirdly fear based), but I try to keep that tucked in the back corner under a bunch of upside down boxes that are taped to the floor.......with duct tape and covered with an old blanket.  I think the point of my job here is to be encouraging, to get behind him and cheer him on.  That's much more important than any preconceived stereotypes about how gamers conduct their lives; besides, it makes me sound like a big old prude and that's no fun.  Gamers are people, too!  An incredibly creative and talented bunch, in fact.  I think some gamers might get into trouble when they sit in front of the screen all day at the expense of other life-sustaining activities, drink umpteen sodas, eat junk food and don't move their bodies, but the same could be said for TV watching or any other passive activity like blogging(!)  Yep, I just downed a handful of chocolate chips and have yet to exercise today.

Here's an interesting Ted Talk by cognitive neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier, Ph.D. discussing the brain benefits of playing video games.  She heads a brain and learning lab at the University of Geneva:

She has demonstrated that video games help the brain become more adept at important tasks like visual acuity, tracking, quicker decision making, etc.  All important elements we invoke when, say, driving a 3,000 pound vehicle down the road.

I'm making a point to seek out video game information that might interest him.  A few years ago I would have searched for some 'educational' video games that satisfied a misguided desire to have him learn something while he tapped away at the controls, but now I'm trying hard to pay attention to the cues he's sending and let him lead the way.

Last week we watched this movie about game development and I wrote about it in the last post:

And this movie about Steve Jobs on Netflix:

The teenager is also a huge fan of Minecraft, so this book seemed like a good fit:

And another Steve Jobs book written especially for young adults:

You can find a slew of art and development books focused on individual video games, too, such as:

Not to mention omniscient Youtube.  Oodles and oodles of gamer-related reviews, some of which I've taken a look at along with the teenager, exist to entice the curious learner. 

He's interested in the art within the games, the design concepts, the story lines, coding, computer systems and their componentry, building a computer that supports games, etc.  He also likes the coordination and training involved in getting more proficient at various levels, that whole manual dexterity thing. 

Gaming can be a door to many different areas of knowledge.  Now if I could just find some game developers to invite over for dinner........and I'll feed them nutritious foods.  No soda, but we might have something sprinkled with chocolate chips for dessert!  

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