Thursday, 3 April 2008

Games, Heroin, and Teenage Pregnancies - What's the Difference?

I have just read an article by Giles Whittell of The Times entitled Video Games: I'll never buy one. The reporter/contributor/"notebooker" describes why he will never be buying his children any games consoles. Apparently the answer is because games "suck real people into fake worlds and hold on to them for decades at a time." What a wonderfully broad and sweeping statement. And if that is his main reason, then maybe he should stop his children from watching TV, going to the cinema, surfing the internet, or reading.
Now, I am old enough to remember getting my first games console in the mid 80's, and have had many games machines since. I do not believe I ever wasted my life. I enjoyed playing games, because of the adventures they took me on. Just like reading, and going to the cinema. I enjoyed the social aspect of them; my mother and I used to sit up late into the night playing the latest adventure game.
I do agree in a small way with Mr. Whittell in that many children seem to be so intent on finishing the next level that they barely look around sometimes. For that, I do not blame games, I blame the parents. Surely, it is the parents who should tell little Farquar and Portia to put down their Nintendo DS until after dinner, or whenever. I know it's easy to blame the parents, but in this case I truly believe I am right. My parents used to make sure I stopped playing on my games console and went outside, or stopped playing my Gameboy at the table, and so on. Don't deny your children, but educate them enough to make their own choices and govern themselves.

And equating games with heroin and teenage pregnancies ("It's because, compared with everything else on offer in a kid's life, video games and heroin and teenage pregnancy are a colossal waste of time.") is just irresponsible. Well done for inciting people to read your article Giles, but it is a low blow, and a tenuous analogy at its best. 

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