Hobbies. Passions. Things of interest. Every person has their own ways to fill their free time. Some read books. Some write. Some do photography. Me? I like to play video games.
I started playing video games since I was 9 years old (could be earlier). My parents have careers in computer science. They have been doing works using the computer as long as I can remember. We had a Dell desktop computer with a thick monitor that weighs like a bag of 5 kg rice. I remember trying to connect to the internet using dial-up. I could still remember the tune in my head.
My cousin who is the first to introduce me to games. I started with offline games and then my family had a PlayStation, then the PlayStation 2 and a Game Boy Advance. At first, it was a reward system that my parents set for me and my little brother. They would buy games for us to play if we get excellent results in exams (Asian parents, am I right?). Even after getting them, we can only play during long school holidays, that is at least 2 weeks, where the first week is to do assignments.
What Playing Video Games Can Teach Your Kid?
Various people have various reasons when they are playing video games, but other than being a pure entertainment, I can list four other key benefits if you were to expose video games activities to your kid.
The first benefit would be to develop an objective-driven mindset. Games like MegaMan and Pokemon have a set of objectives. They are relatively easy games, kind of straightforward where there is an end game. Sometimes there are a few ways to finish the game, some may be easier and some may take up a little bit more time. However, these games are simple, therefore, has a low difficulty level, which makes them suitable for beginners. These games, while being simple in design, they are building the competitive value in players.
Secondly, other than learning about focus, your kid can also acquire skills in relation to planning, strategizing and understanding the importance of collaboration and teamwork. Normally, once the gamer has developed better skills they would require more challenging tasks that only games with a higher level of difficulty can offer. While you can argue that this is the way for video games marketer to get players hooked that is true as well, but for me, it is also natural for gamers to crave new challenges and if you can get it in a click away that is even better. The good outcome out of moving to games with higher difficulty level is that the player’s skills in planning and strategizing will be tested and as a result, their learning curve is expected to expand. Moving to the next level of difficulty serve as a reward system, giving you a sense of accomplishment.
My current favourite game is DotA 2. In this game, I would be playing with friends or sometimes, strangers (thanks to the internet, we can play with anyone these days) in a team of 5, against an opponent team. We would have to work together, formulating different strategies; attempt different combinations of characters (or avatar) and method of interactions that can only be discovered by testing them out in the field. The experiences you can obtain from this game are mixed: it’s fun sometimes, but can be frustrating as well especially when you are the losing team. When I am not playing, I would watch pro-players playing, learning from them. If I can squeeze a bit more time, I would watch the tournament highlights or join a discussion among the worldwide games community to acquire winning tips. The rich engagement in daily tasks in today’s world can easily lead to a certain case of social isolation and to find other people who share same interest brings a sense of belonging to the community and not to mention, fun.
The third benefit would be to offer a safe zone to build and exercise the creativity side. Games like Skyrim and Ghost Recon are what I would call an open world game. They have a massive map that can be explored by any means possible. These games have their main quests, but what makes it interesting is the variety of additional quests. This feature adds richness to the game. Although they are only quests on the side, some players seem to like to focus more on collecting points for them. These types of game are generally set in a world of fantasy where we can assume any character that suits your imagination; some have powers, magic and other different elements. I could explore in this fantasy world games for hours and still can find a new interesting thing. With these games, you would soon learn that some of the actions would lead to different conclusions and some even try your moral compass.
Other than the three benefits I have listed above, I think the parents should consider the fact that playing video games besides purely powering the brain parts, it also has the benefit to train the muscular coordination and reflexes. A good player normally has the ability to process the situation quickly and provide a counter response in the equally fast time frame. The one thing parents may need to vigilant is the number of hours you should allow your kids to indulge in playing video games. A little too much of anything never a good thing. Even for myself, as an adult, I am sometimes aware the numbers of hours I spent on playing video games are high.
As the world of technology keeps on developing, new and interesting games are popping up in the market. Do you know that video games have become a competitive sport now known as the e-sport? Some e-sports tournaments have even surpassed the traditional games in the sense of prizes and the attendance rate. The e-sport has been said is an emerging market specifically, in China. Looking at the different way of how video games have progressed, I would love to make this as my career in future.
Afiq is a Mechanical Engineering graduate from the Australian National University. He joined the Band of Peers on the pursuit of learning something new. Afiq holds interest in the field of science and esports.
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