Video games are a form of interactive entertainment that have become incredibly popular over the past decade. Popularized by such media titans as Atari and Nintendo, video games can now be found in homes around the world and have taken on a life of their own, influencing not only the way people think about and play video games, but also the way they interact with them. With millions of people playing online every day, video games are redefining social interaction. In fact, if you ask a group of today’s gaming aficionados what the top game they’ve ever played was, most will immediately name one of the aforementioned systems.
In the early days of the video game industry, personal computers were used to control video games. However, with the advent of the humble laptop, portable and slim-yet-powerful personal computers are now capable of supporting high-end electronic game systems via a wireless network. Today’s laptops offer users the ability to play high definition video games through a network, where they (and their friends) can chat, play against each other, and collaborate with one another. As a result, video gaming has taken on a new role in the lives of today’s youth.
Although video games first originated in and near Japan, their global popularity has thrust them into the homes of Americans and Europeans. In fact, in many American households, you’ll find a Nintendo Wii, a sleek black console that looks and sounds like nothing more than a traditional home video game console. While Nintendo Wii owners may never have been able to distinguish between Donkey Kong and Space Invaders, they do recognize their own favorite arcade game: Super Mario Bros.
The video game industry’s presence in America has also spawned a whole sub-industry of educational video games. In particular, video game players around the world have taken to reading about and playing educational computer games. These educational computer games allow players to practice reading, math, and foreign languages without having to attend classes. The most popular games for children involve reading, such as Scrabble or Tetris. On the other hand, students who prefer computer games that teach them about foreign languages can select titles such as Trilingual Trumps, which uses an overhead view to let the player point to words in the target language while sounding out the letter.
The video gaming industry has also influenced music. Atari are both brands that were originally popular among African American teenagers during the 1970s. In addition to being popularized by the black and white television shows that featured characters such as the Power Rangers, these early computer games helped to form the virtual world in which many African American children could experience the joys of escape. Today, kids of all ages enjoy the thrill of escaping to another world through video games such as Disney’s Kung Fu Panda and Electronic Arts’ Train Simulator. Even kids who aren’t quite fit enough to be playing sports such as baseball and basketball can find a new outlet for physical exercise through the interactive options of Wii Sports Resort, Nintendo’s console that lets players experience a sports-type environment without actually leaving their homes. A variety of other computer games, such as the popular Doraemon series, also incorporate the interactivity that video gaming provides in order to help people of all ages have fun.
Video games, including arcade consoles and computer games, are not inherently evil. They are an important part of a child’s development, and can provide entertainment that can delay development in some cases. However, parents should keep in mind that video games have a tendency to get a bit too competitive, particularly with kids who are not very adept at properly interacting with others. Parents should keep this in mind when selecting video games for kids, and make sure that they are suitable for their particular age. Video game shops should also be considered as a secondary source of entertainment rather than an outright replacement for a television set.