Video games can actually give you ideas

Published by Lori Pickert on July 3, 2012 at 10:14 AM

This is a guest post written by my 12-year-old son Jack.


People who think video games are pointless and useless are misguided. 


Video games can be fun and useful and can actually give you ideas. My mom has written about this a little already — what you consume, you produce


Also, they give you a sense of accomplishment. If you’ve just gotten past an eagle warrior using the silver sword of destruction without using any health or something, it boosts your confidence and sense of self-worth. Anyone who watches a kid play a video game doesn’t see him coasting along. You can see him come to some sort of obstacle and spend enormous amounts of time trying to get past it, doing endless repetitive things that would clearly not be ‘fun’ to anyone else. Everyone does something that gives them a sense of accomplishment that would be incredibly tedious or arduous to anyone else. Cooking, cleaning, climbing Everest, running a marathon. 


Also, they can hone your mind. Mind puzzles are pretty much in any game you lay your hands on.


Also, games are just enjoyable to some. You shouldn’t keep your children from having fun. If you keep them from their source of enjoyment and try to force books on them, what are they going say about their childhood to their children? 


It’s not one or the other they can like video games, television, books, and playing outside. Many people think television is just a book except you don’t use your imagination. I don’t think so. I think they are completely different entertainment forms. 


Video games are different still. Games make me use my imagination. Let me relate a story to you. 


I had been playing a video game called Oblivion: Elder Scrolls IV. It’s a fantasy themed game. After I had been playing for a while, I decided I would write a fantasy themed book. So I started it. After a while, I realized I wanted to improve my writing, so I checked out a ton of writing books from the library and read them. 


You see, a video game sparked an idea for a project that ended up with me improving my skills. Without that video game, none of that would ever have happened. I might have become a drifter or a construction worker or something, but instead I learned how to write better. Oblivion led to my largest writing project ever, a 30,000 word novella. I just need to finish editing it and it’ll be done. Thank you, video games!



See also:

The Sliver, or How to stop fighting about screen time



Comment by amy21 on July 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Thank you, Jack. I'm glad you wrote and shared this. Adults shouldn't just decide we know what's best for kids without talking (and listening!) to the kids, too.

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 3, 2012 at 11:18 AM

this ties in nicely with yesterday’s post about holding the space for kids — being patient and waiting to see what they’ll do. 

Comment by Sarah on July 3, 2012 at 09:01 PM

My eleven year old son tells me the same thing. He says playing video games inspires him to make creative remixes using the game's music. Sometimes he mixes the game music with pop songs or movie sounds. He convinced me!

Comment by Elizabeth on July 4, 2012 at 07:38 AM

Much food for thought here. Your experience with video games reminds me of my experience with movies and books. I never would've picked up a Jane Austen novel if it hadn't been for the 1995 BBC's version of Pride and Prejudice. I saw that version when I was a junior in high school and now claim Austen as my favorite author. Come to think of it, the same holds true for Charlotte Bronte and Elizabeth Gaskell. I see the film versions and then I want to get more into the characters' minds which leads me to read the books! The only time I hated Jane Austen was when I took a college course all about her novels and was forced to read the books and write research papers on topics chosen by the professor. Yuck!

I guess one concern that parents have is that their children would choose video games over everything else in life. There are children AND adults who have a real addiction to video games. But I think in those situations video games are filling a void and the solution is to lead a full life where video games is just one facet of a beautiful, meaningful life. I know Lori wrote an awesome post about this.

One more thing: 30,000 word novella -WOW! :-)

Comment by other jackie on July 4, 2012 at 08:09 AM

Thanks for this great post Jack!
Growing up with a younger brother who played and still plays video games for hours a day, I have never really gotten the point.
You have opened my eyes!
Can't wait to read the novella!

Comment by kirstie on July 5, 2012 at 03:58 AM

Thanks for the insight - I will talk about this with my son - I suspect he will be grateful to you for posting this!

Comment by Heather on July 5, 2012 at 06:27 AM

You touched on an outstanding point that I try to always remember:
"Everyone does something that gives them a sense of accomplishment that would be incredibly tedious or arduous to anyone else"

Comment by dawn suzette on July 7, 2012 at 08:55 PM

Thank you Jack. I have struggled over the years with the idea that while playing video games one does not "produce" something, like say with the study of music and art, or while engaged in pursuits like sewing or photography. Your post reinforces what my husband has been telling me about games promoting ideas and entertainment for years now. He will love your post. Thanks for writing it!

Comment by Lori Pickert on July 8, 2012 at 07:28 AM

thank you, everyone, for your comments — jack has loved them!

Comment by Teri on July 10, 2012 at 07:32 AM

Fabulous post, Jack! You make so many excellent points here. Also, I am looking very forward to reading your novella!!! Way to go!

Comment by janet on July 10, 2012 at 09:33 AM

"If you’ve just gotten past an eagle warrior using the silver sword of destruction without using any health or something, it boosts your confidence and sense of self-worth."

yes! we have celebrated many similar accomplishments here.

"Video games can be fun."

too bad that's not enough reason to want to spend hours playing them.

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