This time, it’s impossible to escape. For Christmas, it will be necessary to resolve to let through the fireplace the object of all its desires: the video game! PC, Mac, Nintendo, Sega, PlayStation, Game Boy. Hard to navigate when you have not been lulled by the esoteric language of digital technologies. And what about all these rumors of danger around the violence of the games riddled with bloodthirsty monsters, massacres of innocent pedestrians or merciless wars?
A few months ago, the association Familles de France even conducted a moral campaign against publishers of electronic games, while the Americans incriminated the bloody “Doom” and “Quake”, making them responsible for the massacre in high school in Littleton. It’s true, of the hundred or so top-selling games, one-third present scenes of violence at very different levels. These new computer entertainment would they be dangerous? The psys are shared: some cry disaster, the others downplay.
To navigate the jungle of games, we classified them into five sections that we submitted to the opinion of several psys. We also provided them with advice for parents of children aged 7 to 15 years old. However, apart from specialized products for toddlers, the majority of games have no age limit: so it’s up to you!
Today there is an extraordinary variety of cultural CD-ROMs to discover museums, history, science, etc. Some, more than simple pages of animated encyclopedias, are conceived in the form of games: the “ludo-educational”. They allow you to learn a subject, an art, a technique, while having fun. “Draw is Disney”, for example, is a kind of workshop where all stages of the drawing are explained one by one. “Ludo-cultural” relies instead on encyclopedic data to lead us into adventures or investigations, through, for example, authentic chapters of history. It is “Versailles”, faithful reconstruction of the time of Louis XIV, where the player must dismantle a plot against the king.
The opinion of the
electronic or not, the educational games stimulate the reflection, the attention, the memory, the creativity, and enrich the general culture. However, computer games have a specificity: they allow to develop the “nonverbal IQ”, that is to say the ability to handle spatial representations, to use symbols, to manage several tasks at the same time, to examine problems from different points of view.
Advice for parents
Up to 8 years old, offer, if you can, games per pair (an adventure game and an educational game) to avoid confining the child to only one category. You will allow him to discover other playful approaches. From 9 years, avoid buying a game without asking his opinion. Informed by his friends, he knows all the news, the good and the bad. Make sure you do not go wrong in your choices: video games are expensive!
From chess to backgammon to the myriad of card games, traditional games have been the first to undergo computer change. This category includes other types of puzzle games such as “brick breakers” and other “Tetris”. Sometimes, they are called “arcade games”: Twenty years ago, in Japan, the first big video game machines around which children were glued were set up in arcade shopping arcades. Today, this category also includes military and war strategy games, such as “Dune 2000”, or “X-Files” type surveys.