Though the first video game was invented in 1958 (with a very basic tennis game similar to Pong), it wasn’t until the early 1970s that arcade games started to pop up in public places and the later 1970s that more refined games started to become a more common addition to homes across the nation. Nowadays, most homes (especially those with kids) have some sort of gaming device. There are numerous consoles available (some of the most popular being Xbox, PlayStation, and the Nintendo Wii) with new, updated and improved versions being released every year or so. Handheld devices have also been extremely popular since the 1990s when the Nintendo Gameboy topped hundreds of thousands of birthday and Christmas lists across the nation. Certain games and characters have also cemented their place in the nation’s hearts, such as Super Mario, Pokemon, Zelda, and Sonic the Hedgehog. This has only been made more apparent by the surge in the success of older characters and games through waves of nostalgia. Just think how well Pokemon Go did when released on iPhone! However, when it comes to kids gaming, many parents will deny their little ones the chance to engage with these cultural icons. Why? Well, many argue that it is merely a means of procrastination, a waste of time and not profitable to their child in any way, shape or form. Now, of course, everything should be enjoyed in moderation. You don’t want your child to be tucked away in isolation obsessing over games, of course. You should also abide by age regulations and guidelines. But games, when played responsibly, can have a whole host of positive impacts on your child. Here is some example of how just a few different genres can benefit your brood.
Let’s start with the most obvious genre of games that can benefit your child: educational games. Educational games are developed with the distinct aim to educate the player. This genre generally includes puzzle games and knowledge quizzes (ranging from general knowledge to specialist knowledge). One to watch out for in particular? Nintendo’s Big Brain Academy. This game is available on both Wii and Nintendo’s handheld device, the Nintendo DS. This has five different categories of tests: think (logic-themed questions), analyze (reason-based questions), compute (math-themed questions), identify (visual-themed questions), and memorize (memory-based questions).
Role Playing Games (or RPGs)
Now, role-playing games (otherwise referred to as RPGs) may seem like sheer entertainment. Players take on the role of a protagonist character, taking them on a journey through a fantasy land filled with quests, battles, adventures, and tasks. But they also have great effects on their physical abilities. These types of games improve your child’s hand-eye coordination, help them to practice tracking several objects at once and encourages them to be perceptive and ready to face change. They will also receive a mental workout, having to use logic and skill to unlock certain aspects of the game, complete complex tasks and perhaps even solving difficult puzzles to advance to higher levels. If this sounds good to you, try out a game such as Final Fantasy (which can be easily downloaded from www.finalfantasyxvapp.com). This is the world’s largest role-playing game and has experienced profound success since the release of its first version in 1987.
Puzzle games teach players in a more subtle way than games that are explicitly marketed as educational. However, their benefits are just as impressive. Think of traditional games like Tetris, where players are encouraged to use logic, foresight, and problem solving to succeed and gain as many points as possible. While Tetris is still massively popular, there are more modern puzzle games too. Think of Candy Crush Saga. This strengthens thinking skills by encouraging players to switch pieces of candy around either horizontally or vertically to match three or more candy pieces by type. Once a match has been made, the matched candy disappear, and the player receives points. Another popular game is bejeweled, a game that uses an extremely similar concept but with gems of different shapes, sizes, and colors instead of candy. If you allow your child to play these kinds of games, they will generally become more rational and logical thinkers, being able to apply their puzzle-solving skills to real-life situations that will see them advance in the world.
As you can see, games aren’t all bad when it comes to your children’s development. In fact, they can provide an engaging form of education and self-improvement that your kids will be extremely happy to take part in. So why hesitate? Get them gaming! Just remember to read reviews of games before purchasing them to see other parents’ feelings regarding them and to check out the recommended age. This will avoid your child from engaging with games that have age-inappropriate content.