There are no video games at my house, yet. My husband is dying for a Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray. Since he’s the primary earner in the household, if we do end up with a gaming console, it’s the most likely option. The kids want a Wii and I’ve already succumbed and bought one for my mother’s house, but I’ve been comfortable with my decision to keep the house free of video game systems.
I took the kids to an EA/Nintendo party last week where the kids played a bunch of the new Nintendo releases. There’s a pop star sing along that’s cute and appropriate for most. (If you’re very conservative in your dress, skip it.) And there are a whole bunch of Sim Games.
I like The Sim Series for the Mac and for the PC. I think that it’s complex enough to make kids think and there are reasonable consequences for all actions. I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend it as a teaching tool, but it’s benign. There is one that’s particularly green though, and I think the sustainability issue wasn’t part of the plan.
My son played SimAnimals for a little over an hour. Yes, really, that long in a loud and overstimulating room. With SimAnimals kids have to effectively manage an ecosystem. Beavers build dams, wolves are predators, birds build nests; there’s a lot of problem solving, reading and relating to nature. My kids are city kids, we’re not going to see a dam any time soon or hear a wolf in the night. As my ten year old is learning about food chains and food webs from a book, her brother was setting them up on a computer.
I see that EA does a great job of making games that kids enjoy. It’s apparent that EA is using their technology to appease parents too. Gaming isn’t going away, but I’m pleased that there are some good options.
As for me. I’m underwhelmed. I’m going to have to stand by the decision to skip the systems and let it live at my mother’s house. I’ve tried a whole mess of games now, and although I find none of them objectionable, I think I’m committed to taking a run and actually going somewhere.
Running in place isn’t for me.
[This post was written by Jessica Gottlieb.]