Fun, Life Skills, and Videogames?

Not going to lie, I am still a skeptic when it comes to videogames.  I just can’t help it.  When I think videogames, I think of a bunch of teenage guys wasting their lives away in front of a computer or television screen.  Even though I feel this way, Koster is slowly (and I mean very slowly) changing my opinion.  He was most successful at changing my views with his first three chapters where he presented the idea that playing videogames was connected with the process of learning.  I was convinced.  However, I feel that in this last chapter Koster did not do as well in presenting a solid argument.

Koster claims that “we have fun mostly to improve our life skills.”  In a broad sense, I agree.  Personally, activities I find the most fun are sports and spending time with friends (which Koster explained as a grown-up game or way of fun).  Physical health and sufficient social abilities are unquestionably good life skills to possess.

It might be because I don’t understand videogames as much as the average person, but I found it difficult to apply this idea (that I support) to the fun found in videogames.  Do videogmes really aid in the development of central life skills?  If so, which ones?  Would it be possible to acquire all life skills through videogames?  I raise these questions not necessarily to attack Koster’s argument, but because I am curious about what frequent videogame players think of such ideas.

1 thought on “Fun, Life Skills, and Videogames?

  1. Professor Sample

    I definitely think it’s good to be skeptical of the idea that games can help develop skills that are applicable outside of the game world. Such educational development certainly doesn’t just magically happen. But in truth, videogames are being used widely in many situations to help people improve very useful skill sets. One of the best (and oldest) examples are flight simulators. Civilian and military pilots now do much of their training in flight simulators that are little more than videogames on steroids, with quantifiable improvements in the pilots’ actual flying skills. Surgeons also train with videogame systems.

    Most interestingly, the military is using a game system called Virtual Iraq to treat (successfully so) soldiers who have debilitating cases of post-traumatic stress.

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