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I think the most basic skill I've learned is exploring my environment. In many games, that's all you do. The whole game is exploring and figuring out which items in the environment are meaningful and useful and which are not, as well as which direction you're supposed to be going. Like I said, basic, but we're talking impressionable kids here. Say a kid gets separated from his parents while on vacation. Which one do you think has the best chance of finding his way back to his hotel or to someone who can help him find his parents, one who has played all three GTA games inside and out, or one who has never played a game in his life?

Something like Warioware Inc. is another example. The whole point of the game is figuring out what you're supposed to do in some nearly random task. I can't believe people don't stress the educational value of something like this more often. This is critical thinking and problem solving at its core. Warioware should be mandatory for kids age five to twelve.


I learned a lot more from paper role playing games than any of my video games. Some games, like OGRE, probably helped me form some better logical skills, but I don't think I'm any more political aware for having finished San Andreas - nor do I think the haphazard grammar of adventure games helped me in lit classes.

D&D on the other hand. Well, I still remember to this day asking my Oriental History teacher that if the masterless samurai of which he referred were called ronin, a fact I had learned while researching for a new campaign a few months earlier. I learned more about mythology and even about certain religions from Dieties and Demigods than Bullfinch's.


Maggie over at our site, The Game Chair, talked about this very thing here, but I'm not sure I buy the whole enchilda myself. I grew up on video games, including text adventures, but I'm not sure they added anything to my education. Certainly it was vastly eclipsed by the fact that I was a voracious reader. Especially nowadays, because there isn't much reading at all in any video game. The closest you come is to turn on the subtitles. Then again, most of the writing in video games is so juvenile, it would be like never advancing beyond The Hardy Boys when I was growing up.

There's some problem solving in some games, but again, I don't think it transfers very well to "real life". And it is such a minor point to most games, where it is important to move fast and shoot even faster, again I worry about it getting lost in the noise.

But I do think I'm going to be paying more attention as I play, to see what it migh in fact offer to my daughters, or even myself.


> what new SAT words or useful skills did video games teach you folks? Have games taught you anything that makes you feel smarter or a better person?

Video games single handedly got me interested in computing. Computing got me interested in programming. Programming got me interested in the web and game design. The web got me interested in general design and art history and self-publishing and, hence, more reading and writing. These are the things I studied in university (during my short time there). These are the things that got me *into* university.

So to answer: YES.

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