Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,
Game Politics

The Family That Games Together Stays Together

Clueless critics often portray gamers as isolated and introverted.

But video games are much more than simply a means to entertain one's lonely self. This month alone, Game Politics has examined how games are being used to make political statements, improve health, and supplement education. A recent article at GamerDad suggests they can also help parents connect with their kids.

Nick Yee, founder of the Daedalus Project, has been studying the psychology of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) for the past several years. He maintains that as computer prices plummet and broadband connections become more widely available, more and more families are playing these games.

"Families get to do something together that is far more interactive, engaging, and memorable than watching TV," Yee says. "Children get to learn teamwork, leadership, and communication skills. Experiment and play with different roles and identities."

Well-known game developer Brian Reynolds (Rise of Nations) describes playing World of Warcraft with his kids. "We have a really good time if we're all working on a quest together. With a mage for magical damage, a warrior for armor and protection, and a priest for healing... often we are able to quest just the three of us. A few weeks ago we managed to do a section of the Scarlet Monastery instance just as a threesome and that was fantastic. It requires a lot of teamwork and turns out to be a really good Dad & Boys activity."

Clay Thompson is a divorced dad who stays in touch with his children in a unique way. "I never foresaw how important the games online would become, but I did actually get a line added into my divorce decree that guaranteed me time three days a week that I could get on the computer with my kids, via webcam, etc. to communicate and see them. At the time, I wasn't a huge MMORPG player, so I didn't envision the role it would play. The breaker was ToonTown and then Neverwinter Nights - I can't say enough about that game for a parent that wants a safe and fun environment with their kids to play!"

"Being a father who is located a long distance from my kids, its a way to stay in touch with them other than just a weekend visit or hello on the phone... My son and I have become much closer through gaming....It offers quality time I wouldn't get otherwise. I'm taking care of my kids online like I would if I was there."

-Andrew Eisen

Tags: brian reynolds, daedalus project, eisen, family gaming, gamer dad, nick yee
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