video games

Can Video games Make Kids Smarter?

I’m pretty sure that most gamer parents would answer the question with a “yes”.  I’ve posted before about the inherent educational value of Assassin’s Creed (you can read that post here).  But I also think that a lot of the other games that Nate plays help with different areas of development. The Portal games teach spatial relations and creative problem solving, all while being hysterically funny and entertaining (even just to watch).  Multiplayer war games like Battlefield and Halo encourage working together.  I love watching Nate “meet up” with his school friends over XBox Live and work together to kick some enemy butt.  Minecraft develops creativity. Really, any game with a goal teaches strategy and persistence. I’m not saying that every game out there is good for your children, and like all things moderation must be practiced.  But parents, educators, politicians and researchers who blindly label all video games as “bad” don’t know what they are talking about.

A new study from the University of Michigan has shown that kids who play a specially designed memory game had long-term benefit to their problem solving skills.  The authors are quick to note that the study does not indicate that other, more traditional games would give the same results, but until they do a study to the contrary I’m going to continue letting my child develop his skills using the Xbox.

Duke Nuekem Forver…For Real This Time

There is finally a confirmed release date for Duke Nukem Forever: May 3, 2011.
Here’s the trailer (Warning: definietly not kid-friendly):

After twelve years the graphics could be better, but that’s not really the point now, is it?

For those not sure why this release is a big deal read the Wikipedia article.  This game, the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D (with platform Duke Nukem titles having been around since 1991) a relatively ground-breaking FPS (you played a character with a name, a face and a back story and the game prominently featured adult subject matter) has been in development hell since it was announced in 1997.  Screen shots for the highly-anticipated game started leaking in 1999 and at one point the developers said it would be released “When it was done”.  

They are clearly playing on our sense of nostalgia here. I don’t get the feeling from the trailer that we are going to see anything revolutionary as far as game play or graphics go. I do get the impression that we will see a lot of gratutitous boobs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally excited to get my hands on this, and play it after the kids are sound (like really, really sound) asleep.