If you pay attention to the media at all, you might think anyone who plays video games is socially awkward. The stereotype of a gamer is a loner who lives in his parent’s basement and never sees the sun.
The truth is, video games facilitate connections like no other form of media. Video games have something movies, TV, books, and music cannot duplicate.
When you sit down to play a game with your child, you are actively participating with them. It does not matter if you are figuring out the puzzles in Portal, beating each other in FIFA or Madden, or covering each other’s back in Call of Duty.
The stories of your play time will become woven into the overarching story of your family.
Here’s an example.
A couple months ago, I took my 5 year-old to a birthday party for one of her friends. She loves to go to his house and “play Mario”.
On this occasion, since there were several kids, his dad put in Nintendo Land. This allowed 5 of them to be able to play together.
After a while, they settled in on the Luigi’s Mansion mini game. In it, one person plays the ghost while the other 4 are ghost hunters. The hunters are trying to find the ghost with their flashlights before the ghost can sneak up on and grab them.
One girl started to dominate as the ghost. No matter what the hunters did, they just could not beat her. Finally a dad decided to step in and show the young ones how it’s done.
Nope, the ghost won again.
We could not have this 5 year-old show us up so another dad jumped in.
And the ghost won AGAIN!
It was starting to get a little embarrassing. How could a bunch of 30+ year old men with years of gaming experience lose to a 5 year-old?
So another one of us joined the fight. We strategized. We worked together. There was no way we were going to lose this time.
It was an intense match. She took one of us down. Then we got her. Back and forth it went. Finally, it was me against her. I only had to find her one more time but she would win if she got me.
You would not believe the reaction when I found her. 3 grown men jumping up and down, excited because we FINALLY beat a 5 year-old! Man, it was fun!
When I look back at my daughters life, I will always remember that party. And as she grows and we play together more and more, we will have more of those memories to share.
And that is what makes video games great.