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Classic Games (Games) Games

Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games? 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-have-died-of-dysentery dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article at The Verge got me thinking. Parents and those of you who plan to become parents: will you introduce your kids to the games you played when you were younger? Those of us who grew up playing Pong, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man have had a chance to see gaming software evolve into the enormously complex and graphically realistic beast it is today. I've begun to understand why my grandparents tried to get me to watch old movies. I'm also curious how you folks plan to teach your kids about computers and software in general. When teaching them Linux, do you just download the latest stable Mint or Ubuntu release and let them take it from there? Do you track down a 20-year-old version of Slackware and show them how things used to be? I can see how there would be value in that... the UIs we use every day have been abstracted so far away from their roots that we can't always expect new users to intuitively grasp the chain of logic. How do you think this should be handled?"
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Ask Slashdot: Will You Start Your Kids On Classic Games Or Newer Games?

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  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:33PM (#45799631)

    When teaching them Linux, do you just download the latest stable Mint or Ubuntu release and let them take it from there?

    When we what?!?

    Our kids will be pushed outside for as long as they can take it, and then they'll come inside and play on whatever system is en vogue when they're the right age for it. They don't give a crap about your nostalgia, and your music sucks.

    Many replies below mine will be from Nintendo eta hipsters who'll be pushing them Mario, so they can feel good about their 8-bit tattoos.

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad.arnett@notf ... g ['hir' in gap]> on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:39PM (#45799725)
      Yeah. Should I ever have kids, the first version of Pong we're playing is "catch".

      I've seen kids raised by video games. No thanks.
      • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

        by mythosaz (572040) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:47PM (#45799791)

        I'll no doubt be trolled, but as a complete techno-nerd, it was tough getting our kids outside. We enrolled one in Karate, got him trying out for every sports team, but still he'll play as much LOL or DOTA as we'll let him. [...much the way some animals will eat themselves to death.] My daughter, on the other hand, is a book-nerd, and it's hard to dissuade her from wanting to read endlessly.

        The two younger kids both leave the house and seek sunlight on their skin without prodding, so we figure we've done OK for having teenagers in a major city.

        • by Livius (318358)

          it was tough getting our kids outside.

          If you didn't realize some aspects of parenting were tough, then your child is not the one who needs to get out more.

          • by mythosaz (572040)

            I'm not sure where your disconnect is, or where you think mine is.

            Not only is it tough (read: ongoing), but we had no illusions that raising children would be than just having sex and making sure there was food in the refrigerator for the next two decades.

            If any illusion of "easy" isn't shattered by the first time you clean a dirty diaper, the remaining ones fall when you deal with the first ear-ache, the explanation of Santa Claus, your daughter's first period, your son's first date, the first time they fa

      • by msauve (701917)
        Indeed. The OP is asking whether you want to train you child to be a Walmart greeter or a McD's servant. Or, I suppose they could be end up killing innocents with drones, which is apparently considered an honorable occupation these days.
        • by Dishevel (1105119)
          Yes. I agree. All military people are horrible people that should just not exist.

          You would be so much happier existing in a North Korean village.

          Fuck, I hate people like you.

          • by msauve (701917)
            "All military people are horrible people that should just not exist."

            Not all military people, but certainly the cowards who kill innocents (or command it) while sitting behind consoles thousands of miles away from danger. I'm guessing you might be one of them.
          • by anagama (611277)

            I'm sure in N. Korea, disrespecting the military is verboten. Even more so than it is the US. The deal is though, individual people are responsible for their actions and that includes those who decide to join the military. The US has used the military to do some pretty dastardly things in the world form many decades. The government officials who ordered such actions are guilty of them. Those who actually participated in such actions are guilty of them. Those who directly provide some form of support f

      • by natd (723818)

        I've seen kids raised by video games. No thanks.

        It's about balance. My view is that to actively stop them playing what has been a normal part of kids lives for towards 40 years is wrong. My son got into games very early, the new Donkey Kong in 2010 when he was 3 and a bit. The next Christmas he took an interest in Zelda and actively played Twilight Princes and Skyward Sword - with me checking it wasn't TOOOO scary. He's playing Skylanders Swap Force as I type, now 6 ands a bit.

        However, he's also one of the 3 good swimmers (he can 'do' butterfly, most

    • by berashith (222128)

      uhm, my kids are exposed to what I do. I limit games in front of them, and the times that I play them, but every now and then they see something, and this is what they are learning. I do not plan on starting a classroom setting of video game exposure to bring them through history to ingrain a proper appreciation of capability and context of gaming and platforms. that is just stupid.

      When my son was 2 or 3 , I found an entirely stupid browser based halo that was in the style of an old atari. he loved moving t

    • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by chispito (1870390) on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:13PM (#45800045)
      My son is active, but any gadgets that hold my attention become the objects of his desire. Phones, tablets, computers, etc., generally get shelved while he is awake. If I want to play something, I'll get down on my hands and knees and play hide and seek or blocks or something. Video games can wait till he's asleep or till some other odd hour.

      When we what?!?

      Our kids will be pushed outside for as long as they can take it, and then they'll come inside and play on whatever system is en vogue when they're the right age for it. They don't give a crap about your nostalgia, and your music sucks.

      Many replies below mine will be from Nintendo eta hipsters who'll be pushing them Mario, so they can feel good about their 8-bit tattoos.

  • by alen (225700) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:34PM (#45799659)

    the graphical beasts of today are nothing more than slightly more complex interactive movies of the 90's
    walk in line,
    talk to NPC's
    kill someone
    grab loot
    repeat

    at least on the consoles. if you want different genres you have to play on the PC for strategy and mobile for puzzle games. even then there is no need to play the original Sim City to enjoy today's farm or city or whatever building games.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      I'll admit that's the general flow of events in, say, Fallout or Mass Effect - but that doesn't mean those games (and those that come after them) should be dismissed.

  • comes first.. So how about a thread on how to teach your kids that science doesn't have to be *made* fun? I don't care if there have been many of them already, I would take another of those vs this dribble about gaming like it is something really that important.
  • anywhere near a console. Get them involved in other things instead.
  • First and foremost, I want my kids to learn from playing games in addition to being entertained. And there's something to be said about the visual simplicity of older (classic) games encouraging imagination, just like books stimulate the brain more than TV and Movies. You could probably make an argument that the eye candy in today's game is distracting from the puzzle-solving aspects. Then again, newer games potentially have better puzzles... I don't recall much of a physics engine in my Atari 2600.

    Fortu

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:39PM (#45799723)

    For crying out loud, please stop it with these "How do I force my kid into liking ${some-random-shit-you-like}?" submissions. It's tiring to see them showing up two or three times each week these days.

    Let your kids develop their own interests. If they like Linux, or gaming, or programming, or whatever, then so be it, and encourage them however you can. If they're interested in something else that you know nothing about, encourage and support them to the best of your ability anyway.

    But please, for fuck's sake, don't try to force them into the crap you like. By doing that, you'll very likely make them hate it, even if they might've liked it had they had the opportunity to stumble upon it on their own (or even while watching you).

  • Linux (Score:5, Funny)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:40PM (#45799731) Homepage Journal

    When teaching them Linux, do you just download the latest stable Mint or Ubuntu release and let them take it from there? Do you track down a 20-year-old version of Slackware and show them how things used to be?

    I don't need to track down a 20-year-old version of anything - just install the latest Debian build.

    Feels pretty much the same.

  • Classics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by istartedi (132515) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:44PM (#45799765) Journal

    Classics. Like peek-a-boo and "roll the ball back to me"? Sheesh.

  • Our kids are 3 and 5 - We don't (yet) have a gaming console - The kids play games on the iPad. However, I do have a couple of those joysticks that run 'classic' 80s games, and a few weeks ago at our Christmas open house I hooked them up to the TV. The older kids who were there (age 8 - 14) were instantly hooked and for several hours they played Pac-Man, Bosconian, Dig Dug, Galaga and others. I think part of the appeal was the fact that they were easy to just pick up and start playing.

    Amusingly, the exc
    • Amusingly, the exception seemed to be Pac-Man. Took most of the kids several tries to just figure out what the heck they were supposed to do.

      I as read that, I am trying to figure out what the heck you're supposed to do. How do you control our little yellow waka-waka friend on a touchscreen? And is it any fun that way? I just tried Duck Hunt on my phone and found that tapping ducks to "shoot" them isn't really challenging or fun.

  • Unless we provide them with access to old games, how will they ever sympathize with the pain we went through? Trying to kill the pterodactyl in Joust, or the robot dragon boss at the end of Super Zaxxon?! Or the absolute terror upon seeing Sinistar appear on the screen, "RUN, COWARD!" "I HUNGER. *RAWWWWR!*"

    Unless we make them experience these things for themselves, it'll be just like when the vets returned from VietNam, "You don't know man, you weren't there!"

  • by MacTO (1161105) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:49PM (#45799823)

    I don't have kids of my own, but I do work with other people's children in education and recreation. In that context my answers would be:

    For games, a mixture. I look for games that allow children to express themselves either creatively or constructively. In some cases, modern games are excellent. An example would be Minecraft. In other cases, older games are wonderful. Think Simcity (the different versions are also good for different ages or levels of sophistication).

    In the context of computer skills, I prefer modern vintage. Old system software doesn't necessarily teach contemporary skills and frequently has a high barrier of entry for fairly basic skills. Why would I want to spend time teaching command line utilities just because they are scriptable? (Worse, why would I want to expose them to archaic GUIs as a crutch when they would be expected to use modern GUIs as a crutch in the modern world?) A similar parallel can be drawn for programming. BASIC, C, and Pascal probably won't be in common use when they grow up. So I prefer to use something like Scratch. That won't be in common use either, but at least it allows the to focus upon programming concepts like control structures and concurrency without the hurdles of things like syntax errors.

    • by ka9dgx (72702)

      Well said. It seems that watching "lets play" videos on YouTube is the way they get interested in a game, then go off to play it themselves. Minecraft seems to be the current hit of my sproutlet, with an occasional burst of Spore. She spends more time watching than playing, however... which strikes me as bit odd, but hey, she's interested in something relatively safe to do.

  • As a kid, my mother's record collection introduced me to music from her past, and Nick at Night introduced me to television from her era. Shared culture is an ongoing story, and being able to see the earlier parts of that story really helped me to be able to appreciate the later parts. As well, understanding a medium from its simplest implementation to its most complex helps to create a more informed taste.

    I don't have children yet, but my little brother is about 25 years younger than me. I've introduced

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:50PM (#45799837) Journal

    Don't let the lure of nostalgia fool you.

    Go to some abandonware site, play a few of these ancient games...frankly, they rather stink. I mean, they were great in the day, no question.

    But by today's standards (and no, it's NOT JUST THE GRAPHICS) they usually are very simplistic, clumsy, with limited reflex-based gaming choices at best. Tactical choices are extremely limited, conflict resolution is opaque and arbitrary. Save game? Hahahahaa, no, sorry.

    Really, don't let yourself be fooled by your rose colored glasses. There's no reason to punish your kid by making them play old crappy titles so they "appreciate" the new ones more. Don't waste your or their time.

    Nota bene: I'm 46. I started playing Oregon trail on a MECC terminal in 3-4th grade at age 9? 10? I've been a dedicated gamer since then, playing everything from the Atari800 Space Vikings from cassette tape, to Apple II space empires, to Ultima (before they had numbers), etc etc and so on. Bought my own first computer (a Zeos 386-20, regrettably without a co-processor, I simply couldn't afford it) in my early 20s, wrote computer game reviews for nearly 15 years, and have been involved in several titles from alpha to release. If there's anyone who could be suffused with nostalgia, it's me.

    • by lgw (121541)

      Old twitch games are mostly garbage. Old strategy games can be pretty good (one the kids are old enough to be interested). Master of Orion 2 remains a great 4X game, for example, with a simple UI and just enough resource management to be interesting. Some of the older RPGs that were more plot than grind still stand up as well.

      • by Mashdar (876825)

        MoO2 was so good I go back and play it every couple years. I was so sad when MoO3 came out and was garbage (IMO).

        My favorite part of MoO2 nowadays is that you can keep the entire CD on your HDD and just tell it that the directory is your CD drive directory. Easy to keep the game backed up (unlike some other aging titles)!

    • by slapout (93640)

      simplistic, clumsy, with limited reflex-based gaming choices at best.

      I think I'm going to go play some Tetris...

    • Go to some abandonware site, play a few of these ancient games...frankly, they rather stink. I mean, they were great in the day, no question.

      I don't need to. With very few exceptions, 80's and 90's games are the only ones I play. Every once in a while I make an exception for something modern, like the Mass Effect series or the Arkham Asylum / Arkham City. The rest of the time, I'm playing games like the Genesis Sonic games, Mega Man (I really enjoyed the new Mega Man 9 and Mega Man 10 that Capcom released), Contra, Super Mario Bros, the original Legend of Zelda, Phantasy Star...in terms of computers games I tend to bust out the classic advent

      • by narcc (412956)

        With very few exceptions, 80's and 90's games are the only ones I play.

        Really, anything made after 1977 is lame modern crap.

        Fancy new games like NES Open Tournament are just pale imitations of games like Apawamis Golf on the PDP-10. If you thought Moral Combat was controversial, you haven't played Dr. Sluggo's Torture Chamber!

        Did anyone ever make a sci-fi survival horror game that could compete with Jeff Shaevel's Chase?

  • In before (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stigmato (843667) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:53PM (#45799849)
    Everyone without kids replies saying they'll never let their child do anything but play outside, do arts and crafts, read books and be the pinnacle of amazing parenting while still working a full time job and have a rich adult social life.
    • Well, my parents managed to pull off getting me to play outside, do arts and crafts, and read books while my dad worked a full time job. I don't know what the measure of a "rich adult social life" is, but they had friends and went out to eat occasionally, so I assume they were there. Same with their parents.

      If I can't find a way to do so when the time comes, then I guess I did something wrong. I'm sorry for your apparent failure though that you think such things unreachable.
    • Everyone without kids replies saying they'll never let their child do anything but play outside

      Especially when urban and suburban environments aren't designed to expose children to a lot of quality outside time. They often aren't pedestrian-friendly, and a child might not have a playmate within reasonable walking distance. Parents are afraid [minnpost.com] of vehicular traffic, abduction by strangers, and abduction by the ex-spouse. Nor can parents with full-time jobs always manage to find stay-at-home neighbors to supervise their kids' outdoor play.

  • I agree with your goals, but here are some of facts as I see them:

    (1) Kids of this age do not have the higher thinking skills to appreciate sacrificing something for longer term gain.
    (2) If you force them use an outdated or substandard system, they will resent you, be humiliated with their friends (or more likely, lie about it to prevent that).
    (3) You're not really teaching them anything useful in a practical sense. Yes, I love the Atari 2600 too. It is completely irrelevant to anyone born after 1990
  • BIt of a pointless exercise this, I grew up playing Sonic, Gods, Falcon 16 CGA because that's what I had, why push my childhood on my kids? Nostalgia blinds us to the games we play (although some of them are truely classics imho).

    When my daughter is ready, she can play games, but like other posters have said, I want her outside getting hurt playing in dirt first. She has her entire life to sit behind an organic stretchable LED display.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Different generations. I played Space Invaders, Defender, Robotron, Battlezone, and I have an original stand-up Tempest game in the garage. (The electronics work but the monitor is kaput, and you can't find color vector monitors anymore.

      • by Maquis196 (535256)

        Be honest, youve got some great memories :).

        It's probably why I spend half my gaming life in dosbox and wine playing older 90's games.

        • by roc97007 (608802)

          Be honest, youve got some great memories :).

          It's probably why I spend half my gaming life in dosbox and wine playing older 90's games.

          Um, it's true. And I'm aware of Mame, and intend to gut the Tempest box and replace it with a low end PC at some point with a USB spinner and try to get it working again.

  • You insensitive clod.

    We played Monopoly, Parcheesi, Canasta, Rook and the like, but only when it wasn't nice outside.
    • by the_rajah (749499) * on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:05PM (#45799981) Homepage
      I also had access to my grandparents collection of National Geographics going back to the 1920's.. I could get lost for hours reading those on a rainy day. Then there was my ham radio station, mostly home built while I was in high school. I lived in the country and had my own .22 rifle from the time I was 10 and could go outside and do some "plinking" even though there weren't other kids to play with. I didn't need video/electronic games. I know I'm old, so excuse me for thinking that video games are way over-rated.
  • by ledow (319597) on Friday December 27, 2013 @04:59PM (#45799919) Homepage

    Games are games.

    Just had a Christmas party with some 20-somethings where we all played Gauntlet II on the big TV. It was a blast. None of them had ever played it before, but it was about how you play it - not what you're playing.

    In the same way that I don't mind loading up a Speccy emulator and then playing some title from Steam and then going back to a DOSBox title from GOG.com and then playing my family at Mario on Wii U, games are very variable and enjoyable across all eras and platforms.

    The problem is people who think one is "better" than the other and trying to enforce that opinion on others. Imagine trying to do that with movies - making your kids sit through The Goonies or whatever just because YOU enjoyed it. I bet you can find half-a-dozen people from your school year that also hated such a film. Similarly, people play games that suit them.

    This is also why it's so difficult to get someone who "isn't into" games into games... they aren't into it for a reason, or it would have taken their interest years ago. Sure, they might have one particular title that they like, but chances are that even if they like a game, it'll be one you don't like. This is why every year or so, the "how do I get my girlrfriend into games" question pops up on here... show them a couple, if they don't like them, then they don't like them, and chances are that they won't like the same games as you.

    Hell, my brother and I were from the era of "the family computer", used to play together all the time (sharing a keyboard!) and are both massive gamers still. Even we don't share the enjoyment of every title we owned - there were lots of games he loved that I can't stand and vice versa.

    Don't force your opinions on your kids - let them play what they want (to the normal parenting extents!). And I'm sure if they get into a family tradition of, say, playing Monopoly at Christmas, they'll get into a family tradition of playing some Bomberman when you dig it out and put it on the TV for them all to play. But that's got infinitely more to do with "playing together" as it has the particular game.

    You want your kids to play games with you? Do that. Don't worry about what the game is - it can be one of their or one of yours.

    You want your kids to learn how to play old games? You might as well try to convince them to put all their MP3's onto cassette.

  • My collection starts at NES/Master system and includes "everything but xbox" (not really, but close). My kids are ages 4,4,7, and 8.
    There is always an assortment of consoles attached to the TV so they have the opportunity to experience whatever they want, they will pick up just about anything, though they usually stick with PS3 disney Infinity or Skylanders or the Tell-tale Lego games
    Mostly the 8 year old prefers PC games (including emulators), because you don't have to share them. Consoles are a commun
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      My collection starts at NES/Master system and includes "everything but xbox" (not really, but close)

      Ironically, the Xbox is one of the best ways to fill the holes with emulation, because there's so many emulators and so many controllers (and controller adapters.)

  • Read "Ready Player One".
    Ponder the world that book portrays, and think that's the world your gaming children will live in if everybody plays games.
    Then ask your question again.
  • My two boys were born in the early 2000's. Through MAME and other emulators they were exposed to just about all major platforms and games from 1980-2000, but the only ones that they were attracted to enough to learn the controls were:
    * Super Nintendo: Super Mario World
    * Nintendo 64: Mario Kart

    As far as legacy platforms, there was no traction on basic HTML or Basic but Javascript was enough of a hit to keep their attention for a while.

    Two years ago Spore was the game of choice, and today they play Minecraft

  • by matria (157464) on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:03PM (#45799965)
    All three of my boys learned to touch-type quite well playing the old Hero's Quest game. So there is definitely some benefit at least to the old text-based games. "Pick up rock" "Throw rock" and the faster you got at typing the better you took out the monsters.
  • by hypergreatthing (254983) on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:04PM (#45799971)

    Just let them play ET all day long. Pretty soon they'll be great at outdoor sports.

  • old games (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:15PM (#45800073) Journal

    While daughter was growing up, we had a strict no-console policy at home. Yes, I know, I was a horrible parent blah blah. Her friends had consoles of various types, as did her grandmother, and she was free to play them as long as it was at someone else's house. What I was trying to avoid was the all encompassing time-sink effect that I had observed had happened to my nephews. The ban did not apply to PC games, so she spent a lot of time growing up with Oblivion, Railroad Tycoon, The Sims, Spore and the like. But she spent most of her online time researching stuff and reading news. At one point she started asking me to find the collections How It's Made, Dirty Jobs, How Art Made the World, Mythbusters. Her interests would fluctuate but were always about real things. Currently she's reading and watching everything she can find about orcas. (Apparently, we're never supposed to step foot in a Sea World ever again...)

    Somewhere along the line she developed a taste for things retro -- charlie chaplin movies, swing music, early roll film cameras. She said she wanted to buy a Nintendo 64. Why? Because it's cool. Shrug. Ok. I said go ahead, it's your money. This was our first console, purchased in early 2013.

    She had to do a lot of research to figure out what all the parts were, and what was affordable, and eventually had enough pieces to make a working system. She's collected six games now, and plays with them once or twice a week. I get the idea that putting the system together was more fun than actually playing it, but again, it was her money. So I guess I'd say, she was drawn to older games. But it wasn't me who led her to them. Besides the Mechwarrior series, I haven't really played games much. I tried Warcraft once and got so heavily addicted that I neglected to bathe or eat. I finally gave the disc to daughter and told her to hide it. I still don't know where it is, and I haven't gamed since.

  • by zarmanto (884704) on Friday December 27, 2013 @05:16PM (#45800087) Journal

    I have five kids, (ranging from three to eleven years old) and while they do sometimes play video games, (the four year old is almost better at MarioKart Wii than me, and he's only been playing it for less than a year!) my focus for them this year has been primarily Legos. We made a point of scavenging all of my old Legos from my parents house just a couple of months ago, and we purchased hundreds of dollars worth of new Legos for Christmas. And you know what? While only a couple of them have had any kind of a lasting interest in video games, every single one of them is perfectly happy to sit down with a pile of bricks in front of them, for hours on end.

    I think there is just something intrinsically satisfying about building something with your own hands. Legos capture that in a simplified "child friendly" form like nothing else I've experienced in my own lifetime. So no: I won't focus specifically on those "vintage" video games... but I will be searching the web for PDFs of my old Lego kit instruction manuals. (So far, I've only found one... the official Lego site doesn't go far enough back in their archive. Yet.)

  • Don't worry about UI abstraction and other conveniences. If they are curious and bright enough, they will muddle through it and grasp the underlying structure. If they can't or won't do that, then they would never be able to develop the next generation.

    I never looked deeply at mechanical calculators or punch cards, and I am doing just fine with what we have now. The stuff you know and love today will be museum pieces to your kids. That's just how it is.

  • I'm not going to "start" my kids on games. That's such a strange idea. They're going to play however they want to play (within reason), that's what play is for!

  • A lot of the older Atari era games are far too solo, and don't allow for family bonding. Back when I was a kid this was done with board games, but there's no reason why Mario can't do the exact same thing. It doesn't really matter if it's a Video Game, or just playing Catch. As long the Video Games aren't being used as a baby sitter, and the game helps the family communicate. My daughters current baby sitter is her grand pa, jinga blocks, and Japanese educational tv programming. Video games are still a few
  • by santiago (42242) on Friday December 27, 2013 @06:12PM (#45800591) Homepage

    Before my daughter gets to ride in a fancy-pants self-driving car, she's going to start in a Model T, with a steering rod and a hand-cranked starter. And that's only if she's mastered horse-riding first! Also, we're only speaking to her in Latin and Ancient Greek for now, gradually working our way up to modern English and Spanish by the time she's around 10. She's gonna love some of these Jacquard Loom games I've printed out from an abandonware punch-card site...

  • If you want to introduce them to games, use board games. At least that requires some imagination, strategy and actual thought process.

    I bought Robot Turtles for my niece. It claims to teach the fundamental thought constructs for programming, which may be true, but really, it's just basic logic, critical thinking and forethought in general -- important life skills that everyone should be taught from a young age.

    My sister is a rarity these days -- she is a stay at home mom of two kids, her husband earns a m

  • I don't think the question as posed is particularly valid. It's not about "classic" vs "newer." It's not even about games. It's about the philosophy of parenting and how it might involve various aspects of our culture (wherever we are, and however we define it). We each need to make our own decisions, as parents, in terms of the types of games that we might want our progeny to sample, and they are going to be derived from who we are as parents and as people. Do we wish to enforce our ideas of what games/mo

  • Otherwise they'll be driving down the center of the road!

  • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Friday December 27, 2013 @07:01PM (#45801047)

    Kids are natural born scientists. Give them some rules and they'll begin exploring the limits of reality, authority, or the game's (possibly quirky) physics engine.

    In addition to playing the games I teach youngsters how to write a little code to help with their mathematics and make games, game mods, and graphical programs -- Hey, if Alice can write a program to do long division and show the work graphically for her to "cheat" at her homework, then she knows long division inside and out. If Bob can program a ballistic projectile targeting system then he'll ace his physics test. If Mal can exploit a bug in the game's physics to make Bob and Alice cry foul then they've all learned a valuable life lesson -- Feelings get less hurt in a game than reality.

    Kids can craft 2D & 3D architecture, or even planetary systems in the virtual worlds. They can learn to use evolution as not just a theory but as a tool to create all the various desired AI behaviours for a game's enemies without having to write additional lines of code. Most game AI is nothing like machine intelligence, AAA games allocate only 1% to 2% of the asset/processing/memory budget but if you don't care about pushing the graphics envelope then the embarrassingly parallelizable n.nets can exhibit some neat emergent behaviours. When Evolution vs Creationism comes up my niece laughs and says, "Evolution is real, I use it at my uncle's house all the time."

    As for classic games? It's not mandatory, but I happen to have a collection. They're good for youngsters who are honing hand-eye coordination: Intellivision's dial/knob controller is still great for pong. The Atari 2600 joystick sucks for kids though, fortunately you can just plug a Sega Genesis controller into it and it'll work great. Young kids do best with high contrast games with simple objectives, but they quickly outgrow this phase. There's an unaddressed gap between Atari and NES where a minimalist style would be great for developing young minds... Some indie game developers are finding and exploring this niche.

    As for the violence thing? We'll I watched Tom & Jerry and Loony Tunes, I didn't turn out to be racist or violent. There's no evidence to support the claim that media causes violent behaviour. Competition, maybe, but that's a healthy beneficial trait. I gave my little brother the mouse to shoot Doom's demons and open the doors while I controlled the movement and lined up shots for him when he was under a year old. He turned out to love games and people, and became a pacifist...

    One thing to watch out for is isolationism. Introversion needn't be deemed harmful, but exposure to social situations is good. Kids just love having something they imagined come to life for all to see, so consider helping them make a simple game or game-mod with any of the freely available engines as an ongoing weekend collaboration. They can take breaks or trips to the park to play hide and seek, Frisbee, or other sports to work out some energy and make concentration on collaborative engineering tasks easier.

    Most modern games (and kids' shows) I consider just bubble-gum or mental candy. There's a difference between playing a game designed to entertain you the longest and playing a game designed that lets you learn or leverage real world skills; Pokemon grind-fest is the former, Minecraft and Halo world editing is the latter. I persuade kids to eat their mental vegetables by having them work on or in a game together towards a common goal. Have them all team up and strategize against me in a 8-way classic Doom Deathmatch, or have teams build new co-op levels then playtest them against each other -- BTW, have you seen all the free zany and even cartoony mods for Doom and Quake "source ports" now? They've even got Monopoly and Clue clones. If anyone says: "Wouldn't it be cool if ___ in the game?", I write it down. Have the kids pick an idea amongst themselves, then help them build it. Combine that with my 3D UI, OS dev, electronics, and robotics projects we've g

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle

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