Re: DSM: Video Games

From: Ardeshir Mehta (ardeshir@sympatico.ca)
Date: Thu May 03 2001 - 18:42:40 EDT


Hi there everyone:

Joseph Moore wrote:

> My 5 year old is having his visiting week at Diablo Valley School this week.
> So far, (and this is hear-say, if completely believable hear-say) he has
> done little but sit in the 'tech room' watching the older boys play video
> games. He's even started lobbying for a Game Boy and Nintendo (which, at a
> buck a week allowance, should take him a while to save up for ;-)
>
> Anyway, it's always a test when everybody else's concern suddenly becomes
> your own. So far, it's mostly amusing to me - but if it went on for months,
> well, it could require a little more bravery and trust on my part.
>
> On the plus side, our 7 year old just sort of decided it was time to read.
> Been carrying around a story book at home, sounding out words. No muss, no
> fuss!!
>
> Joseph

I am a bit puzzled by the bad rap video games have got.
Isn't it a fact that many skills are taught using video
simulation, including aircraft flying? Before I got into video
games, I used to try and visualise flying. I did this for
decades: I am now 57 years of age. I have never actually
flown a plane -- could never afford the lessons. But until
just a few years ago, when I got a flight simulator video
game (an F-22 stealth fighter simulation, in fact), all I had
was my visualisation. I thought I might be a good pilot with
so much visualisation, and indeed in the sky I was, but
couldn't for the life of me land the plane (in the simulation)
for weeks! But with practice I eventually got so good at
landing the plane (in the sim) that I could, after several
months, even approach the runway almost vertically, pull up
at the last minute and then land the plane safely.

Of course I don't know how I would fare in a *real* plane
-- yet. But I am pretty sure my efforts at overcoming the
difficulties of flying and landing the plane in the sim will
have had *some* positive effect.

Visualisation is basically just a kind of video game one
"plays" in one's head. I also used to visualise composing
music (I can't play a single instrument -- except the stereo).
Eventually I thought I'd be able to compose some good
pieces. But how could I play them? I did not even know any
musicians. But when I got a computer music-notation
program and a synthesiser, I found I could indeed compose
good pieces, and did in fact compose an album for the harp,
which I have recorded on tape. So the technique obviously
does work.

I am not in the least worried that both my boys (now 12 and
14) spend hours playing video games. I think they have
honed their skills tremedously as a result. My older boy
Cyrus, in fact, has even invented a way to defeat stealth in
war planes and the like, using ideas he got from playing video
games! And he did that when he was just twelve. Imagine: a
12-year-old has made the half-billion-dollar B-2 bomber
obsolete! This is the power of video games. (Just my two
bits, of course). His idea can be found at my home page
-- URL give below -- in a downloadable .pdf file entitled
"Anti-Stealth Technology".

Ardeshir Mehta,
Ottawa, Canada.

Home Page: <http://homepage.mac.com/ardeshir/education.html>

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