I Facetimed with one of my good friends yesterday who is serving in the Navy, and is on base in Texas. I was really appreciative of the fact I was able to see him and talk to him after so long, thanks to the apple application. He just recently completed boot camp, and is stationed on base, until going to another Marine boot camp. After completing that he will ship out. I asked him if he was scared, seeing as, I never could imagine being shot at, and he told me, to my surprise, that he has played enough Call of Duty to feel comfortable with the different tactics he will have to use while he is active. I couldn’t imagine how that could have prepared him, but then he explained that when he doesn’t approach a field correctly in the game, he will die, however, he gets a second opportunity to try the approach again. Essentially, you can learn from your mistakes, and in a way it is good practice. He has played paintball and video games as a way to mentally and physically prepare him. Technology has aided in having him practice what he will really be doing when he serves and I think that’s so admirable. He said that some soldiers who have post traumatic stress will go through therapy, and eventually play a video game to help aid them in recovery. After the game Call of Duty: Black Ops was released, it had been played world wide, equivalent to 68,000 years. Can you imagine??

Daphne Bavelier argues that in moderation video games are actually extremely beneficial. Perhaps not so much to our health, but mentally. The first argument that people make is that playing video games is that it hurts their eye sight, however, in her study she shows that a person who plays 4 or 5 hours a week are able to retrain their brain to see better. The second argument is that attention and the ability to multitask are worse in those who play video games. For example, in Call of Duty, the ability to focus and track what is going on around them. By watching her video, in the link below you will be able to see her examples and explanation of how video games are beneficial and it is really insightful.

My brother, Richard, is a pilot. He used to tell us about different simulations he was put through. When you are trained as a pilot, you don’t always experience the different conditions that you will be put under while you’re doing the real thing. My brother said its important to factor in things like the wind, storm, turbulence, or any other mishaps that could affect your flight. He has been in a few flight simulators that even accounted for an engine failure. The benefits of this approach are clear. If he crashed, or doesn’t angle the plane correctly, people die in the simulation, but not in real life. He is able to learn the appropriate way to handle all different issues he could encounter without ever really being put in serious damage. This is a really smart way to use technology and reap the benefits of it.

Daphne makes a very good point when addressing what kind of games she should design that will be both educational and interesting, because nobody wants to eat chocolate covered broccoli. The truth is though, video games could help everyone. The older generation, the younger, and the ones serving.