So, some of you may have read the post I wrote last week, called ‘Why Gaming Matters’.
In it, I complained that child literacy promoters too often present their task in terms of luring children away from video games, into the rich cultural world of books. I argued that video games have had just as much influence on me creatively as reading, if not more. They opened up my mind to a whole world of possibilites. At a young age, they empowered me, fired my imagination, and made me enthusiastic about art, storytelling and music.
Here’s the money shot paragraph again:
‘Video games are a fantastic opportunity. Rather than trying to prise joypads from children’s enraptured grasp, we need to shed all this pig-ignorant stuffed-shirt prescriptivism and adapt our education system to reflect genuine interests and needs. With not even 5 hours a week, but just 5 hours a term for every child, spent on encouraging ways in which they can critically and creatively engage with interactive media, we could lever disproportionately grand benefits to hundreds of thousands of children’s intellectual and artistic development. Poets with books to flog may huff and puff about children reacting with indifference, but it seems to me that if you want to establish a dialogue with people, it’s only polite to find out what they’d like to talk about.’
But oh, a mere week later, and – what’s this? A report from the EU which concludes that ‘computer games are good for children and teach them essential life skills’? A study which ‘called for schools across Europe to consider using games for educational purposes and urged parents to take a greater interest in them’? A study which argues that video games ‘stimulate learning of facts and skills such as strategic thinking, creativity, cooperation and innovative thinking, which are important skills in the information society’? JUST LIKE I SAID?
To be honest, I feel slightly wrongfooted. I was looking forward to stridently asserting my maverick opinions for a good few months more, impressing various industry luminaries with my prescience and basically coming off like a visionary. Now I’m just hitching a ride on an increasingly crowded bandwagon.
BUT I WAS ONBOARD A WEEK EARLY, OKAY?