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China has forbidden under-18s from playing games for more than three hours/week (reuters.com)
1030 points by extesy 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 1053 comments



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I have mixed feelings about this.

Younger me learned a lot of problem solving skills and most importantly spent a lot of time learning how to read by playing RPGs and games that required lots of reading. My reading skills would not have been as advanced if i wasn't playing text heavy games that had a lot of plot like Square Enix games and the CRPGs of the time.

Modern games though are clearly designed to get you as addicted as possible and to play as long as possible to an extent that made the old school 90s RPGs grinds look tame and mild. (the grinds in those games basically existing to make sure you had to play long enough to not be able to return it to the store or beat it via rental)

Modern UX of games is designed so that you dont have to really read or understand the game mechanics even to be able to play and get into that feedback loop. To the point where when a game comes along like Dark Souls that asks you to learn the game systems to beat it, gamers go gah gah over "how hard" it is.


My 6yo son really, really wanted to play Breath of the Wild. He loves Zelda, my wife loves Zelda, my best friend's girlfriend is over the moon with Zelda, etc. I always played Link in Mario Kart, to the point where, when he was 2 or 3, he was in Best Buy with my wife and saw a Breath of the Wild Switch case and said "is daddy!"

Of course, after a few requests a year and a bit ago, my wife had to give him an ultimatum: "I'm not going to come over here every time there's words. If you want to play this game, you have to read it yourself."

Apparently, it worked; he's about to go into Grade 2 but already has incredibly strong reading skills, including about a grade 2.5 reading level in French (we're English-speakers but he's in French immersion).

I didn't like how much Switch he was playing last year when the pandemic started and schools closed, but he wouldn't have learned to read nearly as fast if it weren't for Breath of the Wild. He seems to be well ahead of his classmates, and he's only getting stronger (and more independent as a result) as time goes by.

We're pretty particular about what games he plays, but the ones he's interested in typically have a substantial amount of reading involved (compared to, say, Doom when I was a teenager).

I'm excited that he'll be able to (if not willing to) play my old favorites; Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana, to name a few. I guess we'll see if he's interested.


That's so funny this exact thing happened to me at the same age, and with Zelda as well. I was 6 years old when Ocarina of Time came out and had this exact experience of my parents getting fed up with reading the text to me and being forced to read it myself. I definitely think it helped me become a strong reader early in life. Good for you, I think this is a good idea.


What other games do you recommend? …uhhh asking for my 6 year old son who loves Super Mario 3D World… Zelda BoW is my next purchase

I fortunately bought a used Wii U bundle with a stash of games and controllers off eBay pre pandemic “for the kids” and I realized while playing with them that I far prefer them playing games than staring at the TV. We are talking and laughing and arguing and explaining the whole time during Mario. Kids TV shows just seem to send kids to this zombie state. I hadn’t considered the reading aspect of certain games.


The Labo sets are a blast, although not much reading, but good hand eye coordination


Every modern gamer knows that this is an exception nowadays most kids just want to play a looter shooter point click rinse repeat for a thousand hours


Yes Zelda BotW being the 33rd(1) most sold video game ever shows that this is an exception!

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_gam...


Identical thing happened between me and my younger brother. He'd use me to read game text to him for a while until I got fed up with it. I had learned to read from the game text myself. (The game was an old space RPG-like game called Escape Velocity.)


I think it really depends. I have way too many personal anecdotes of people I knew from back in the day (middle/high school) who gamed like 8 hours a day. Most of those people were _addicted_, and a handful went on to drop out of college and aren't really doing that great today. They still play 8+ hours a day..

I remember I'd ask them if they wanted to study, or if they want to go hiking or do something IRL, but they'd always refuse and prefer to play some MMO and get high level loot there. Personally, the people I used to play some MMOs with were huge into merchanting and controlling the in-game economies, and I think there's a different complexity involved in running spreadsheets and following trends vs following what an addon tells you to press next. These guys were much older than me, and they taught me a lot about basic economics. Most games are designed to have people keep playing an endless grind, but purely focusing on in-game money and controlling the economy was not something the games would have designed by default.

I think by default, most young people would benefit (esp mental health wise) by having their video game usage cut down. As I grow older, it is insane how cigarettes or gambling aren't the only addictive things. Kids are exposed to it from a young age by trading their time for something meaningless. And I'd argue that people like you and me who feel they learned problem solving or how economies work (through gaming as kids) are quite rare.


As a kid I got into Eve Online (an MMO) and started to learn to program front end by creating Eve related websites for in-game currency (yes the TOS allows it). My code got forked and I still see it being used.

With the right game there is so much opportunity for growth in transferrable skills. It would have been hard to motivate myself to learn about databases, creating backend services, using SSO for login, rate limits when you're trying to scrape mass amounts of data, validating inputs to guard against bad actors, reading api docs, etc all to help make more in-game currency by exploiting inefficiencies in the world market to make profits from trading or creating internal tools. I learned about chain of command, opsec, and dealing with HR within my "guild."

Minecraft also helped to that regard with creating mods & server plugins for friends.

Sadly I think these opportunities are decreasing with the shift to mobile gaming. How are you supposed to mod a mobile game? How are you supposed to open the game's jar file and overwrite some files when you can't modify the download from the iOS store? How are you supposed to play with spreadsheets on an ipad?

I can see how my unhealthy 8-9hr/day addiction during my teens could have turned out terrible if I was born in this current generation. Thankfully it built a good foundation for a career.

I don't get kids these days with being able to play mindless mobile games. The closest thing to a game I have on my phone to a game is AnkiDroid (spaced repetition notecard software).


I had a friend decide to quit high school over Everquest.

I love gaming but I saw what early MMOs did and it freaked me out so bad I never touched WOW, but did play others such as Guild Wars, POE and such.

I had such fun with early MUDs and couldn't wait until real-time MP gaming was possible. When it got here it was immediately defied. Man Diablo 2 was so much fun, and I made so much money, I wish my kids could experience that, instead of games being shitty and costing exorbitant amounts.

Now it's all just a cash grab/casino/skinner box/insert evil


This reminds me of when I realized Diablo 3 could be completely automated after seeing a wow bot mining in action. Some of the bots I was running were playing better than humans on the top of the charts meanwhile my friends were spending their entire life trying to keep up with my bots.


Ah I had an older friend who ran EverQuest 2 bots and traded the rare item drops or something for money (rmt). He was poorer so it's how he afforded playing other games.


Yep, besides learning servers in Minecraft, I learned logic gates and very fundamental Computer Science concepts from Redstone when I was a kid. My parents were always good at regulating, but there were definitely weeks I'd play for hours.


If someone is putting off other important things in their life to play video games then that's definitely a problem. However, if people want to set aside 100% of their free time to play video games, I don't think that's any worse than other things people do with their time that we (as a society) hold in high regard such as becoming a chess grandmaster, practicing violin 12 hours / day, watching football games nonstop, etc. None of these things are actually "productive," the sole purpose is to spend time having fun.


Struggling to come up with a logical counter argument but learning a musical instrument is deeply satisfy as is listening to someone live who is good. Also maybe just in terms of being attractive to other people saying you are a level 122 mage in world of ever crack does not quite have the same allure as being able to captivate a room with your piano playing.

Edit when I was about 12 I started playing the guitar non stop, I remember clearly thinking to myself this is way better than playing the super nes. I didn't touch games for another five years, I gave Goldeneye a go at a friend's house and reignighted that addiction.


> Also maybe just in terms of being attractive to other people saying you are a level 122 mage in world of ever crack does not quite have the same allure as being able to captivate a room with your piano playing.

That is really the main gist of it, women don't care much about video gaming and therefore society condemns it.

Men on the other hand will probably be way more excited about your skills and endeavours in a video game than your ability to play piano, you can listen to the best pianists in the world at any time but sharing stories and thoughts about games is something you need friends for. Evidence: There are tons of discussions about games and gaming everywhere, in youtube channels, outside classrooms etc, while basically nobody talks about how piano practice went. Piano is good to show that you are fit and attract a mate, it isn't good to make friends. And therefore piano is seen as a noble hobby while gaming is seen as a waste of time.

Even listening to music is seen as better than gaming, so the mastery or creative or productive aspects has nothing to do with it.


As a man, I don't want to hear about your video-game exploits either. I play, but I definitely don't want to define my personality or hear/tell stories about it.

I think the difference is that a video-game is (as you said and viewed by me at least) as mostly consumptive rather than creative or constructive. I'm playing a game I know I'm dicking around and wasting time, the same as if I'm watching a movie or (even) reading a book for fun.

I'd say that some games are more constructive, like Minecraft or other games where you're building something or creating a story yourself... but I think what's being targeted is largely RNG lootbox online grind games. There's also an argument that top tier professional gaming isn't really that much different than being good at some other sport... and that's kind of an unfortunate side-effect.

The title is a bit misleading as there's no provision for 'offline' games.

Culturally for me... regulating media time seems like a parent's responsibility, and maybe this does give parents the tools to do that as the child could use their parent's account with their permission fairly easily.

I'd be against a similar thing where I live, but as I am not a Chinese citizen nor do I plan on living there, I can't say my opinion is worth much.

However, I think people are making this out to be much worse than it is as there's (for a long time) been a provision that children under a certain age can't sign up for online accounts (in the US) without a parent's explicit permission (with the implication that that the parent takes responsibility for monitoring the child's activity). This makes that implication more explicit as the child must use the parent's account most of the time.

This is one way of solving the 'online games have predatory practices against children / teens,' I don't think this is how I'd solve it, but again, not really my business.


So I ski. I don’t really define my life or personality around skiing, but I would be a little miffed if I could only ski for 3 hours a week in the winter because the government thinks I’m not being productive enough.

For children, it’s common to participate in sports for way more than 3 hours a week, and yet the government does not feel inclined to involve itself there.

Allowing leisure time to be dictated by the government is not a good path to go down.

No matter the health benefits, allowing people to go down a suboptimal path that makes them happier is the essence of a free society.


Actually the Chinese government is cracking down on excessive homework and after-school tutoring programs since they create an overly competitive academic environment and prevent kids from participating in activities like sports. So they are getting involved there. https://asiatimes.com/2021/07/chinas-private-tutor-ban-kills...


That piece reads like a big propaganda ad it says they want kids to not be in school so that they can "play more and work out" Which is exactly what the government is banning playing. Seems to me that they just want these kids to work or "help out on the farm" as Americans say. Which is totally fine with me humans should start working as kids to prepare them doesn't make sense that you wait till you're 20 to start working.


Seems to you based on what?


It's not really about women. The levels in video games are manufactured goals. Making music sound good is an innate goal. In the same way making a beautiful build in Minecraft is also an innate goal and so is finding a creative way to optimize your factory in Factorio, which is why that's a lot more impressive to people outside the game than becoming a level 121 mage.


There is no difference really, becoming level 121 isn't a difficulty goal and doesn't matter but getting into masters league in Starcraft or similar will impress a ton of people since it is really hard. Similarly nobody will care about you spending a year learning Piano if can't play anything decent afterwards. And most people who practice instruments don't learn how to play well so their efforts were in vain, and unlike the level 121 mage they didn't even have fun doing it.


Getting into master's league on StarCraft is only impressive to people who play StarCraft. Being able to play beautiful songs on the piano is impressive to everyone.

You're comparing achieving a goal to working towards it. It will take roughly three to four years to reach master's league on StarCraft for even talented people. Meanwhile, almost everyone can play the piano or the guitar well enough to impress laypeople after 2 years of lesser daily effort.


> Meanwhile, almost everyone can play the piano or the guitar well enough to impress laypeople after 2 years of lesser daily effort.

I don't see this. Lots of kids were forced to learn an instrument but I don't know many who plays an instrument well enough that anyone would want to listen to them. Sure people get a bit impressed that you can play anything at all, but it isn't like they find it enjoyable to listen to it.

> Getting into master's league on StarCraft is only impressive to people who play StarCraft

This isn't true, most gamers who are loosely aware of what StarCraft is would be very impressed. Like people read articles about starcraft pros and talked about how impressive/insane those were without ever playing the game. Being really good at any game at all will impress a lot of people and especially so for the more famous ones.

But of course they would just be impressed and end it at that. Similarly being able to play piano really well would just impress people, very few actually wants to listen to piano music as an activity. Piano might impress a few more, but I doubt it would make you more friends and conversations than being good at Starcraft, at least among young men. And if we instead take some more popular game today like Fortnite then 100% being good at Fortnite will be way more important for your male social life than being good at an instrument.


Kids that are forced to do piano once a day do not expend anywhere near the effort that someone trying to get to master's league on StarCraft does.

It's not true that few people want to listen to someone's music as an activity. Just go to most parties where someone can play the guitar or piano well and if there is such an instrument you'll see people play them. Happens very often in my friend groups.


A guy playing guitar surrounded by women, yes that is even a meme, but I've never seen that happen at a party with mostly men nor have I seen a woman play an instrument at a party. It seems to mainly be a way for men to demonstrate value to women. There are of course other situations, but this is what I've seen and this is what most of the internet have seen since it is even a meme as I said. Example of guitar guy meme:

https://everythreeweekly.com/2013/12/that-guy-who-brings-aco...

Another example:

https://old.reddit.com/r/starterpacks/comments/76k1c0/guy_th...

To me it doesn't look like people appreciate them, at least not the men.


No, not surrounded by women. Just guys, one or two with a guitar, playing music while the rest sing along. Sometimes next to a campfire with beers in hand. It's genuinely very fun.

I'm sure some people try to force it and it gets annoying. Humans love being musical in groups though and always have.


> > Getting into master's league on StarCraft is only impressive to people who play StarCraft

> This isn't true, most gamers who are loosely aware of what StarCraft is would be very impressed.

"most gamers".

Q. E. D.


I play piano too, and also find it deeply satisfying but I also have friends who find playing video games deeply satisfying and I don't think one is worse than the other. As I am not a professional musician at the end of the day I only do it for my own enjoyment and if viewed through the lens of "productivity" it is a complete waste of time, anyone could just find the songs I play on spotify, played by someone far better than me.


The difference, for me, is consumption vs production.

If you spend tons of time learning an instrument, you will probably find yourself interesting in creating music. Maybe it's not going to be playing in a band, or recording albums. It might just be playing music around the campfire. But that is an activity in which you are producing something, bringing music into the world. I feel the same about any of "the arts". You're inherently going to be engaged in the act of creating something.

With gaming, consumption is more the rule. You play a level, a campaign, a story. If you create something, bring something new into the world, it is most likely going to be external to the game (like the posters who mention that they built websites and utils for their favorite games).

There are obviously exceptions on both sides. Games like Minecraft, Factorio, etc are obviously creative. Games like Roblox or Mario Maker allow people to create content and put it into the game. Game review videos, Twitch streaming, etc, allow people to build content with games at the center. These are creative/productive pursuits, and I think they have some inherent value (even if it's kind of a bummer that these creations are largely limited to being enjoyed within the game).

As an exception on the musical side, you could, for example, learn guitar exclusively through Rocksmith, and only ever use your guitar as a controller for a game.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with using your free time to do "consumptive" stuff. I enjoy gaming here and there. I listen to music. I watch TV. But for me personally, I find that I get a lot more satisfaction out of "creative" activities.

One last point - you get good at what you spend your time doing. I tend to really enjoy games that ask a lot of skill from their players - roguelikes, tight platformers, Souls games, Doom on nightmare mode, etc. But when I finish a game, I no longer have any use for the skills I developed. Whereas skills I develop in the pursuit of something creative/productive can be used in all kinds of situations for the rest of my life.

Edit: I started rambling and forgot the point. With all of this said - I would never want the government to limit how I spend my time. That's a job for parents when you're young, and it's a job for your own sense of what makes you happy when you're an adult. These kinds of lessons aren't things that can be downloaded into you from outside. Realizations about what makes a person fulfilled tend, in my experience, to come from within.


Totally agreed. Paradox is that most sports are basically same as non-exceptional games you said, but it treated very well from society.


That's true - although the physical activity from sports is probably a net good for _players_ on average. I enjoy lifting weights, but that doesn't really fall into either of my categories - I'm not really consuming or creating anything when I'm lifting. You could argue maybe that I'm 'consuming' my workout plan (which I didn't create). Or that I'm 'creating' muscle, but that's a bit of a stretch :)

Either way though, I agree that _watching_ sports TV is firmly in the "consumption" category.


There is a real difference between the two. The primary goal of playing an instrument is to make something that sounds good. The goals of video games are generally manufactured.

The exception are games like Minecraft. But if someone builds a computer in Minecraft or finishes a beautiful build that can actually be captivating to people that don't play it.


> The primary goal of playing an instrument is to make something that sounds good.

It could be argued the primary goal of playing games is to make an experience that feels good.

Based on the popularity of let's play videos and streamers I suspect the legitimacy of both activities will converge.


The highest paid pianists in the world make roughly the same as the highest paid esports players. Both groups are exceptionally talented and driven multi-multi-millionaires with massive fan bases. These things can be attractive to some people, even if the source of the attributes is videogames over piano.


The older I get the less alluring music artists are to me. they're basically just following a set of rules tooting a horn or strumming a string. really not that impressive. especially when you pick one up and learn the magic goes away.


And if you personally don’t care about being attractive to other people for a variety of reasons?


South Korea has built a collective sense of value around Starcraft, but it feels too far removed from meatspace where we will likely occupy for a long time yet. Music seems more valuable, along with the ability to tell a good story. Sometimes they overlap. I’ve been enjoying Fire Draw Near, a podcast by Ian Lynch about the folk-music tradition of Ireland. “Work, Rest, Play, Die” by The Subhumans has melodic roots in an old tune, and he makes similar connections with “One” by Metallica.

A value-test I use is: “how useful/feasible is this activity if I don’t have a computer or similar technology that is predicated on significant infrastructure?”

Telling stories, playing physical games, making music (with our bodies, at least; humming, whistling, drumming, singing); these are elegant, as in = depth / complexity (per James Portnoy of Extra Credits, RE games).


> A value-test I use is: “how useful/feasible is this activity if I don’t have a computer or similar technology that is predicated on significant infrastructure?”

That would discount most hugely important activities like, say, medicine. In general, I don't think testing against dependency on modern infrastructure is useful, except when you're preparing for a post-apocalyptic world.


By the way, is playing chess online or against a local AI regarded as a video game or is there an exemption for traditional games? For sure Chinese professional weiqi (go) players played a lot of games online when they were younger than 18.


"Gaming addiction" is 99% depression and similar disorders. It's just not a thing on its own, it's a symptom.


The vast majority of depressed people do not demonstrate symptoms of gaming addiction. Even if one were to accept the argument that gaming addiction is always caused by underlying depression, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be considered separately from garden variety depression - there is often a nasty positive feedback loop between depressive symptoms and addictive symptoms. Besides, psychiatry in general needs to be increasing the precision of its definitions if we are going to get anywhere with new treatments.

Ironically, depression is often caused by other underlying disorders (e.g. Autism), yet if the symptoms are met there will be a comorbid diagnosis, rather than saying that depression is just a symptom. It can be difficult to disentangle cause and effect for a lot of comorbid diagnoses, and also many existing treatments address symptoms rather than causes. So the distinction you are making hardly exists in the field at large (at this time).

As for the deeper question, "could an otherwise healthy person develop gaming addiction?", I'm inclined to answer yes. It of course depends on how you define "otherwise healthy", as I'm sure we could identify genetic risk factors for gaming addiction, and I bet they will correlate with risk factors for addiction, ADHD, etc. However I've certainly seen people who were functioning well but perhaps a bit bored at school/work or a bit anxious in social situations take a complete nose dive when they got hooked on the "right" game.

I'm curious if you would say the same thing about gambling addiction?

Edit: just to add I am 100% against anything like what China is doing. I think we need more resources to help those who are spending more time gaming than they would like, which involves recognizing it as a legitimate issue. I also wouldn't mind some restrictions on the tactics game companies can take to make their games addictive, although the details of that would require careful consideration.


The vast majority of depressed people do not exhibit exactly the same symptoms.


No shit, that doesn't change anything I said. The definition of depression is hilariously vague, the last thing we should do is lump additional (relatively) well defined issues under "just depression". Besides, there are certain symptoms that do appear in a high percentage of patients, gaming addiction is most definitely not one of them. The point is not about aligning symptom profiles exactly between individuals, it's about looking at classes of symptoms across a broader population. Nobody in their right mind would say addiction is "just a symptom of depression", even though it can be correlated with depression to a similar extent as gaming addiction can be.


Undervalued comment that doesn't vibe with mainstreams interpretation of "gaming addiction." I only became "addicted" after both my parents almost died of medical conditions. It's easier to write it off as "gaming addiction" in the same way certain drugs are "gateway drugs."


If you want to get your message across to these types of people, you should first consider MMOs IRL. The friends, the responsibility, the schedules, and the socio-political skills are all very real.

It’s better to refer to hiking, etc as AFK.

Credentials: I grew up on 40+ hours a week of video games. I’ve played more than a year worth of screen time in World of Warcraft, I’ve gotten a Bachelors of Computer Engineering, and worked at Amazon for 8 years.

Meanwhile, I’ll tell you first hand, playing WoW from 16 to 19 prepared me more for being successful and getting promoted at Amazon than my 4 years of university.


This is hacker news self selection talking. The filter: The few who found computer science through gaming and made a cushion of a life which let's us the time luxury to post on an online forum in the middle of a Monday(at least it is the middle of a Monday for me). Meanwhile countless lives went into backbreaking labour work if that in the "below the API" sort of uber and amazon delivery work. These lives and their stories will rarely be represented here. I am speaking for a friend who went into construction and got injured and is on disability at the age of 35. He said he could have made so much more of his life had he not played 24/7 video games for several of his most precious formative years during high-school and early college (of which he dropped out).


To clarify, I’m not advocating for gaming-abuse. I believe in a balance.

I’m just letting the grand parent know that to get their point across better they need to realize MMOs specifically should be considered IRL and it’s better to use “AFK” or “non-digital” to differentiate in person interactions rather than “IRL”.

Specifically in the grand parent’s post, they ”blame” MMOs and gaming-abuse for their friends “issues”. However, it’s a more apt analogy to view over use of MMOs as a form of workaholism than to view it as a form of drug-addiction. It’ll help you to get them to find a balance.

And similarly I advocate a similar vocabulary switch from “IRL” to “AFK” to differentiate Zoom/FaceTime vs non-Zoom/FaceTime activities.


Was this Runescape per chance?


Runescape and World of Warcraft :)

I learned about contracts and hiring people when I was a 9 year old running a lobster fishing company with contractors haha.


I've mentioned this view a few times: computers are the modern double-edged sword.

On one hand you can learn pretty much anything academic just by sitting in front of one. Quantum physics, history of Rome, food chemistry, and so on. Use it right, and you can really have access to a huge amount of knowledge that I never could as a child.

On the other hand, it is the biggest addiction danger in the house. It's legal for you to invite corporations into your home to try to persuade you to sit and grind away at some game, forever. You can waste your whole life in the comfort of your own Skinner box. All your opportunities to go and socialize with real people, out in society, you can just skip. What to exercise? Meh. Want a nice meal with family? Meh. Want to look at nature? LOL no.

Anecdote:

A friend of mine was playing very heavily for some time, maybe a couple of times a week. He goes into a café, sits down next to another fellow, who'd been there far longer: "oh hey man, I've been here for two days. My boss will get pissed off if I don't show up to work tomorrow. But Everquest..."

My buddy comes in two nights later, guy is in the same seat playing EverQuest. "Shit man, I got fired. He called me and told me. Anyway I gotta level up." At that point my friend got quite scared of the power of this stuff. Me as well, nearly 20 years later.

To cap it off, the dude's job was to be the attendant at another computer café. Yes. He could have just sat his ass at work and gotten paid for it, but somehow he'd lost his job by sitting at a different café and not finding the motivation to stop.


Personal anecdote. For a couple of years, I was deeply addicted to early version of Final Fantasy 11. Thing was hard, punishing and effectively required dedicated player base. I have some great memories, but there was a moment, when I started calling in sick to camp a monster. Fortunately, I eventually managed to stop on my own, but I still get occasional pangs ( but thankfully today's FFXI is a shell of itself for a variety of reasons ).

I was lucky. I am certain there are people way more obsessive than me.


I remember an acquaintance calling it “EverCrack” 20 years ago…


All good points, but the main issue here is the government, in this case the CCP, dictating game play. It's the parent's responsibility to dictate when and how their children play games not the government.

If the government wants to go after game developers because their games are addictive that's one thing. Dictating to the players is a level of control free citizens should never experience. Although, in this case, citizens of China are hardly free in the first place.


Where is the line compared to government enforcing parents to not leaving their kids alone in a car or home, or sending their kids to school?

How do we measure what level of control we have/deserve on our kids?

I'm not disagreeing, just arguing that there are cases where one could argue that the government is overstepping on how we parent our kids.


These arguments have already happened. You are arguing about paternalism. These debates are common in policy classes, specifically about libertarianism. Clearly, people that believe in the freedom of choice would hate this. However to your questions:

> parents to not leaving their kids alone in a car

Infringes on the freedom of the child to live or not endure conditions beyond what a normal person should endure

> sending their kids to school

The other questions start getting more into removing the freedom of the parents to choose at the expense of the best interest of the individual being affected (in the government's point of view).

There is a lot of academic material with well defined terms about these subjects. Americans will err towards individual freedoms rather than the government directing more than will European countries (and obviously communist countries; yes you can find specific examples to contradict this statement, it's a generality, an average of all policies). But Americans are trending towards more paternalistic policies over the last fifty years (Standard disclaimer: To those who will derive an intent out of this statement, it is not supporting or not supporting it, simply an observation).


OTOH an individual parent has to expend a lot more effort to create controls than a government. An individual parent can't mandate technology companies install controls that automatically regulate their child's play; they have to manually monitor+manage it at some cost of time+effort to themselves.

A wonkish trick would be for the government to mandate controls with sensible defaults but allow parents to tune them I guess?


Does anyone expect this to be effective though?

From the article:

> Previously, China had limited the length of time under-18s could play video games to 1.5 hours on any day and three hours on holidays under 2019 rules.

Is this actually going to be enforced somehow? And if so, how is that enforcement going to be different than what happened over the last two years?


The government is not dicating parents/kids.

The government IS dictating game developers not to provide service to children who want to play outside of the said periods.

What you said is impossible to enforce.


It should be noted that this is for online gaming only, but that kind of gaming is extremely popular in China. My wife (who isn't affected by this) has this one Chinese online game that she plays for hours every weekend.


"(who isn't affected by this)"

LMAO. Even if you didn't mention it. Likely no one would think you married an underaged girl.


I read it as "who doesn't live in China", but I guess we all first see what we've conditioned ourselves to look for first.


The regulated game are mostly online game. It's like social media, sometimes kids have to play it to be in part of the community. Individual parents can't change this.


The feelings you (I have the same feelings about his as you do) have about this are at an individual level.

State mandating how much time someone should spend doing a particular activity is a totally different topic.

Even though I agree with the overall intention of this rule/law I vehemently oppose a state imposing such restrictions.


On top of the fact no kid is every going to be legally liable for the breach and therefore no overly unfair oppression is applied on them, you say "someone", but kids have to be taught how to become someone.

Look it's clear it's not their fault the parents are so busy and exhausted by the rat race they cant handle properly their only child they made under family pressure. The gov regulates the consequence of years of inaction while trying to fix the root cause maybe.

I live in China, I m happy kids waste their intelligence and tuition fee on addictive lootboxes game, but mine, ill be way more strict than the government. No way he gets exposed to this kind of shit. Whatever it takes.

My parents threw the computer out when they saw me at 12 playing (addictive for the time but nowhere near what they have now) online games, which forced me to read because nothing else, well if that s what it takes, that s what it takes.


But do you really not know anyone who plays video games who is as successful as you are?


Technically, the state doesn't place restrictions on the kids, which is legally impossible, they place restrictions on the digital entertainment business where they are required to allow entry for kid for no longer than said duration.


> Technically, the state doesn't place restrictions on the kids, which is legally impossible,

What makes that legally impossible in China? (edit or do you just mean hard to enforce? I thought you meant something different by "legally impossible", I may have misunderstood).


Kids can't be criminally punished/sued, not for things like these.

Kids can be sued for damages to others which ultimately their parents/guardians would be required to pay which doesn't exist in this case.

This is similar to how age restriction for alcohol is enforced in the US, interestingly, age restriction on alcohol consumption wasn't enforced in China, though made into law.


thanks!


The hills are high and the emperor is far away.


I have mixed feelings about whether or not restricting a child's video game usage is a good idea.

However, I think that the state imposing these restrictions is vastly superior to having parents impose the same restrictions. The amount of time a kid is allowed to play games should not be related to what family they happen to be part of or which parents they happen to have.


Not sure if serious. You're implying a state should have more control over where a child's attention goes over their parents?


You have to differentiate real games from casino games. Many popular games have a substantial casino element and are basically skinners boxes and need to be controlled like casino games. I saw job postings a little while ago for mobile games that require experience making slot machines

There are a lot of games that fall into grey areas, possibly accidentally, and those are harder to deal with. Loot boxes and mmos are so obviously gambling that I don’t even know what to say


As much as I’ve moved on from solo games (Atari 2600 & Commodore 64 & Nintendo scarified the seed, then it grew roots into Lemmings on my 386, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Command & Conquer, Diablo 2, Morrowind, World of Warcraft [after 2005 it was mostly a solo experience] and Hearthstone, for examples), I can think of better activities in hindsight. Games were largely an escape for me, as were books, but at least with many books there’s more exposure to what it means to be human. Brainstem wrapped in the hydrostatic comfort of a videogame meant I could avoid observing my emotions and deciding what to do. I’m still learning to take responsibility for my own actions.

I’m not alone in this relationship with games, nor am I necessarily representative in my experiences. I’m sharing as a caution to others for whom videogames are all-consuming.

Healthier alternatives that scratch the itch for me are co-op games that aren’t great solo (I only play with close friends now, as a way to keep in touch and work together), tabletop RPGs like Mouse Guard, and physically exploring outside, as I’m thoroughly an Explorer on Bartle’s chart[0]. Also reading/listening to stories, playing music (another form of story that isn’t so far removed from our physical existence as videogames are), playing physical games/sports, drawing/painting (but not in Skyrim, etc :), and gardening, etc. I won’t bar my child from videogames, because they can backfire. Instead I’ll try to model healthy use of the pass-time as a brief mental gear-switch.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_taxonomy_of_player_type...


> at least with many books there’s more exposure to what it means to be human.

Games could do this as well as books. (And certainly not every book does it much). Occasionally games do. Mostly not.


There are also many books that don't.


> Modern games though are clearly designed to get you as addicted as possible and to play as long as possible…

The de-facto example of this nowadays is World of a Warcraft.

For those unaware, WoW charges you $15 per month play, as well as $60 every two years for the latest expansion.

This has resulted in a company that designs every last detail to be completed at the pace they determine to be correct, with a “story cliffhanger” at the end of each patch.

An applicable quote from one of the largest WoW content creators goes along the lines of “WoW used to be a game that made you want to waste your time. Now it’s a game that simply waste your time.”


My reading skills were nurtured by books. My history interest was nurtured by video games. My tech interest was nurtured by finagling with goddamn interrupt priorities and boot disks to get games to run.


Thinking about this a different way. We have seen the games that come out that exist to get you to play as long as possible look like.

What will the games that exist to be so awesome that if you get to play only an hour a day that want you to come back again look like? Will they make sure that hour is highly enjoyable and engaging instead of grindy? Is that a more sustainable model for game devs?

At least its a change from the current skinner boxes....

Maybe it will just be stronger skinner boxes. "Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion!" or "Get X Bonus if you log in tommorow!" is probably what will happen....


For me the prime example of good, challenging, but non-addictive game is GCompris, a collection of kids activities. Open source as well.


Sadky, all the 8 year olds in my sons cohort will just say 'bah'. But they have touch builds so time to look at the src. Thanks!


I'm sure there are a lot of culture differences, but as a westerner I have no mixed feelings on this -- I think it's just insane. This is what parents are supposed to be in charge of doing.


Too many modern parents are not up to being a parent unfortunately.

It’s a hard work to maintain work/life balance while at the same time be a model for your children.

It takes A LOT of discipline and we all know how much discipline most ppl have..


> Too many modern parents are not up to being a parent unfortunately. > > It’s a hard work to maintain work/life balance while at the same time be a model for your children.

The problem here is not the parent, its the work demanding 40+ hours per week and a society that means both parents have to work.


It's limited to the online game because the check is on server side rather than client (console/phone) side since it utilizes national ID data you provide when registering.


Do you have a source for that? From the article it sounds like the expectation is that all games should be implementing mechanisms to limit this. But that could just be poor reporting by Reuters ( not unsurprising for a breaking foreign government regulation change like this )


The Xinhua article on it (which I think is fairly authoritative) is clearer that it applies only to online games: http://www.news.cn/english/2021-08/30/c_1310157673.htm

Specifically,

> Online game providers can only offer one-hour services to minors from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on official holidays, according to the document made public on Monday.

> [...]

> The official said that parents and minors can decide on by themselves how long the children will play other games that are conducive to minors' growth, except online games.


The ban is on providing video game services to minors outside some hours : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28357167


What about the Alibaba South China Morning Post then? https://www.scmp.com/tech/policy/article/3146918/china-limit...


I see phrasing like

> The notice also states that companies must strictly implement the real-name registration and login system in their games and not provide access to video games for those who are unregistered.

But nothing clarifying if they have drawn any distinction between online games that require a persistent connection to servers to function and “offline” games that are stand alone single player experiences with no online connectivity required.


Not knowing much about the great firewall, but taking in context from the article, it seems like they'd only really be able to limit "modern" games, which are always connected.

If you can somehow get your hands on an SNES and FF6 cart, or (more likely) figure out how to get an emulator and ROM to your computer, no one will be the wiser. So, if anything, this will be a boon to older console games.


that are almost non existent in red China


Modern games is a bit of a blanket statement.

There are tons of modern games (arguably the majority when you consider the size of the market) that are not skinner boxes.

If all you're looking at is AAA games and mobile crap, then sure. But there's more to games than that stuff.


Goodness. If this was the US, I would be losing my mind over such legislation.

We must not convince the law makers that video games can be beneficial. That puts the wrong emphasis on the conversation.

The emphasis must be, you have no jurisdiction when it comes to raising children. Your laws are invalid. Even if video games are detrimental, you do not decide what is the best interest for a child, the parents do.


What about child protection service, school, free lunch at school, healthcare, and more comparably age 21 restriction for alcohol consumption? Those are all examples of 'jurisdiction over raising children'.


Physically abusing your child by chaining them to the radiator is not a parenting decision.

Providing lunch at something the child is required to be at by law is not a parenting decision.

Requiring annual physicals is not a parenting decision, nor a health care decision. However, requiring a specific treatment is both.

Alcohol consumption is a grey area, and a cultural choice the country has made. Why not make the driving age 14? 18? It's a question of maturity. But this is a poor comparison. While alcohol has an objective measure of physical harm (ie: LD50, a measurable and detrimental effect on developing minds), video games do not.

Listing these as examples is not a justification for the government deciding for a parent how much time their child can spend on video games.

And for disclosure, I think a time limit is a much needed societal thing. But the government must not be the one to make that decision.


A parents' can ask their kid to limit video game time, but can't have the video gaming industry to enforce it. A national government can.

That's the issue.

And if a parent really feels their kids deserve more video game time, they can always lend their own account to their kids, which would disable the mechanism, that simple.


The equivalent of regulating video game playing times for children would be regulating when a child gets to have their favourite dessert, when they get to go out to meet their friends etc. These are all highly context-dependent individual parenting decisions that the government should have very little say in. Especially in the form of rules like restricting play time to 8 PM on Weekends.

The government can ask video game industry to provide enforcement mechanisms in the form of parental controls, which incidentally are quite widely adopted by most tech companies without government intervention in the West.


I doubt dessert is comparable to video games, I will eventually get full with desserts, but potentially unlimited time with video games.

The timeframe when a parents have a say in children's activity is already limited by compulsory k-12 schooling. What's the difference?


You can get harmed by a lot of things in excess, including desserts, well before you get physiologically or mentally exhausted by having too much of it.

The difference is there is a long tail of activities that a family might be engaged in during non-school hours, especially a weekend evening. This is something a government can't possibly fathom or account for in an overarching policy.

If a person chooses to have a child, they should be deemed to have enough agency to determine what's good for them.

If a State wants to be the nanny, why stop at video games? Why not prescribe precise caloric intake, meal times, study times, sleep times, extracurriculars, and more? Just an illustration of how absurd this policy is.


This policy is about predatory industry practices that make use of natural brain functions to make kids addicted to certain games while also spending absurd amounts of money on it.

But in my opinion they should have just disabled this business model completely. It seems like they want to limit the inflow of cash but not by a lot.


One is adding something (school), the other is taking something away. Further it takes a leisure activity away which is (to your point) performed exclusively outside of school. A more pointed discussion that still allows the benefit of government policy is why mandate a limit rather than mandating a system that allows parents to usefully set the limit? A related discussion would be if I claimed that TV and fiction novels are worse for kids than games, so we should allow unlimited games but limit all fiction books and all TV to 3 hours a week for everyone.


Time can't be increased or decreased. You have 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. Adding something to the schedule is only more stringent than having a blocklist of activities where you'd at least have a choice.

I don't want to start an argument on the effect and difference of fiction books / tv to games. You point is effectively that those choices may be arbitrary, however games are much more addictive than those that you've mentioned. Realistically, I've seen kids play too much games whose grades dropped like hell, but few watching too much TV, much less reading too much novel. Games can be addictive and difficult to maintain, while the same can hardly be said to TV and novels.

I agree that government-mandated limit would be too much, and less preferrable than a government-mandated system that allows parent to set the limit. You would effectively be requiring game companies to acquire and collect information on the parents of the child playing the game.

I expect a government-mandated default unless with explicit written approval from parents which would seems still rather easy to circumvent for the lack of better ways.


> they can always lend their own account to their kids, which would disable the mechanism

Current technology means statements like this are not necessarily true (these are all referring to the same story, Chinese language link last):

https://www.theregister.com/2021/07/08/tencent_facial_recogn...

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/08/business/video-game-facia...

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Cr17TKWQ3XcuNzDw085OLw

    > the new feature sees the company check accounts registered in adults’ names if
    > they are playing games between 10:00PM and 8:00AM.  The company will then run a
    > facial recognition test and, if it identifies someone who is not the account
    > holder, they’ll be booted offline.  “Anyone who refuses or fails face
    > verification will be treated as a minor,” according to a machine translation of
    > Tencent’s QQ post.


That simple? Until they decide to make it a felony to evade this system in that way.


I mean that's just a prejudice false target, right now it's just a departmental policy with effect only to businesses.


It used to be a parenting decision till like one or two hundred years ago.


I disagree. Children deserve a lot of protection, and anybody can become a parent. A lot of people are far too bad at parenting to leave the decisions to them completely. Some intervention is needed.


Good grief. This debate is so devoid of reason, it's difficult to have a discussion.

Saying that video games is outside the jurisdiction of the government is NOT saying there needs to be no guard rails.

Further more, yes. There are a lot of bad parents. The people who would be installed as the benevolent parental decision makers for society would be the worst of all.


(USA centric view) You cannot legislate parents into being good parents. You cannot pass laws that protect children from bad parenting as best case result you may get the state to intervene and put the child in a foster system where there's a 50% chance that they end up in an even worse place.


Laws against child labor might be an example most of us would agree are called for, instead of just leaving it up to the parents whether children should work in mines and sweatshops or not.

Although I have no doubt someone will show up and say that should be left up to parents too.


Children have assisted their parents in their work as they are able from an early age for millennia. It serves to train them in useful skills they will need as adults and also to improve the family's financial prospects, which is beneficial to the entire family including the child. Increasing wealth, in some areas, has allowed for the luxury of allowing children to prepare for adulthood in less immediately productive ways, such as schooling—but that does not imply that it is wrong for children to work. Most parents care deeply for their children's welfare; in general you can trust that if parents are asking their children to work they are doing so for the children's benefit. If you would prefer that they didn't need to work the solution is to offer them a better option, not take away one of the few ways they have to improve their situation.


So the only possible thing that can be legislated is a foster system?!

Even the US already does far more than that, like making alcohol illegal for minors.


Speaking as a parent of two kids, I mostly agree, but also think that some amount of law-making in the interest of children is appropriate and fair. Drawing the line is the interesting part.


Precisely. But the statement, "the government has no business making parenting decisions" needs no qualification. It is an axiomatic statement, and it should not be a controversial statement.

Like you say, what is considered a parenting decision? Reasonable people can have a discussion about this.

But I'm shocked how many people seem to think A) the government actually should make parenting decisions, and B) that things like banning child abuse is an example of the government making a parenting decision.

Neither of these things are reasonable, and so the discussion about what qualifies as a parenting decision will also be unreasonable.


The us limits kids access to most gaming establishments in the country to 0 hours.


Is the same true for alcohol and tobacco?


yeah this is mostly for the genshin impact/gacha games that are super popular and are made purely to suck money or time for grinding. I doubt they will put to much effort into policing drm free games running locally.


In a parallel world they just attack this problem directly and outlaw lootbox/gacha gambling entirely for all ages. It’s obvious that such design is meant to prey on intrinsic feedback loops in the human brain, so why not just go straight to the source. People will still find ways to gamble, but at least elsewhere it’s generally explicitly labeled as such.


Going even straighter to the source is patching the CVEs in human brain.


> I have mixed feelings about this.

I don't. If this were to be proposed in America I would view it as extreme government over-reach.


> If this were to be proposed in America I would view it as extreme government over-reach.

It is an extreme government overreach, whether in the US or China. It's an abuse of human rights. China is about one step away from treading into classic Mao Communist cultural attack mode.

The interesting thing about pursuing so much control, is that more control requires ever more control, it's a negative spiral. More oppression requires ever greater oppression to keep the system from rupturing.

Anyone championing this as borderline acceptable, those people have little terrifying monsters inside, little psycho dictators, yearning to violently oppress and control people. Societies are always filled with these little monsters running around trying to violently control people, they always have to be pushed back against.

In China's case, Xi is pursuing a new cultural revolution, as he sees fit to implement. One thing after another is being taken out, targeted.

They took out all traces of freedom of speech, years ago. They isolated the people with the great firewall, to restrict foreign influence, control domestic influences, and keep the people contained. They installed aggressive censors at all tech and media companies. They eliminated all independent news and media. They've further cracked down on all religion, religious expression, religious worship. They banished nearly all foreign reporting from the country. They banished all joke apps. They banished all gay culture. They're culturally cleansing the Muslim Uyghur regions. They implemented the social credit scoring system. They've entirely taken over Hong Kong and are proceding with wiping out its formerly independent culture. They've installed direct party control over all major private corporations, tech or otherwise. They've neutered all of their most prominent business persons, one after another. They've purged, vanished numerous prominent celebrities. They're in the process of banning all negative discussions of anything economic/financial. They're initiating an effort to prevent any consequential companies from publicly listing stock overseas, looking to increase economic control and reduce foreign influence. They're wiping out private education (classic cultural revolution move on education). They're about to flip to a digital currency, to further increase the ease and application of economic controls over individuals. This is the short list of what they've done since Xi took power, and they're only just getting warmed up.

It's a science fiction nightmare, set to become real. This gaming restriction is just one little drop in the ocean of what they're doing broadly, it's all moving in concert.


And if that wasn't bad enough, then they banned Winnie The Pooh


| “The global scale of the China challenge is not just about China’s rise, it’s not just about the genocide,” says Josh, “It’s about what kind of world we want to live in.”

https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGh... https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGh...


thanks for scaring the shit out of me


I'm sure they would think that in America, but there people tend favour personal interests over the greater good.


>Modern games though are clearly designed to get you as addicted as possible and to play as long as possible to an extent that made the old school 90s RPGs grinds look tame and mild

I try to tell my extended family this but I can tell that they choose not to listen. Games are no longer what they were growing up and you have to make sure your kid isn't playing a glorified slot machine. I plan to build a machine and only install certain games on there for the kids to avoid this very trap.

Parents today just don't understand how pernicious these companies have become. They used to include a hot girl in each game to keep you interested and prevent you from feeling bored. Sure it was lazy but that's all it was, lazy. Now, you have games like Genshin Impact that have weaponized sexuality to the point where people are pumping hundreds of dollars to see more sexuality in the game. Hearthstone's card packs function identically to Skinner boxes. League of Legends teases you with the prospect of going pro in gaming despite players have a higher chance to make it to the NFL than make it going pro in LoL.


League of Legends suffers from a problem no one's figured out how to fix yet, or that would require so much effort, anyone capable of figuring it out would rather work for a FAANG, which is: How do you separate people who want to excel from people who just want to have "fun"?

You can't mix people with a hardcore attitude with people with a casual attitude. It'll result in disaster every single time, without fail, in any endeavor, ever. It never works, no matter what, and no one is going to be able to make it work. You have to separate them.

What's worse, the ban system for League of Legends favors shitty people over the people who actually want to do well. Someone can intentionally troll, die 29 times in a game, have 0 kills, 0 assists, and nothing happens. When the other four players try to win, but get frustrated at this single shitbag, and then say something, they get banned... instead of the obviously troller catching an instant permanent ban to teach them a lesson.


Okay, so let me present you with my view of the game. It's going to be very different from yours, and it's fine if you disagree. In fact, in the first few years I played, I would have had a hard time agreeing as well. But I'd appreciate if you hear me out.

1) On average, ranked players play at a skill level consistent with their rating. In other words, even if they have the skills to play better but don't, their rating should reflect this--on average.

2) For each individual game, there can be some variance in individual performance. Sometimes matchups are lopsided, and sometimes mistakes are made. Sometimes you're on the team that benefits, and sometimes you're not.

3) Trends are more useful than individual games. "Did I do better in the last game than the previous one?" is not always a useful question, so I'd rather ask "Did I do better in the last 10 games than the previous 10?" This follows from 1) and 2).

4) Morale affects the game, and my actions can affect morale. It's really easy and tempting to call out gameplay mistakes, but I think that only serves to hurt morale. If I still wanted to win the game, making my team feel bad hurts my chances. If I prefer to surrender, there are better ways to convince people.

So yeah, the reason I wrote this is because I've definitely had my share of upsetting losses, but I found that shifting my mindset helped me deal with it better.


There's no denying that Dark Souls is hard. It's also fair. It's 100% your fault every time you die, and you know what you did wrong.


I wouldn't say 100% your fault. I'm going to blame the camera for a few of my deaths!


For the centipede demon fight the camera IS the boss


There's PLENTY of jank in Dark Souls, don't kid yourself.


I don't. This isn't about just video games. It's about the CCP controlling everything down to the most minute aspect of everyone's life in China. At some point the people will revolt and it won't be pretty with a nation of 1.4 billion in civil war. I don't see how anyone in the west could think this is a good thing. I can understand this from parents, not from a government.


This. Old Games had lots of work from History, Mythology, Science and all sort other details in it. I mean even old Diablo I and II had a whole story book that came with it. Was it Lord of the Rings quality? No. But it is so much better than not reading a story book.

All the history lessons from games like Civilisation, Sim City helping you imagining a whole new world. RPG had lots of story telling.

Heck even MMORPG like World of Warcraft, you have to learn team building before any shit could get done. I often thought it as the ultimate leadership testing. Motivating people without any usual tools like promotion or salary rise.

Modern Mobile Games are bad. VERY bad. I would even argue it is worst than Social Media for kids. Some of them are designed to cause rage so your kids would rage spend to win. There is a reason why Nintendo thought it was wrong to do Mobile Games. It is simply not the type of games they want to be in.

I could go on, I have been ranting about Mobile Games for more than half a decade. Wishing Apple would do something about it. But 80% of all App Store Revenue coming from Games were too lucrative for them.


> Modern UX of games is designed so that you dont have to really read or understand the game mechanics even to be able to play and get into that feedback loop.

I wish this were true for me and GTA V. My friend and I really tried to do something in GTA V Online together this weekend with little to no success. I felt really stupid by not being able to play any mission together


> Modern games though are clearly designed to get you as addicted as possible and to play as long as possible to an extent that made the old school 90s RPGs grinds look tame and mild.

You do realize the term "quarter muncher" isn't a modern one right? We had plenty of those types meth-level-addiction games back in the early days of gaming too.


mixed feelings because it's under 18, and therefore you dont feel that freedom of self is as important? Would you feel differently if this was for adults?


I think it's important to realize that children dont have the cognitive ability to resist certain things. Gambling skinner boxes are those things.

I would be completely oky with my kid binging on the latest Mario or Mario Kart. I would love to see them playing an RPG.

I dont want them playing Fortnite and other skinner box style games. They have teams designed to addict kids.

This probably sounds silly but i would be ok with a kid being "addicted" to something because its fun and enjoyable. But being addicted because a team of scientists designed it be maximally dopamine inducing doesnt seem ok to me. Maybe there is no difference at the end of the day.

But it feels like the kind of games that Nintendo puts out and the kind of games that EA puts out are VERY different.


Our biggest problem with Fortnite is that it’s where the friends are so it’s a way, probably the primary way, for them to socialize - especially as some friends are on different continents.

I wish this wasn’t the case, but fighting a network effect is hard as a parent.


Kids don't play EA games, however Fortnite, CoD warzone, Roblox ...


Apex Legends is EA


Such a good point. As a burgeoning dramatist (lol) Square's SNES RPG work did so much for me. Massive, sprawling stories made very engaging by interaction. Point of fact, a Chrono Trigger fanfic was one of the first stories I wrote.

On the other hand, my numerous hours spend playing WWE Attitude and Goldeneye probably wasn't exactly expanding my horizons.

I'm a new parent so I'm not sure how I'm going to navigate this myself but I assume the above will guide my own rule-making.


Sure but there wasn't a monetary incentive path like we have today with the Internet and livestreaming. I still remember picking up my first copy of DOOM and playing with friends on a 28.8Kbps dialup modem.

This comic sort of represents those childhood sentiments experienced today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgDG_IEDc9A


I would say china is well placed to be producing excellemnt content for the world. Like the japanese have done for decades with their videogames and animation. China has some excellent video game content largely consumed within china. These kids are the future Game Designers, Programmers, Architects of this Industry. Its a tragedy and would have economic impact in future.


I guess I'm curious: What are you expecting minors who currently enjoy video games to do instead in their free time?

If they pick up reading and decide they like those endless fantasy series, is that better than playing a video game for the same amount of time? Why?

If they decide to watch TV or movies instead of video games, is that better? Why?

Should they spend that all that free time studying and doing homework instead? Why?


Dark soul is only hard because you have to memorize all the cheap shots ( https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TrialAndErrorGam... ) level designers placed there


I think a big part of why I can quickly scan information on a page is from playing way too much Final Fantasy as a kid. To grind you need to do lots of combat, so I slowly dialed the "Response Rate" (i.e. speed at which text appears) until I could read all of the post-combat messages at the maximum setting.


If I haven't played Runescape my life for sure would be different now. Most likely worse. Had lots of fun, learned english, enjoying the grind, market economics,and got inspired to learn to program similar games. IMO sandbox games should be even encouraged.


Hmm, my problem with Dark Souls like games is mostly that it becomes easy when you understand the mechanics, but immediately also starts to be annoying because now your biggest enemy is timing issues and enemies just materializing behind you.


I'd say there's 4 kinds of games:

1. Sports. You practice, get good, compete.

2. Effort is rewarded. "Effort" is a very vague thing. It could be not dying/luck (roguelikes, Hearthstone), it could be clicking a button 1000 times. It could be problems (Factorio) or wiki games (DF, Stardew Valley). The reward is sometimes satisfaction (Factorio/chess), sometimes a movie-like denouement (FF), sometimes a thing of beauty (Civ, DF)

3. Socialization, e.g. Roblox, Minecraft, Among Us. Solve a problem together.

4. Actions lead to consequences, e.g. D&D, Reigns, AI Dungeon, The Sims.

The last one is the "purest" form of gaming, in that it's a medium that only games can do well. But it's also the hardest to do and difficult to make money off.

I'd hope that this kind of restrictions will lead to China making more Type 4 games. Hopefully games that can lead to a satisfactory conclusion within 2-3 hours like the average movie.


Your category (2) is extremely vague and all-encompassing. I'd split off at least two distinct categories:

5. Games that are about providing a certain experience: walking simulators, horror games, casual adventure games, story focused games. Here there, effort is often not really a focus at all and while you could say that you are "rewarded" for simply playing the game that is stretching it and could be applied to any game that is enjoyable in some way.

6. Puzzle games - here the challenge itself is the reward but unlike (1) the challenge is problem solving and not competition.

Of course like any genre system real games will not fit neatly in one of these categories but have aspects from multiple of them.

> The last one is the "purest" form of gaming, in that it's a medium that only games can do well.

Yeah no. While the interactive medium is a great tool for showing consequences, it is not required. Meanwhile many things in the other categories also benefit greatly from it.

> Hopefully games that can lead to a satisfactory conclusion within 2-3 hours like the average movie.

I wouldn't really want to hold the "average movie" as something games should strive for. I'm all for cutting down on grind, 2-3 hours is a really short time to learn complex mechanics or get immersed in the world and characters.


Maybe I could rephrase it a bit. I don't mean all games should try to be short, but right now there are almost none.

Few game designers aspire to make a game that's done in 2 hours and worth $8.

Chess is a bloody complex game and you can play a round to full satisfaction in 15 minutes. You have your complexity, but it's enough to enjoy yourself 3 hours/week.

Most movies will immerse you in the world and the characters well within the first 15 minutes. Today, you have something like Fallout 4 where it takes an hour from customizing your character's face to leaving the vault.

I think Adam Cadre's games are a great example: http://adamcadre.ac/if.html

What separated the Interactive Fiction from Adventure genre was that IF was more on interacting with the player's actions. You could achieve a goal and unlock endings, or just explore. You could get a full story well within a couple hours because the games are designed to avoid you from getting stuck. Adventure games were plagued with resource management and metagaming; once you remove the unnecessary grind of puzzle solving, you get a denser game.


Someone needs to build a game that’s hidden inside of a normal looking webpage or app and then distribute to Chinese teens


“I have mixed feelings about this.”

You have mixed feelings a about what?

This is an absolutely insane government overreach and unacceptable.

Micromanaging what people can do with their time like this is 1984.

I grew up, sometimes skipping school and playing games all day, I still passed school, I have a good job in software and a healthy happy life.

I’d prefer the following question is asked, why do these kids require “spiritual opium”? Maybe living in a polluted authoritarian genocidal hell hole makes people want to escape reality ?


When you were a kid you had a lot of extra time and video games fill that voids.


As that kid I now regret not spending that time on something productive like reading interesting books or having a unique hobby (carving/skating/guitar etc)

Now I dont have time for anything and reflecting at that void space - it was filled with garbage - like running pokemon yellow 7 times in a row.


Playing RuneScape is how I learned to type using home row.


unrelated question: what are your suggestiong for text based RPG games (browser based) for this day and age?


I haven't played a good game in nearly a decade. I used to play them for the story, then it all became too grindy, trainers became moneymakers (yeah I used cheats, sue me, I played for fun), everything needs a fking Internet connection and anticheat software that does god knows what. Kinda sad.


There are still plenty of non-garbage games if you wade out further than AAA.

My friend group played Valheim a few months ago and it was spectacular (for the weekend anyways). It's a great game to lose your self in the environments and doesn't have any IAP rubbish.


Even some AAA games have amazing story, but few and far between and a good number of the ones i'd point someone at are exclusive to ps4/ps5


I really don’t understand what people see in this game. It’s not bad, sure, but it’s almost a walking simulator.

Getting resources feels pretty grindy, and the abilities and leveling system feel lackluster to me.


It's fun to hang out in with a few friends. Solo play is like watching paint dry, playing with friends has that almost emergent feeling as all of you go off doing god knows what and end up making a mess of each other's work.


I highly recommend you dive into the indie and small-medium sized publisher world. There are a lot of games out there made by passionate individuals who are succeeding at creating enjoyable experiences. There are great stories, beautiful art, and interesting gameplay. You just have to dive a little deeper to find it.


There's plenty of exceptional story-based games out there. Personally I loved The Last of Us Part II last year, which has none of the issues you mentioned above. I'm currently playing Disco Elysium, which I also highly recommend.


It's pretty easy to find free cheat engine tables for any single player game for free. Paid cheats are really multi-player things, where you really shouldn't be cheating anyway


I can strongly recommend mining old 90s titles. Homeworld remains the best RTS I've ever played by miles and that's from 1997 or so.


Oh yeah, I have food memories of it. Nexus the Jupiter Incident was also great.


> I haven't played a good game in nearly a decade. I used to play them for the story, then it all became too grindy

That's on you. There are tons of amazing new video games with a good plot and a great gameplay. I'm not a huge gamer myself but the last one I did that checks those boxes was Horizon Zero Dawn.


I haven't played recent games, but are they really more grindy than e.g. EverQuest or the NES Square/Enix games?


If you want to unlock everything without spending real money, then yes they are often by far more grindy. Companies realized that putting huge grinds which you can pay to skip is by far the best way to make money from games so today this is in most games. This is the modern slot machine equivalent.


The "problem" with EverQuest wasn't the game, it was the people.

It's just like real life. You aren't supposed to be the hero. You aren't supposed to have all the best everything and a million platinum.

You're just another cog moving through the world, easily replaceable. That's how it was designed. The problem is that, strangely, in a game, people can't accept that, so they'll spend 18 hours a day playing, but for some reason won't spend 18 hours a day working, even when spending 18 hours a day working at something clearly - undeniably - yields better results than playing a game.


Ultima Online had more of that feeling than EverQuest (I played both). EQ was quite clearly a game in which you could make steady progress in power with proper grinding (and every 5 levels sucked thanks to a coding error).


Most high-budget, high-profile games coming out these days are not grindy at out. I'm sure you can find grindy games within certain genre niches, but there are good not-very-grindy games in just about every genre right now AFAIK.

Unless the genre is grindy, micro-payment games in which case... Consider not playing them.


Square Enix games and CRPGs induced advanced reading skills? It's been a few years since I played one, but in my humble opinion, we'd probably find it has a 5th or 6th grade reading level. Replacement-level activities will likely have the same impact on someone 10 years d or above.


You shouldn't have mixed feelings. This is an attack on human free will.

UK lets children drink.


In UK you can't buy alcohol if you're below 18. You can drink alcohol in a public place if you're 16 and there is an accompanying adult buying it for you.

It's not quite a "free for all", but anyway, I doubt it relates to the issue at hand.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_drinking_age#Europe


Those rules are for public drinking. There doesn't seem to be any age restriction for private alcohol consumption in the UK, or for that matter most of Europe.


The US similarly allows private underage consumption of alcohol - with more restrictions than in most parts of Europe - with parental consent and oversight. This varies from state to state in how it works and the limits, of course. Most states draw a strong legal distinction between underage drinking parties vs moderate underage consumption outside of a party context.


sure but if you're a kid you can't concretely drink in private if you can't buy alcohol.

Other countries don't have rules or don't enforce it, but the UK certainly does.

Source: I was an italian teen used to buy wine for my grandpa, but I could not get a beer at the supermarket in the UK.


Videogames are addicting as all hell and create NEETs. End of story. Parents who are lazy and just want their kids to stop bothering them just give them to their kids without realizing it can destroy their early socialization skills. I love videogames, but jesus I'd limit my kids use of it to either playing socially or with family. If it's alone, it had better be for short amounts of time.

Videogames should be social events. Not solitary escapes that cause people to become schizoids.


> Parents who are lazy and just want their kids to stop bothering them just give them to their kids without realizing it can destroy their early socialization skills.

These hypothetical children have spent all day socializing at school- if that gets "destroyed" by a few hours of being left to their own devices, better stop them from reading and playing with Legos alone in their rooms too. Claiming video games ruin social skills because playing them is an activity performed alone is utter nonsense.


Kids need socializing with other kids beyond the 9-3 school days.


School is the most garbage area to foster socializing children. Not only is it in a controlled environment, but it has nothing to do with learning how to engage with people on a personal level outside of work.


> To the point where when a game comes along like Dark Souls that asks you to learn the game systems to beat it, gamers go gah gah over "how hard" it is.

Please, PLEASE, please let's not derail this thread to "Dark Souls players are the REAL skilled players and the rest of you all are crybabies" or something? I get PTSD reading any DS player's "opinion" these days.

DS doesn't require skill. DS is brutal and semi-random on purpose so you sink the maximum amount of time to beat it. Not much skill is required there. You have to invest the time to learn the moves and their patterns. After that happens beating the boss in question just requires you to be in non-vegetative state.

--

On topic: I too am with mixed feelings over this news but if this is going to stop the hyper-predatory mobile game companies from almost literally turning young people into zombies then I support the decision.

I worry what happens when inevitably they start saying "but CS:GO, Quake Champions and Deep Rock Galactic are addictive as well and we will prohibit them too!" but... we can't have it all at the same time, I suppose. :|

Really can't find a good balanced solution out of this jam. Can you?


People talking about the benefits of games reminds me of people talking about the benefits of, say, a glass of wine with every meal: it's worth looking into but at the same time it's the sort of thing that obviously doesn't scale linearly with the amount/intensity of consumption.

I similarly have mixed feelings as well, but for slightly different reasons. I've read about studies that say that musical training (which is often believed to translate to improvements in other cognitive aspects of life) doesn't actually correlate to said improvements, and I suspect that the same might be true for games (e.g. solving game puzzles doesn't necessarily mean you get better at school math or whatever)

This line of reasoning is also supported by research on correlation between games and violence (i.e. the consensus is that no such causation relationship exists).

All of these suggest (to me) that gaming is just its own activity without much impact on life other than opportunity cost itself.

However, there are some aspects of gaming that can affect overall well-being, specifically aspects related to repetitiveness (e.g. grinding). Repetitiveness is something that does come up in a lot of disciplines (e.g. its soothing effect in autist kids, or repetitiveness as tool in the context of meditation, etc).

The "addictive" aspect isn't necessarily a bad thing either, IMHO. Games are, almost by definition, supposed to be engaging. But that addictiveness may come in a form of trade-offs, for example, back in the day of grindy RPGs, delayed gratification was basically the entire point of grinding. The one aspect that I think is justly vilified is monetization strategies that tie to addictive elements of gameplay (especially the gacha variety) and this is something that I'd actually commend China for trying to address via regulation.


Video games work best as a lesser of many evils, and come with a few caveats: If you watch a lot of TV, it's hard to argue that video games are a worse use of your time. Video games do have some legitimate benefits, but it's probably hard to say that they are more beneficial than other things you could be doing with your time. (ie, reading difficult literature or articles vs. reading RPG text.)

However, people aren't robots, and can't spend 100% of their time doing things which are strictly beneficial. Sometimes you just have to relax and do what you like. Further, not all worthwhile activities truly benefit you in some measurable way. All those "play Mozart for your child to increase his intelligence" CDs were completely fraudulent. And by extension you could claim that listening to beautiful classical music does not actually really benefit you. But of course beautiful music is one of the best aspects of life. The only difference I would say is that it seems impossible to become addicted to classical music in the same way that someone might become addicted to video games.

In this sense, I agree with the parent that video game addiction is the greatest concern here, and is a direction video games have been moving in for a long time. It's interesting that he mentions very easy gameplay mixed with behavioral feedback loops. I can get QUITE wrapped up in Dark Souls, but I am never just playing it on autopilot. It's too hard, and requires too much of my focus. It's not to say that it's necessarily all that difficult, but I can't just zone out. If my mood is wrong, if I am impatient, if my focus is poor, I will play badly. This is explicitly not the case with addictive gameplay-loop games which approach television-levels of sloth in the sense that you can play them indefinitely with any amount of focus.


Sure but I’m not really comfortable with this level of government interference with peoples lives.

No one ever stopped me from playing soccer for 5 hours a day when I was younger, and in high school sports practice was a 3 hour minimum.

This restricts game play to 3 hours per week. That means essentially you can’t play video games for leisure … while at the same time you are forced to do a minimum of 40 hours a week in education (normal school + cram school + homework).

If you can only play a video game for 25 minutes a day, you might as well never play.


I'm in no way supportive of China's actions here, and was just commenting on video gaming and addiction in general.


We restrict our kids to 30 min /day of screens. Try telling them it's not worth it. They are absolutely rabid about it.


Strictly limiting screen time fuels addiction. I'm utterly convinced about this and speak from experience. They can't learn to properly manage the ups and downs that way, all that remains are the ups, making it the best thing ever. That's why they are rabid about this.

It's also not something only I think, but I don't have a good resource at hand. Questions like this are always disputed anyway. When books came out they complained about the youth wasting their time reading books! (so much to the "reading a book is so much better" comment above.)

Half an hour is also completely unreasonable for playing most games. It rules out playing the good games, leading them to play the pay2win gambling bullshit. If the kids are very small, ignore what I write, but if they aren't think twice about this.


Exactly. It is the same mechanism by which trying to stop smoking by reducing the number of cigarretes usually don't work. The "every other hour cigarrete" becomes almost an orgasmic experience.


Would you please contextualize your experience? What specific claims are you making and for what age groups?


There is really not much more. It's simply the observation that strict time limits lead to the time always being used, and augmented the value of the limited resource - video gaming here. The cigarette analogy in the other reply is great. I saw that with children age 10 to 15, for what it's worth.

You see that observation echoed in the context of alternative strategies, as described on https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-teens-video-game-rules-limi... for ADHD (whether that exists does not matter here, in any case the strategies listed there are not limited to it) for example. I read better sources, but I don't find them now, probably just some random articles with some experts attacking a majority position (that screen time limits are good) that I thought convincing, like they pop up sometimes.


To clarify the above post: with books, novels were probably meant specifically. Books that only served entertainment purposes.


Interesting. Is it a huge deal if they miss their 30 minutes a day?

I probably allow my kids too much time with screens, but the flip side is that, if they don't have screen access for a few days, they don't really care. They'll read some books or play outside, no big deal. I get wary of setting hard limits on their screen time, because (knowing their personalities) they would then never accept if they didn't get that time for whatever reason, and constantly be trying to make sure they get their screen time, rather than the current state of affairs where missing their screens for a day or two doesn't phase them one bit.


The concept of "Screen Time" is so insane. You can do everything on a "screen" from writing the next great American novel to watching porn. So, is X hours of screen time too much? Depends on what you're doing with it.


I'm reluctant to invoke the 'kids nowadays' trope. However - While there's a lot someone can do with a computer, the days of picking up marketable skills due to having to fight through technology to get a game to work are long gone. Portable touch-screen devices are tuned for content consumption and not content creation. Large industries exists today with refined abilities to grab and hold the attention of young minds.

All of that taken together means the odds of 'screen time' being a productive endeavour are IMO much smaller than they once were. If the overwhelming odds are your kid is going to be sucked into a skinner box for the duration of their screen time it seems prudent to put limits on that which might limit the damage being done.

Of course none of this is a substitute for knowing your kid as an individual and tailoring conditions to what's best for them, versus any kind of blanket rule stuff.


My 5 year old niece learned to read playing video games on those touch screens everyone hates. She’s doing exactly the same kind of role play most young kids do with dolls or action figures, but learning the interface and getting text to speech and speech to text is dramatically more educational than playing with dolls.

My nephew was the same way, it’s not better or worse than how we grew up just different. What people forget is escapism is normal behavior. Games, TV, Radio, Music, even Books have all been blamed for the younger generation not being productive except fun is also useful. Watching hours of TV doesn’t seem like a great use of time, but the 3,001th hour leaning a musical instrument, woodworking, or whatever has serious diminishing returns. Kids don’t actually benefit that much from doubling down on what adults think is important, just look at all those Asian countries that don’t turn hours of cram school into massive economic advantages.


Who gives a crap about marketable skills? My 5 year old understands what derivatives are because he scrolls through math content on YouTube. There’s a lot to learn out there and more accessible than ever. Obviously the parent has to be involved as they do with everything. The screen is not a babysitter.


I would bet your 5 year old is pretty rare among the masses. lol


Yes, but I'm saying that it's parents job to make sure the "screen time" is healthy just like it's the parents job to make sure the mealtime is healthy. There are these debates about "how much screen time is OK for kids" but nobody ever talks about "how many ounces of food is OK for a kid?" because there's a big difference between an ounce of broccoli and an ounce of doughnuts.


I'm with you on that!


We restrict both time and what they have access to, and the kids don't generally crave screen time (they're in elementary school).

Aside from watching movies every once in a blue moon, they only have access to specific games (all of which fall in the educational category), so no endless content feeds and no micro-transaction BS.

At one point, they got into one game enough that they'd demand daily screen time, but then the novelty wore off and they stopped asking.

Most days, they just spend their play time doing other things and screen time doesn't even come up.


I have mixed feelings about it all. I respected my friends growing up who couldn't play video games at will as I did, yet I also felt they were missing out. I know many adults who don't game, and often if they aren't out with friends they get bored really quickly. Since it is hard to get out with friends regularly as an adult (esp. as a working parent), it feels like many of them are just bored all the time. I wonder if they had more familiarity with the wide variety of games, they'd have found some that suit their tastes and competence and have something stimulating to do beyond doom scrolling social media. It is quite possible to game, read, have friends, and maintain a great balance between those activities and other forms of life. It is easy to displace those with social media and vice versa. All in all, I'll probably teach my kids to game even if they don't express a natural interest in it, because I ultimately believe it is a better hobby for most people than the lower hanging fruit like social media.


There's screens and screens, they can't be really lumped them into a single content.

I place TV at the absolute worst of the spectrum, so I don't have one. In addition to the tendentially trashy content, it is also typically used as babysitter, which contributes to the factor.

But there are also lots of interesting stuff to do with a screen; most importantly, they can be done together.


>There's screens and screens, they can't be really lumped them into a single content.

Same can be said about TV programs.

I watch Bluey (and only Bluey) with my one year-old daughter, and have genuinely learned wholesome, positive parenting techniques from watching this family of cartoon dogs interact.

That's not to say that there isn't a whole lot of garbage, but, like all media, TV programs follow Sturgeon's Law too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon%27s_law


Assuming your children are not 17 ...


My kids are just 6 and 3, but they don't do screen time at all. Compared to my friends that have tried limiting screen time, none seems a lot easier. They just don't miss or crave it.


Soon video game maybe be restrictive like sex to avoid the citizen went out of control.


It doesn't matter in the slightest whether video games are good for you or bad for you, it's simply none of the state's business..


If one were to have an addiction, I'd pick video game addiction for them - the side effects are not like drugs, and it's possible to recover from it without major side effects, and in addition you can get a penchant for solving problems and learning quickly if you break out of the addiction cycle.


I agree that playing a game might not improve a class of skills in general like coordination or problem solving, but I don’t think it requires much study to determine improvement of skills directly used.

For example, to improve your reading skills you need to practice reading. If a game is providing reading material and motivation to read, it will improve reading skills.

Games can also drive motivation in other areas. In the early 90’s when I started computer gaming, you actually needed to know how to use a computer and understand them to some extent. Half the time I spent gaming was spent figuring out how to get the computer to do what I wanted which lead to a life long interest in technology. Sadly, like the parent poster mentioned, that is probably no longer a thing.


> Half the time I spent gaming was spent figuring out how to get the computer to do what I wanted which lead to a life long interest in technology.

I remember the old days of "extended memory" which meant you needed slightly different configuration files for each game. That meant if you wanted to play a bunch of games, it made sense to learn how to write a bat script to config according to what you wanted to play.

You also had a terminal which gave a "computery" vibe, like you were doing something serious, because why else would the interface be so austere? Command lines are like magic incantations, and some people are just drawn to learning how they work.

Nowadays that entry route is gone, there's not much peeking below the OS desktop anymore on something like a phone or tablet. On desktop it seems like Steam just abstracts away everything else that you'd care about, though I'm not a heavy gamer anymore.


My first computer was a 486 33mhz w/ about 250MB HD . I could only keep a couple games installed at a time, meaning i was always installing and uninstalling. Then I had to play with the autoexec.bat and cmd.com files . Then I broke it. Then i had to fix it cause my mom was still making payments on the computer (like it was a refrigerator with a 10yr lifespan) ... This is how I got into computing. Come to think if of it I owe her some "interest" on how much she invested in my career. :)


+1 for breaking autoexec.bat (on a 386). And getting yelled at by my dad, who needed it for work.

Thankfully, this led to a great decision when he upgraded -- his old machine became mine. If I broke it, well, that was my problem, and I should learn how to fix it. Cue ~10 year old me learning about the Windows / DOS boot process.

In summary, we should encourage kids to play games, but make them harder to install and more prone to break your operating system, because it makes kids smarter.


That's an interesting idea. If I have kids maybe I should tell them "you can play any game you can run on Linux. Here's an Ubuntu CD, helpdesk is at google.com. If you get really stuck tell me what you've tried so far and I'll give you some suggestions on what to ask Google. Oh, by the way, if you'd like to write your own games, I'll be happy to help you."


For the last 15 years or so I have insisted most people I mentor, even young teens, build a new primary computer from parts and build Gentoo on it including the kernel.

When it boots successfully and can connect to the internet we then move on to helping them do any daily task they once did on Windows or MacOS, including gaming, art, schoolwork, etc on the new system.

Most choose another distro eventually once they know how to patch any software when needed, but some stick around and go on to develop operating systems themselves.

Many are doing very well in the industry today.


By the time you have kids that are old enough to play games, if you do, then you’ll probably know that this is an impossible conversation. The process will instead be to create a mystique out of your own habits, which the child will find intriguing.


That was me. I was given a Linux laptop, shown how to connect to the Internet (from a terminal), and basically told "good luck". 15 years later, I am happily working on embedded Linux systems.


I would encourage you to also spend time teaching and mentoring them even if they havent tried. Kids thrive on this kind of attention, and feelings of support.


I had printouts of autoexec.bat and config.sys for this exact reason.


I have definitely lamented how easy it is for my kids' generation to play games, compared to the memory optimization techniques I had to employ to even get them running ;)

> Ooh, if I LH the mouse driver and allocate a little more EMS it should work, but don't forget to load DOS=high,umb!


On the other hand NES etc was way simpler to get going on than eg. todays mobile games or a Playstation.


1/6 of my friends (we all own 286, 386 and play computer games) got into programming and became a software engineer. The policy is against online games. I am actually looking to setup a computer without internet for my 8 year old. I want him to learn about computers, but internet is definitely not something I want him to explore now.


Hah! You've just described my childhood, hacking autoexec.bat and config.sys to get games to work. Each game needed a different hack. Had no idea what I was doing back then, it was more a case of discovering the correct incantation until stuff worked without the graphics juddering too badly.


There is also the value of the skills being learned. Learning about extended memory may have been of value to some people in the day, but it had negligible value a decade later. It may have launched a few careers, but it did not have lasting value. Learning how to create batch files had more value since those skills were transferable to similar domains (e.g. Unix administration and software development).

That being said, people rarely discuss technical skills as a benefit of gaming. Things like resource management are more often brought up. Maybe there's some benefit to games in that respect, but I suspect most people learn about resource management within the context of games and very little of that is transferable to the real world.

This isn't to say I'm opposed to using games for education. I have certainly taught concepts in mathematics using Minecraft. Yet it does take a higher level of awareness of what you are trying to learn (or teach) than going through the mechanics of playing.


Understanding low level architecture of that time (and early memory management) and first steps of the boot process is definitely something that has been useful to me since then. DOS batch files scripting no so much...


I beg to differ about XMS. That particular technology may have only been relevant for a decade, but the idea of using a harder-to-access storage to supplement cheap-but-limited storage is everywhere. L1 and L2 cache, data warehouses, cloud storage, and so on. I value learning about that abstraction early on. I’d agree it’s not singularly career changing, but I don’t think knowing any one technology in the software industry is.


XMS wasnt a supplement, and its behaviour wasnt analogous to a cache. It was a 32 bit wrapper that would allow 16 or 32 bit* dos applications to access all "extra" memory that 32 bit systems usually got installed. The access was commonly provided via emulating the EMS mechanism - a 64k or 128k block to be paged within the fist 2^19 bytes, or by providing a 32 bit address for a usable block.

*32 bit and protected mode (ring3) support was provided usually via DPMI, an interrupt service managed by a TSR (daemon), or VCPI, a more complex privileged system. Some DOS extenders could also provide this functionality for their own binaries, notably the very popular DOS4GW.EXE, the Watcom dos extender. Yes, the name of the file reflects the physical address limit of i386 systems, 4GB. (note that when working with linear addressing, the max addressable range is quite superior due to the paging mechanism).


I do truly hope that this is a case where multiple starting points ultimately end going to the same place, largely. There are multiple entry points and what was a good entry point when we were young is not the best way anymore.

For one thing, now there are fairly easily reprogrammable boards that can do things like power motors for which you need to learn real programming just to start, even if you're using an example.

I am worried that a level of comfort with computers that we may have due to being there during the evolution will be gone, I certainly learned to type over 120 words per minute by playing a MUD, far more important than my actual honest-to-god typing class. I think-type, which is a result of endless text conversations and emails.

Are those fundamentally important skills? Why? At some level if they are skills which are needed there will be a reason to learn them.


Just offer linux, and let them figure it out!


My childhood story too. We ended pretty knowledgable, effective and borderline dangerous when the watered down systems arrived later.

I'd put in the same category the edition of saved games to change your amount of money to FFFFFF or the epic shenanigans required to setup a LAN party.


For some games sure, but those games now make up a subset.

Look at the 'casual' games which are optimized via AI to hold attention and trigger repeat use. It may not be much of a stretch to consider these drugs for the human visual/rewards system rather than videogames. And these attention-grabbing tools are only getting better as we collect more data and develop better algos.


Lot of things improve reading skills, like reading novels.

Arguably, writing video games and novels would seem to be more useful way to improve skills. That's how I got started in programming at all.

However, video games just doesn't seem life changing at all compared to all the things you could do.


If your goal is to learn a skill, there are better ways to go about it than gaming. The problem in learning that gaming helps with isn’t learning efficacy —- it is motivation.

As a child, I simply wasn’t interested in novels and enjoying playing games would be a prerequisite to having the motivation to write one.


english english english english english

A lot of people learned english via games


Depends on the person. I learned quite a few good habits from video games, particularly how to become more focused, driven, and patient. After getting fairly serious with a competitive game in my mid thirties, I found it translated rather unexpectedly to other pursuits. I am unsure if I would have found these parts of myself otherwise; I certainly hadn't before, and I had no shortage of variety in my hobbies or rigor in my career(s) prior.


I agree. Games feel like chose-your-own-adventure books, which were novelties and not nearly as engaging as a well-written book to read and visualize and anticipate.

A great way to help a child read throughout their life is to read to them every day, enjoy stories together and apart, and not to push too hard in any direction (they may enjoy different things, no problem). Asking open-ended questions helps, too, with time to consider and respond.


When playing various games you have to manage a budget, reason about logistics, get an intuition for basic physics, understand numbers and basic math formulas etc. There are so many skills you learn there that are seen as very important. How can passively reading a story book even compare to actively being forced to practice and learn these things?


Also there is quite enough room in life for both.


EVE is real.


I learnt English thru video games. I would not be here without them. But arguable, modern games with lootboxes and metrics are way worse than 90s offline games.


> I learnt English thru video games

To be honest I don't find this argument particularly convincing.


what’s wrong with what he said? that he used atypical (but still perfectly correct) spellings of “learnt” and “thru”?


Haha, gotcha


Exactly. I want to let my kid experience something similar. So I gave him (6 years old) my desktop pc. He is now playing around with windows settings. Of course looking for games on Steam. But he at least doesnt touch his Nintendo switch anymore.


Video games gave me the motivation to learn English, about machining, CAD, PCB design, economics and programming. Anyone who is against leisure is falling into the existential trap of capitalism. What is the meaning of doing productive work inside a video game? Since productive work is now leisure you actually run into the existential problem all the time. The video game runs into deflation all the time. People are highly productive, reducing the need of other players to be productive.

In fact, the very thing we beg for is an increase in the money supply. We are hoping for inflation. Meanwhile in the real world everyone is scared of that inflation thing. My latest project is literally pumping NPC vendors with basic resources to create money out of thin air to generate inflation. The paradox of creating money is that it makes people work and end up doing more "productive" work.


> If a game is providing reading material and motivation to read, it will improve reading skills.

Eh. No, that's not quite how that works. If you look at north american elementary school level reading, you may notice that books are often categorized by levels. Some of this has to do with complexity of sentence construction, some has to do with vocabulary, and some has to do with subject matter. The gist of the educational philosophy around reading is that one doesn't get better at reading by plowing through reading material at high volumes, but instead one needs to gradually level up by going through materials of appropriate complexity. One specific problem that teachers look for - especially in kids that advance quickly - is "skimming without understanding", for example (i.e. reading words/sentences phonetically, but without understanding their meaning/context).

Game text is usually not structured with any didactic value in mind (other than maybe appropriate usage of furigana in Japanese in consideration of target audiences). A lot of game categories don't even require any reading beyond recognizing words (which is somewhere between kinder and 1st grade level reading skill)

Also, even in games where text actually matters, you're typically spending a large amount of time doing other things (killing monster or whatever). In addition, the notion of games-as-reading-material ignores a fairly common phenomenon: a lot of people simply spam `A` to skip over dialogues - and even get stuck on one-off gimmicks that rely on reading the text carefully for instructions or clues.

To be clear though, practicing pre-acquired reading skills can help in the sense that repetition legitimizes, but IMHO that's a bit different than improving beyond a current level, and not necessarily all that different from what you get from reading cereal box/shampoo labels or reading comic books.


So what I think is a really strong counterpoint to your argument is the simple fact that watching movies in a language is generally considered a great way to learn said language. That's passive learning in a similar manner to what you would get out of reading in a video game.

It fails to train you in actually synthesizing speech though. So you need a structured approach as well, similar to what you describe, to fill out the many other facets of learning.

But it's still insanely valuable to do so.

reading things likely makes you better at reading things


Well, I think doing things way above your level "works" sometimes in the sense that there's a subset of things that a learner happens to be most receptive to at any given time, and immersing yourself at the deep end is a bit like brute forcing through the entire subject matter until something happens to stick. But this is inefficient and not guaranteed to yield any results at all.

I have some insight into language learning myself, having had both positive and non-positive experiences. On the one hand, yes, games and movies did help me pick up english vocabulary, but this is because I also studied english from an early age in school, the fact that English borrows vocabulary heavily from romance languages (with which I am fluent), and perhaps most importantly, the fact that I've immersed myself in it quite deeply during my teens, often preferring to read and write in english. Ironically, though, learning through entertainment media left me with some curiously weird learning gaps. For example, I only learned in my 30s that "down" (as in Final Fantasy's "Phoenix down") refers to a type of plumage and not some weird in-universe usage of up/down/left/right.

Now contrast this experience with this: As a kid, I also learned Japanese (though not to the same extent as english, let alone the extent required to master it coming from a romance language). At one point, my dad brought over some Japanese RPG games from a business trip to Japan, and while I did have basic schooling on hiragana/katakana, the teen-level kanji from the games was way over my head at the time, and I ended up learning virtually no Japanese from those games (I had to quite literally sit down to actively study kanjis to make any sense of what the game text said). I also consumed quite a bit of anime and not a whole lot stuck with me either, due to a lack of what I can "active practice" (i.e. my exposure to the language was mostly on a as-needed consumption basis, with little to no active effort to write or speak).

In short, I do think games can help nail down stuff you've learned elsewhere, but upleveling language skills from games alone is very difficult.


> For example, I only learned in my 30s that "down" (as in Final Fantasy's "Phoenix down") refers to a type of plumage

For what it's worth, that's not at all what I'd consider a weird gap. As an educated 40-year-old native English speaker, I think it's possible I've gone my entire life without speaking aloud the word "down" in the sense of plumage. I'd only expect a non-native speaker to know it if they spent some time focusing on animal terminology.


> I'd only expect a non-native speaker to know it if they spent some time focusing on animal terminology.

Id imagine pillows and bedding are where most people use this word.


Yeah, after writing that comment I thought about it a bit more and realized that I have used the word "down" in the context of pillows before. But that may have been one or two conversations in my life.


> Game text is usually not structured with any didactic value in mind (other than maybe appropriate usage of furigana in Japanese in consideration of target audiences). A lot of game categories don't even require any reading beyond recognizing words (which is somewhere between kinder and 1st grade level reading skill)

> Also, even in games where text actually matters, you're typically spending a large amount of time doing other things (killing monster or whatever). In addition, the notion of games-as-reading-material ignores a fairly common phenomenon: a lot of people simply spam `A` to skip over dialogues - and even get stuck on one-off gimmicks that rely on reading the text carefully for instructions or clues.

This is a consequence of modern gaming trends and by no means an issue with video games themselves.

There are a lot of game categories that provide or even require extensive reading. We don't have to accept _all_ games a beneficial; it's not like we use magazines and tabloids to teach reading comprehension either.

There are games where killing monsters isn't the primary goal, or even if it is a significant aspect of game play can be averted by finding alternative solutions, usually through the in-game lore.

Deus Ex was a great example where several bosses could be entirely side stepped by reading emails throughout the game (though to be fair, only a few of them actually required _reading_ the email as opposed to simply discovering it). Arcanum is another that if you pieced together enough of the backstory and paid attention to the dialog you could talk the final boss down. There are even more out there, as you mention, that offer hints to puzzles and gimmicks, some of which even present it as a riddle ensuring you read and understand the text rather than just found it.

Sure, a lot of people will skip these things and save-scum or post on message boards to get the answer, but that's not much different than CliffNotes everyone used.

If you want to use video games in school do the same thing we do for books: Select the games the offer quality reading and evaluate based on comprehension rather than completion. You can even require students submit save files to verify they took the reading path.


There's no need for mental gymnastics, it's a lot easier to simply argue that educational games are educational. But this doesn't contradict what I said: that most games are not structured in terms of didactic value.

I do, however, want to specifically call out the learning value of an R-rated game: if you are learning to read from it, that says absolutely nothing about age-appropriate didactic value of the game. At that level, the game ought to be making you solve quadratic equations or something along those lines for us to even begin entertaining the idea that they may provide any actual didactic value.


Grammar/spelling/usage is almost all about memorizing and copying others, so engaging in tasks that use those skills will definitely get you further faster than a step-by-step progression. I was reading and writing at a level far beyond my peers in elementary school, not because I was smarter, but because I actively read books for fun.


In developing countries games in 90s were a big avenue for kids to learn English. Mostly we had pirated games (a game costed 50-100 PLN, people earned 400-500 PLN a month, nobody used original software) without translations and with ripped cutscenes. So you had VERY big motivation to learn English to understand what is even going on.

I remember playing Betrayal At Krondor and Albion - story-heavy RPGs - understanding maybe 10% of words in any particular dialog or description :)

Additionally games train trial-and-error approach to technology which is why I think almost every software developer older than 30 that I know started as a gamer.

Nowadays it's a different world and I'm not sure games have such effects anymore, because it's much less demanding entertainment. They work out of the box, are translated into your language, affordable so no need to mess with virtual drives, keygens or copying cracks over game files.


I would agree with "the problem solving skills" section of your argument. But not the reading one. Getting good at reading is almost purely exercise. You do it more, you get better/faster at it, which has gains that show up in all kinds of fields be it tech, medicine, whatever.

Old school games had basically an entire novel embedded inside of them worth of text. 10 year old me wanting to read all of Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Trigger got an easy novels worth of reading in. Getting 10 years old to WANT to read is HARD. Anything that encourages that is good.

Modern games dont have that text, and even when they do they have voice acting to get around it. Games like Chrono Trigger and old school Final Fantasy are rare and dont get made as much anymore unfortunately. Its all gambling boxes.


> Modern games dont have that text, and even when they do they have voice acting to get around it. Games like Chrono Trigger and old school Final Fantasy are rare and dont get made as much anymore unfortunately. Its all gambling boxes.

What sort of games have you been playing?

Modern games come in every possible variety, and as soon as you look outside the likes of Fortnite you're swamped in story-heavy games, if that is what you want. The Atelier games, for example. Certainly those have voice acting, but not everywhere—and if that's a problem, pick the Japanese VAs.


I like text-heavy games and agree with the GP that they are not nearly as common as they used to be. Voice acting is almost universal and most games require subtitles to be enabled to have much of any reading.

Sure, are some games like Disco Elysium, Pathfinder Kingmaker or other D&D-style games, which are big walls of text with minimal voice over, but let's be honest, those games are targeting middle-aged people, not 10 year olds.

The games kids are playing today involve very little reading.


If I go on itch.io right now and pick something at random, the likelihood of it being both made by a teenager and involving written storytelling is quite high. Likewise a huge hit of the last decade was Undertale and it had the kind of success where I recall seeing kids draw the characters in chalk on the sidewalk. The evidence indicates that writing never went away, it's just not upheld by large productions(and even then, Nintendo regularly eschews voice acting).

To me, there's nothing sacred about text, it's just a medium.


One game that improves problem solving skills is Space Engineers.


Soooorta?

Stationeers does much better.


That’s way too taxing on my brain! :)


Give it a try! Start by looking at the Stationeers Venus series in YouTube, perhaps; that doubles as a tutorial.


Obligatory Disco Elysium mention, but it still proves your point, because it is considered so unusual by today's standards.


Though Disco Elysium is now almost-totally voice acted as well.


For what it's worth, I ended up reading and skipping the dialog more often than not. There's just so much text that having to wait for the narration felt interminable. It's great voice acting, though.


> a glass of wine with every meal

There's an apt outcome of the analogy too. It's likely the grapejuice is better for you before fermenting it, oh and the grapes themselves are better for you than removing all the fiber and the physical bulk that can help satiety.

I feel the same way about games. They may have positive effects over a null control (like sitting and staring at the paint on the wall), but reading a physical book is probably better for reading skills than an RPG.


This assumes the participant is equally motivated and emotionally positive about both paths, and has similar flow state through both paths.

Flow state increases retention and positive benefit, and flow state is often a function of motivation (fun), and more importantly, level of challenge. The benefit games have over nearly every other medium of experiencing a concept, is that the level of challenge is highly personalized.

If you spend a lot of time in one area of an RPG trying to comprehend the plot and thus solve the puzzle, it's still fun because you are moving around and performing more interactions and gathering small bits of context. Compare that to if you are stuck trying to comprehend one page of a difficult book as a 7-year-old.

Playing games allows our brains to catch up to complex concepts through (simulated) movement much the same way as going on walks allows us to process a difficult problem or complex system that is on our mind.


> This assumes the participant is equally motivated and emotionally positive about both paths, and has similar flow state through both paths.

Also worth adding to this thread that motivation is a feedback loop mechanism. If you're super stimulated by these slot machine like games, you're not going to find the long rewards of completing a book a week/month a very "motivating" option. So it's also worth looking at the motivational damage these things do to a person and how it's eliminating the motivational possibility of doing something of higher value. Cue the "dopamine detox" part of the internet.

> is that the level of challenge is highly personalized.

I agree and this is a good observation, which maybe can be had IRL, but i agree that it can be easier implemented and more granular in the digital realm.


It's only quite recently that we can get fresh grapes off season, that's why people used to drink wine with food - it stays consumable for much longer thanks to the alcohol it contains.


Cool, I'll keep that in mind if I ever buy a time machine


Also make sure it has robust location compensation - the cheaper ones skimp on that, so you might end up quite high up or even get telefragged into the ground!


personal anecdote: I've played hundreds of hours of driving games, my girlfriend has never touched a controller. When we got our Tesla, the backup camera view was perfectly intuitive to me and I was immediately comfortable driving the car backwards using just the display, but she was not. As we go into the future of computer driven everything, people comfortable with controlling things via computer interface will have a significant advantage over people who've only used analog control.


I still refer to the nav screen in the car as a minimap. Using it feels completely native.

Unlike some games however I can't drive using only the minimap...


> a glass of wine with every meal: it's worth looking into but at the same time it's the sort of thing that obviously doesn't scale linearly with the amount/intensity of consumption.

Fun fact, there has been recent research to show that the "glass of wine during a meal is healthy" is entirely a myth; _no amount_ of alcohol is beneficial to overall health [0].

[0] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803651/


(forgive me since I did not read your reference) but I recall there were some studies showing that the "health benefits" touted by the "glass of wine a day" studies were strongly correlated with:

- being middle to upper class (can afford a glass of wine daily)

- having good self control (drinking one glass of wine a day instead of many)

which are both good health outcomes


Even controlling for those factors, there is no health benefit to alcohol, ie a middle to upper class person with self control does not fare better drinking alcohol versus not drinking alcohol.


>_no amount_ of alcohol is beneficial to overall health [0].

I don't buy it. At worst, the negative health effects of alcohol are on an exponential J curve. Negative health outcomes like the risk of cancer is very small up until a rather high amount of consumption (4 drinks per day?) and only then outweighs the cardiovascular benefits.

Regardless, like meat consumption, I have no desire to give up drinking in moderation. I think that with this, like with everything, one has to weigh their enjoyment vs the potential for harm.


You may not buy it but that's what the data shows. Now, you buying it versus you wanting to not believe it is another story. I too drink in moderation but that doesn't mean I'll act like it doesn't have negative consequences, however slight they may be. The study is not prescriptive, it's not saying people should give up alcohol, it's merely descriptive, in that it's telling the reader what's happening as a result of any level of consumption.


Frankly, nutrition science seems like a bunk field. Common advice is overthrown every few years and you can find a study that backs up any viewpoint you want. "you buying it versus you wanting to not believe it" is a weird statement to make in the context of such a sketchy science.


> ... it's the sort of thing that obviously doesn't scale linearly with the amount/intensity of consumption.

Is there anything that actually scales linearly? I thought the law of diminishing rewards applied to pretty much anything you do.


I'd argue that benefits from games - at least from games in the 90s - scale in a weird but, to a degree, superlinear way. That is, if you do it only a little, you may as well not do it at all.

Come to think of it, quite a lot of things in life scale like this. Software development being among the well-known ones for this audience - e.g. if you'd be given only a 30 minute window for writing code during a day (or even a couple such windows spread out), you'd likely not even open the editor, as there's no point in even engaging with the task in such short window.

I'd go as far as saying that, in order to realize the most non-enjoyment value of a game, you not only need long enough sessions to fully engage with a game - you need long enough sessions to get bored with the game. But, that may be impossible with modern gambling-for-chindren-but-legal style of games.

You can imagine this as an "S-curve" model of value, where with games, the point most people consider "too much" for a kid is barely on the ramp-up part of the curve.


This seems very plausible. I suspect one of the most consistent benefits of games is that it trains the mind to pay attention to one thing for a long time. The longer those sessions, the more effective it probably is.


Sure, nobody is worried that if you eat healthy food every day or sleep 8 hours every night, it may eventually turn into life-impairing addiction.


> I thought the law of diminishing rewards applied to pretty much anything you do.

IMO, the interesting part of many things in life comes after a significant time/difficulty spike. Think of music, art, programming, athletic performance, etc.


I don't think anyone in this thread has discussed one of the other important aspects of gaming: the social aspect.

Especially in an era of "quarantine at home" - online gaming can be a very social activity and a way to make/grow friendships and play with others.

(Obviously I think getting outdoors and being active instead of staring at a screen all day is probably even better, but that is one benefit of games over just "grinding")


Might be relevant to point out here that China has largely avoided adopting the remote work culture as most people were back in office in summer last year.


The social aspect is a bit iffy. Talk to any female gamer and you're going to hear harassment stories.


Oh I have harassment stories as a male gamer too. Doesn’t mean male and female gamers can’t have fun with their friends online.


>I've read about studies that say that musical training (which is often believed to translate to improvements in other cognitive aspects of life) doesn't actually correlate to said improvements, and I suspect that the same might be true for games (e.g. solving game puzzles doesn't necessarily mean you get better at school math or whatever)

Lots of unchecked assumptions. I'm only taking issue with the music assumption. Do you have a counter to the studies you have read?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180326140244.h...


I do know of many studies that suggest the existence of a correlation between music education and academic achievement, but the gist of the argument against those studies is that they aren't well designed: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1747938X1...


I think regulation on past time activities isn't the appropriate approach. It's a slippery slope, are they soon going to regulate the amount of time someone can watch television, or the number of times one may go to a movie theater?

Knowing china's history, it doesn't seem too far fetched and sounds like we're slowly evolving into an episode of black mirror.


Ditto. Games certainly helped develop my problem-solving skills, but I reckon I'd have gotten 90% of the benefit in 10% of the time, and the remaining 35 hours a week would have been better spent elsewhere.


> ... correlation between games and violence (i.e. the consensus is that no such causation relationship exists).

I feel that the connection between violence and violence in games is far more subtle than a direct connection.

Video games are not real life but the thoughts and feelings we have when we play games are real. When we experience anger, sadness or joy in a game, all of these emotions are real for us.

When we have experiences pathways are laid down in the brain through the process of myelination and these pathways get reinforced over time by having the same experiences.

When we hit, shoot or kill something in a video game and get feedback, sound, visual or music, our brain starts to become conditioned to those experiences.

Our brains are plastic and flexible in that they can learn that hitting, shooting and killing, being violent can feel "good". It is possible that this can happen even being completely unaware of it happening.

If you make games, and there is violence in your game, I would seriously take a moment and consider. Is this violence in the game really necessary? There are many other options for different types of gameplay.


How about that old timeless classic pricipal of "my time is my time and not my government's" . We're not talking about parents limiting VG time, this is a government controlling the most minute details of everyone's social life.


Board games are far better brain exercise. You’re forced to compete with other people and the games usually enforce time limits. Or if they don’t, your opponent will force an end if you want to win.


Is this speculative or do you have anything to back this up?


Empirical evidence? If you’re going to play games for some supposed benefit, games where you are forced to compete or have brutal requirements are going to force you to think more.

I’m not talking Catan or Ticket to Ride. I’m talking medium to heavy euros or war games.


This subthread was originally a reply to https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28356453.


> solving game puzzles doesn't necessarily mean you get better at school math

That's not how improving through games works at all.

The things you understand through games are much more general than the surface of the gameplay. Total War (or Starcraft) won't teach you anything about commanding armies. But if you're observant enough it will teach you a difference between level-1 versus level-2 strategies. It will definitely teach you about the impact of timing on execution. It will show you complexity, risk, loss aversion, and how battles are usually won or lost before the first shot is fired. All these are useful things to experience so that you are better equipped to deal with them in real life.

What's even more important, the games will show you how YOU relate to these intangible concepts. How loss averse are you? Do you naturally tend to maximize win or minimize loss? How easy it is for you to abandon a pre-established plan? These and more are insights into your own nature that are not easy to get.

Finally, the multiplayer games will show you the human nature. You'll understand, for example, that different people play for different reasons, and just this understanding alone was worth all hundreds of hours I put into M:TG. I guess that most of the multiplayer insights are also available through participation (and/or managing) a regular sports team but I would have never been able to join as many of those as I had gaming teams.

TLDR: Games guide the player to instinctive understanding of categorical truths that underpin the simulations, and that is only possible through countless repetitions of similar scenarios* in different contexts. This is the true value of gaming.

[*] I'm not talking about grinding here[**], but playing same or similar games many times.

[**] although grinding can teach one about how seemingly small process improvements somethimes add up to a qualitative break ... and sometimes not. Figure out the best way to do a cow level run to learn more!


> This line of reasoning is also supported by research on

> correlation between games and violence (i.e. the consensus

> is that no such causation relationship exists).

On the face of it, this can't be true in all cases. Even Radio can be used to incite violence. A much less imersive medium.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_T%C3%A9l%C3%A9vision_Lib...

"Rwandan radio station which broadcast from July 8, 1993 to July 31, 1994. It played a significant role in inciting the Rwandan genocide that took place from April to July 1994, a and has been described by some scholars of having been a de facto arm of the Hutu government."

Games influence culture. The modern permissiveness to "punch a Nazi" has been very well conditioned and permitted. Often in games. "Nazi" can be easily redefined to include modern political opponents, at anytime in the future.


That seems like a false equivalency, clearly your radio telling you to kill your neighbors is a much stronger incitement than a game where you run around shooting at imaginary people.


>"research on correlation between games and violence (i.e. the consensus is that no such causation relationship exists)."

If there were no correlation, then is the perception of in-game abuse such as sexual (and other) violence, or milder sexism and "bro" culture exaggerated (including misogynism)? Is the view that there need to be more inclusivity (of many sorts) in games then unsupported?

I see people wanting it both ways (from both political spectrums).

It either affects us, so we need to be conscientious about what we put in there.

Or it doesn't affect us and it does not matter what we do in-game (violence, sexism, etc.)


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