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"The Way My Kid Plays Video Games Pisses Me Off"


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I'm sure that many people have seen it already, but this article at The Escapist ("The Way My Kid Plays Video Games Pisses Me Off") popped up on my timeline recently, and it's made me think about how things have changed in the way people (especially young people) consume video games.

 

I think the writer of the article itself probably thought that they were being tongue-in-cheek, although to me it comes across as rather gross. There are parts where I think the writer is not really being honest with themselves, and that, deep inside, they actually think their child is a "filthy casual."

 

Maybe it's just me. Nevertheless, I'm a father of a four-year-old kid who has expressed interest in video games, and now I'm wondering what I should do next. On the one hand, I admit what I play and how I play is not the modern way. (I beat Konami Wai Wai World recently--an old-skool Konami Famicom game with an unrelenting, unforgiving design that would be unthinkable in this day and age. I enjoyed it, though.) On the other hand, I have mixed feelings about the pervasiveness of YouTube in consuming game content and the experience of Roblox-like games.

 

I don't have any immediate answers, but I am planning to let my child approach games as books--letting them play what they think is interesting, but checking with them from time to time, trying not to be pushy about my own likes and dislikes.

 

Or is that too hands-off? I'd be curious to know what other people think.

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6 minutes ago, Sane said:

I generally agree with that, but on the other hand it's heartbreaking to see them wasting their time on rubbish like Roblox or free ipad games while they could be playing actual games that are fun to play :(.

this

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My two are just coming up to 11 and 9. Eldest has only really shown an interest in three videogames: Minecraft, Fortnite and Splatoon 2. Youngest has a far broarder taste and finished Ocarina of Time during lockdown and is currently spending a lot of time trying to get a victory in Tetris 99.

 

Definitely just let them play what they want though (as long as its appropriate of course). Trying to inflict your own taste on your kids is pretty fucking icky and will surely only lead to rebellion. 

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Surprisingly my kids (4 and 9) don’t really try to play games much. The eldest used to play Lego Dimensions with me a little but she couldn’t handle moving both the character and the camera, so most of the time it ended in frustration for her and she just watched me do it. The few times she did try to play by herself I turned into a horrible backseat driver; she wanted to just run around in circles and I wanted her to actually do something, so I had to leave her to it and step away for both our sakes.

 

They do also enjoy Taiko no Tatsujin but they seem to associate it with Christmas and only ask to play on rare occasions. 

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My kids (7 and 4) play Minion Rush on an obsessional basis to the point of confiscating iPads. 
 

They also like Mario Kart and other Nintendo goodness. Oh and Minecraft of course. 

 

I keep an eye on the games they choose through the App Store as there is so much shit but generally let them try/play what they want. 

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38 minutes ago, Popo said:


Roblox has been exposed to be a platform underpinned by pernicious, exploitative practices. What’s wrong with wanting your children to steer clear from it?


That's a completely different issue to what's being discussed here though. If a parent doesn't want their children consuming something because they have serious ethical concerns over the company responsible or the content, I have no problem with that. But so far this has been more about the modern thing of men going STOP HAVING FUN WRONG and then trying to force-feed their kid He-Man* or something from their own youth so they're enjoying the 'right' thing in the 'right' way.

 

* Chose that as an example because of the reaction I saw recently in He-Man thread in Film & TV about the release of a new cartoon specifically aimed at children, despite Netflix releasing a faithful nostalgia-bait version specifically for middle-aged men as well. See also anytime there's a new version of an old property for kids, the online wailing about Thundercats was something to behold.

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Oh daughter you just don't appreciate the finer things in life! Put down that comic and read some Dumas, stop watching those nonsense cartoons we have some Ken Loach you've not seen yet.

 

Just let your kids play what they enjoy playing.

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By the time I saw this on Twitter last night the site's editor had already popped up in the replies to attempt to take the blame for the article away from the author. The Escapist hasn't exactly been a home to the sharpest writing minds in a while but this is novel.

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If I could have guessed where this article would have been published purely from the headline, my first guess would have been the Hard Drive or the Onion, but if you’d given me the clue that it’s actually someone’s real opinion I would have gone with Gamergate fellow travellers and tedious Yahtzee-enablers the Escapist. 

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I think the main thing I want to teach my kid is about IAPs/loot boxes and that slippery slope.

 

To kids growing up now, they’re just totally normal. 
 

Staying away from games that exploit people, like Roblox, is pretty high up there, too. 

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How does Roblox exploit people any differently than, say, Atari, who made games deliberately with the intention of them being as addictive as possible, to encourage kids to carry on putting coins into them?

This is a genuine question, I know very little about Roblox. 

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26 minutes ago, Anne Summers said:

How does Roblox exploit people any differently than, say, Atari, who made games deliberately with the intention of them being as addictive as possible, to encourage kids to carry on putting coins into them?

This is a genuine question, I know very little about Roblox. 


https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-08-20-roblox-exploiting-young-game-developers-new-investigation-reports

 

Quote

Roblox revolves around kids making games for other kids to play. Its developers can monetise their games, and are paid in a virtual currency called Robux.

 

As PMG points out, getting your game noticed among the millions available on the platform is extremely difficult - but you can use Robux to bid for an ad slot in an auction.

 

If any Robux user wants to turn their Robux into real money, the minimum withdrawal amount is 100,000 Robux, which is worth around $1000. This increases the chances a Roblox developer will not hit the cap and plough the money back into Roblox.

 

Meanwhile, creators cannot withdraw any Robux unless they first pay for a Roblox monthly premium subscription. And, as PMG points out, Roblox buys Robux from users at a different rate than it sells them (100,000 Robux gets you $350).


PMK compares this system to historical mining and logging camps paying workers in company scrip.


It sounds pretty shady and exploitative.

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1 minute ago, Anne Summers said:

How does Roblox exploit people any differently than, say, Atari, who made games deliberately with the intention of them being as addictive as possible, to encourage kids to carry on putting coins into them?

This is a genuine question, I know very little about Roblox. 

 

Even as a kid I found the credit mechanics on Atari's arcade games pretty scummy to be honest. I still loved Gauntlet, Rampart and Stun Runner though.

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My son loves, Forza Horizon 4, Minecraft, Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and recently he's been getting into Portal 2 and Hyrule Warriors. 

 

He's played Roblox round a mates house but never really expressed an interest in getting it here and he's never played Fortnite. I imagine all that will change as he gets older but generally he gets into what I'm playing as long as it's age appropriate. 

 

He's never sat through Star Wars though the little shit. 

 

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Even if you have issues with the ethics of the arcade model, I'd argue there's still a gulf of difference (even taking into account inflation) between the amount kids tended to spend in them and this:

 

spacer.png

 

Unfortunately even Nintendo are in on the virtual currency racket.

 

spacer.png
 

We've gone off topic a bit and I've contributed to that. There's two separate things being discussed here:

 

1. Policing exposing your kids content that you believe is ethically/morally wrong.

 

I don't think anyone has a problem with this.

 

2. Parents who get pissed off because they don't think their children are enjoying the right things in the right way at the right difficulty (usually why don't you like exactly what I did at your age).

 

The latter was the original topic of the thread.

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I've watched those videos and now understand a tiny amount about Roblox. 

 

My opinion is still that video game makers have always built their business model on exploiting children, getting them hooked on their products and parting them from their money (or nagging their parents for money that they can be parted from). 

 

At least Roblox (and Minecraft, Fortnite etc) encourages creativity, which the games we grew up with basically never did. I used to dream about accessible, user-friendly tools that would let me build my own games and worlds when I was a kid. 

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41 minutes ago, Harsin said:


That's a completely different issue to what's being discussed here though. If a parent doesn't want their children consuming something because they have serious ethical concerns over the company responsible or the content, I have no problem with that. But so far this has been more about the modern thing of men going STOP HAVING FUN WRONG and then trying to force-feed their kid He-Man* or something from their own youth so they're enjoying the 'right' thing in the 'right' way.



Sorry I should say I haven’t read the article, I was specifically responding to the mention of Roblox, which is a ‘game’ I think needs to be challenged at every opportunity for the reasons documented above. 
 

I do nevertheless think it’s an adjacent topic worthy of discussion in the context of what people want their kids to play, or otherwise. 
 

Here’s what bothers me about games like Fortnite - they’re just one single game, but they monopolise all of the available game play time kids have, so there’s no room for other experiences. I - like many people, I’m sure - have had an unhealthy relationship with games at certain points in my life, so I believe I have a reasonable insight into how they work and the effect they can have on people - everything in moderation, as they say, but games can tap into compulsive behaviour that isn’t healthy. Fortnite, Minecraft and other Gaas titles that dominate kids’ lives these days demonstrably fit into that compulsive part of our brain, which is a cause for concern in and of itself - but also because they don’t allow kids the time to play anything else. 

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