Fun and Education
A game is basically a structured type of play, usually undertaken as a recreational activity, sometimes intended for fun or entertainment, and at other times used as a strategic educational tool. Games are quite different from work, which tends to be performed for remuneration, or from literature, which tends to be more of an expression of philosophical or aesthetic elements. In work, a group of people work together to realize a set goal. In games, individuals or teams of people work to achieve a set goal, with the ultimate goals of achievement being achieved through a system of rules and feedback established by the participants.
One of the most common characteristics of games is the aspect of the development of characters and stories within the games themselves. Games require a certain degree of critical thinking and the ability to problem solve in order to be successful. Usually the players are required to analyze and evaluate a variety of options in order to make a decision as to what actions to take. For example, in a computer game, the player has the option of choosing between weapons, upgrading them or using them against each other, in order to get the best combination. When the player makes his/her decision, it is important to note that the outcome is not static, as changing circumstances will affect the results of the subsequent play.
Games can also be used as teaching tools. For example, many educational games use board games as teaching aids. Board games in this regard often use the strategy element and the ‘theme’ of the game as a means of engaging students in a critical and analytical mode. In turn, students are taught how to construct relationships, how to communicate effectively, how to organize teams, how to control their resources, how to negotiate, how to make choices according to their interests, how to critically examine a situation, how to problem solve etc. Moreover, computer games can be used in’socializing’ environments, where the interaction is dependent on group dynamics. Such games can include ‘dress up’ games (for example, ‘Sponge Bob’ and ‘Cute Animals’), ‘word/number’ games and even social games where players compete with others based on varying degrees of attractiveness (e.g., ‘Make Her laugh’, ‘liest contestant’).
Online games also provide an opportunity for players to interact with each other. Players can chat or compete with each other online. In fact, it is a lot more enjoyable to play games with friends online than it is to play alone. Moreover, it would not be difficult to find like-minded players online. This is why social games, especially those that utilize social interaction, have become extremely popular on the World Wide Web.
Computer games can also be used to teach a wide range of subjects. For example, a game such as’Tetris’ teaches players the value of spatial awareness, how to use a mind grid to solve problems and how to memorize Tetris words. Likewise, a game such as ‘Uno’ teaches players the basics of using a computer and how to use common office tools such as Microsoft Office. It can also be used to teach children basic skills, such as recognizing letters and shapes. In fact, it can even be fun for them to learn new things!
Online games can be a great way for children to exercise, develop their minds and socialize with others. At the same time, such games provide entertainment and education at the same time. The bottom line is that playing online games provides children with an almost unlimited amount of fun and educational opportunities. No other video entertainment can offer this much value for so little money.