Relevant article on gaming that appeared in Saturday’s Herald Sun:
Cheryl Critchley From: Herald Sun September 12, 2009 12:00AM
The important thing for the younger players was to have the active involvement of their parents.
Brothers Luke (left) and Ben Tindley-Cox compete on their Xbox. Source: Herald Sun
SOME online computer games are good for your social life, new research has found.
The Charles Darwin University study found devotees of online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft often felt connected to others and enjoyed a sense of community.
Academics Peter Forster and Paul Fong found games involving virtual communities had clear benefits.
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Far from feeling isolated, the players of some computer games feel connected to others and derive a sense of community from their game playing, they found.
The study, to be presented at the Australian Psychological Society conference in Darwin, found games with the clearest interactive components had the most social benefits.
They included the likes of World of Warcraft, Neverwinter Nights, Lord of the Rings Online and Club Penguin.
Next best were competitive gun or projectile-based combat games, such as Call of Duty, Counter-Strike and Halo, and the real-time strategy game of Starcraft.
Least social were those with no online interaction such as Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario games, Guitar Hero, Doom and Need for Speed.
Dr Forster said while there was still much to learn about game playing, negative aspects such as violence, aggression and addiction had attracted more attention.
This result clearly contradicts the stereotypical image of the computer gamer as someone who is lonely, alienated or isolated, he said.
Instead, computer games with interactive components may be regarded as another way people can make contact with each other.
Ben Tindley-Cox, 6, and his brother Luke, 12, love computer games, which proved a welcome distraction when their mother Megan, 43, who died last month, was seriously ill.
Luke, who will shave his head with several friends next week to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, loves Runescape, sport and battle-type games.
Dad Brendan Cox said knowing that some games had social benefits was reassuring.
“Luke has been asking me to get the Xbox connected up to Xbox Live so that he can compete with others on the internet,” he said.
Dr Forster said families should aim for games that were educational or had health benefits, such as Wii Fit, but added it was all right to play for pure entertainment.
Although the article states that games such as Guitar Hero are not amongst the more sociable games, one only has to see three generations of female family members playing Guitar Hero together to beg to differ on the definition of the word ‘sociable’.