As parents, we are continuously told that it is bad for kids to spend their leisure time playing video games. The experts say too much screen time, which includes slumping in front of a games console or smartphone, is detrimental to a child’s development. The problem comes if you love gaming. After all, how can you sit there and tell your kids to get off the PS4 when you are about to spend the evening vanquishing monsters on World of Warcraft? It is a tricky dilemma.
Lots of adults love to play bingo and other modern games. These games are visually attractive, fun to play, and designed for smartphones and tablets. Kids also love to play the latest games and many of them will nag their parents to death in order to persuade them to pay for the latest game release. But what many parents fail to realise is that there is a place for retro games, and if you can persuade your kids to give them a go, they can have hours of fun.
Gaming in Moderation
Clearly spending every waking hour gaming is not healthy. After all, you need to eat, sleep and socialise. The same applies to kids. If they exist in a gaming netherworld from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed, homework is not going to get done.
The Joys of Retro Games
Retro games are simpler and less immersive than modern platform games. Remember Sonic the Hedgehog? It was addictive and fun, but you didn’t need to create a wealth of new characters or forge alliances to have a good time on your Sega Megadrive.
Many modern games are released too early. They hit the virtual shelves full of bugs and glitches, which causes headaches and no end of frustration. Larger platform games also require updates and patches, which take forever to download and can be costly.
Retro games are so much simpler. Most load really quickly and you don’t need an internet connection to play. Features within the game can be unlocked as you play, usually as a reward for being good at the game, and there is no extra cost involved. In modern games, extra features often come at an extra cost, which can be immensely frustrating for parents.
Parents vs. Kids
The great thing about encouraging your kids to have a go at some of the retro games you used to play is that you stand a reasonable chance of actually beating them. Most kids have grown up gaming, so their skills are finely honed from hundreds of hours of intensive play. Adults have to work, so they don’t have as much free time. Even if you are not an expert on the retro games from your misspent youth, you are still likely to be better than your kids.
If you have yet to persuade your kids that retro games are fun, organise a retro gaming evening for the family and let them have a go. The kids will have a ball.