We've traded in dugouts for rec rooms and music staffs for floating colour-coded charts, but can these novelties - along with fake characters, hand-held controllers, and generated crowd noise - compare to that moment when you actually connect with the ball and watch it soar over the pitcher's head?  Can they match that feeling of when you played that ridiculously difficult song at your recital, without missing a single note or beat?  

Although substitutions work in some circumstances, like substituting butter for margarine in baking, or typed reports for hand-written ones, I feel substituting simulated "exergames" for organized sports or that guitar-to-the-rescue thing for learning to play a real instrument do not (work.)  You can't become a professional rainbow button pusher and you can't make it to the big leagues or learn team spirit from your basement... no matter how many points you earn.  

Even though they are fun, do you agree that video games can take value away from traditional forms of activities?  That being said, are they better than nothing at all?
 


Comments

06/15/2012 11:31am

My trouble with this argument is that it's not a zero sum game. We dont' have to choice one over the other. Because they're comparable activities and many are embracing the "new" we've set up the this vs that position.

With regards to the music, I once asked a musician about the use of garageband and he said all music is the manipulation of a device so digital music is every bit as legitimate.

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06/15/2012 9:45pm

I apologize if I came off as being anti-technology here, but I guess I'm one of those people who believes that in order to know where something is going, you should understand where it came from. It bothers me how the ability to read "traditional" print music is becoming a lost art, even though technology makes it more accessible (and environmentally friendly.) Many schools nowadays are cutting their music programs, which can give students the impression that is not important.

Because of digital editing programs, almost anyone now can create musical sounds with a click of a mouse. But, that sound originates from a physical instrument. I'm not saying that tools such as Garage Band should not exist but I feel that its important for kids to know more than just the digital side of things so that traditional music is not completely replaced. Knowing how to read print music is still a valuable skill, in my opinion. We still teach young children how to print and hand-write, even though there is a shift toward using computers to type things.

There's also the whole social aspect of activities. Even though we can collaborate online with all kinds of people from all over the world without ever having to be in the same room as them, I feel that something can still be said about successfully interacting with someone face-to-face. And, sports can offer opportunities that online interactions just can't provide. Can a high-five emoticon feel the same as a physical high-five gesture?

In a perfect world, I guess everyone would be able to participate in both technological and traditional versions of activities, but because of reasons like low income, living in isolated communities, and lack of available coaches/instructors, being able to do both forms of an activity isn't always possible. I understand that some kids aren't able to experience the same things as I did growing up - like being part of a team that travelled and did everything together and learning how to read music notation - but I wish they could... even if they chose not to continue with the traditional forms of those activities at least they would know both sides. I will certainly agree that technology has helped to improve traditional forms of activities, though. Instruments are recorded into digital programs like Protools that have unlimited tracks and then the final product is distributed in an easy-to-transport digital medium (i.e. MP3); referees watch instant replays to determine who scored in a game. So I guess you can't really have one without the other anymore, but the egg did come before the chicken... and there still are lots of eggs.

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