Saturday, 12 April 2008

what are we teaching our children?

So I'm looking at a game called Jane's Hotel.

Now, as I mentioned long ago, I don't 'get' time-management games. They're all about duplicating boring repetitive jobs. I don't have a boring repetitive job, I don't want one, and I certainly don't want to play one. (Although if in the real world, boring jobs fired off stars and sparkles and praise as often as the games do, people might enjoy them more.)

So on the one hand, I'm not sure these are the sorts of aspirations I want to be passing on to young impressionable minds. But more importantly, from my perspective, the writing in these games tends to be awful. Not just dull, but a grammatical nightmare. This isn't really surprising, because many of these games are developed by people whose first language is not English.

But the thing is, children learn language through seeing and hearing it used by others. My own language skills were influenced by the fact that I read a LOT as a kid. (My spelling was also influenced by reading, which caused some trouble at school over British/American variation.) Loading up kids with this terrible muddled Engrish is not exactly setting a good example. Portals wouldn't approve games whose graphics were as messed up as the text is... Why do they approve games whose English is so awkward you can't even understand the directions? (Not this particular game, but there have been some.)

People make such a huff and fluff about the supposed effects of violent games on children. What about the effect the READING in games can have on children? It could be good... but in the current state of affairs at portals, it's actually rather bad, and some of these 'child-friendly' titles have NEGATIVE educational value...

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