Video games as teaching tools
EDT October 2, 2013 Sam Fisher is back and ready for action: Blacklist is the latest in Ubisofts Tom Clancys Splinter Cell tactical action franchise. (Photo: 2013 Ubisoft Entertainment) SHARE 43 CONNECT 30 TWEET 3 COMMENTEMAILMORE Tom Clancy’s legacy in books and film goes without question, but there’s another medium where the author’s reach can’t be overlooked: video games. Ask any video game player about Clancy, who died Tuesday in Baltimore at 66 , and it’s hard not to recall the intense interactive works bearing his name, specifically Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six. Clancy’s role in video games started in the late-’80s, with PC titles based on classics including The Hunt For Red October or Red Storm Rising. He would eventually open his own video game studio, Red Storm Entertainment, which publisher Ubisoft acquired in 2000. “The teams at Ubisoft, especially at the Red Storm studio, are incredibly grateful to have collaborated with and learned from him, and we are humbled by the opportunity to carry on part of his legacy through our properties that bear his name,” read a statement from Ubisoft’s Facebook page . For myself, it was the trio of Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell that were most memorable. All three franchises boasted unique identities. Ghost Recon seemed to give players a broad command of the battlefield, not only barking orders to squadmates as a military leader but controlling equipment from UAVs to attack helicopters. The tactical, squad-based shooter Rainbow Six followed a similar path, but focused more tightly on the player and his squad. Then there’s Sam Fisher, the star of Splinter Cell, who covertly slipped past enemies with his signature night-vision goggles (how can you forget that sound effect?).
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The game includes track, football, tennis and a host of other sports that players must use their bodies to play. Couch potatoes or not, video games cannot be blamed for making them. If anything, video games should be blamed for positive social interaction. When arcades were at the height of their popularity, they were all about the social experience. They were a place where children and young adults gathered to compete and have fun with each other. Though arcades are not as popular as they once were, the social interaction that they once encouraged holds true for video games. Friends frequently get together to play at home and there is a plethora of games that support online play, allowing people to play and interact with each other on the same level as many of the popular social networking sites. Warcraft, a real-time strategy game, incorporates team play that inspires players to form international friendships and even relationships. The general focus of video games today is online play, and many players do not take part in the single player missions of their games. It is easy to see how the benefits of playing video games far outweigh the opinions born out of misinformation. Sure, too much of anything is bad for anyone and moderation is key, but with all of the benefits that can be received from playing video games, it is pointless to argue against playing them.
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