An excellent letter to Senator Clinton can be found over at the LA Times. It really is a good read. I’ll quote several of my favorite sections here, just in case your clicking finger is tired.
“If the alternative to playing “Halo 2” is reading “The Portrait of a Lady,” then of course “The Portrait of a Lady” is better for you. But it’s not as though kids have been reading Henry James for 100 years and then suddenly dropped him for Pokemon.
“Parents can play this at home: Try a few rounds of Monopoly or Go Fish with your kids, and see who wins. I suspect most families will find that it’s a relatively even match. Then sit down and try to play “Halo 2” with the kids. You’ll be lucky if you survive 10 minutes.
“[It] is not merely a question of hand-eye coordination; most of today’s games force kids to learn complex rule systems, master challenging new interfaces, follow dozens of shifting variables in real time and prioritize between multiple objectives. In short, precisely the sorts of skills that they’re going to need in the digital workplace of tomorrow.
“Which activity challenges the mind more — sitting around rooting for the Packers, or managing an entire football franchise through a season of “Madden 2005”: calling plays, setting lineups, trading players and negotiating contracts?
“The last 10 years have seen the release of many popular violent games, including “Quake” and “Grand Theft Auto”; that period has also seen the most dramatic drop in violent crime in recent memory.
“Of course, I admit that there’s one charge against video games that is a slam dunk. Kids don’t get physical exercise when they play a video game, and indeed the rise in obesity among younger people is a serious issue. But, of course, you don’t get exercise from doing homework either.