Thursday, December 11, 2014

Video Game Social Experiment

This is brilliant and sadistic. I foresee a future Marvel bad guy in the making. Andy Baio has been performing a social experiment on his son that was planned before his birth! The test? Make his son, Eliot, work through the history of games before getting to today's newer content. The hope was that Eliot would appreciate games for what they are and not take for granted the achievements developers have been striving for, for decades.

"Before my son was born in 2004, I was prepared. I’d brainstormed a long list of sociological and psychological experiments with friends and coworkers, ready to unleash my inner Milgram on my unborn offspring."

The "experiment" began when Eliot turned 4 in 2008. He was given games such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaxian. By 2010, age 6, the kid beat the original NES Legend of Zelda all on his own. Based off of Baio's tweets, Eliot is going to be one hell of a gaming threat when he becomes old enough to compete. This year was the finals for the test, when Eliot reached age 10. Baio finished it off with games that were released at the time of his son's birth, such as Katamari and Shadow of the Colossus.

Like any nerdy parent, he had his concerns that the test would fail from the get go. "In the days leading up to his birth, I’d jolt awake in a cold sweat from nightmares of raising a six-year-old athlete, begging me to go outside to play football or baseball or some other dreaded physical activity." None of us want the child athlete. My biggest concern for my cosplayer friends whom are parents is that their children will despise all of the dress-up times.

Like any kid today, he does love the games that his peers do - aka Minecraft. But he also appreciates game that provide him with mental and dexterity challenges. The kid beat Spelunky. That game is a bitch. I want to see Eliot go after Ghosts & Goblins. I'd love to see his speed run on that.

This is a fun read. I love the interjection of tweets when Eliot hits a milestone. "He just gathered all 120 stars in Super Mario 64!" I'm sure some people would be horrified that someone created and acted upon a social experiment on their own child, but is teaching one to appreciate history all that bad?

"So I gave my son a crash course in video game history, compressing 25 years of gaming history into about four years. At this point, you’re probably either thinking I’m a monster or a pretty awesome dad. Maybe a little of both. That’s okay with me. My son is amazing, he loves video games, and more than anything, he loves playing them with me."

That's "father of the year" material, ladies and gentlemen.

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