Gamer Dad: Helping Kids & Parents Find the Right Games

“You have to be a gamer to understand games!” ~Andrew Bub

Andrew Bub, parent and game reviewer and creator of the site Gamer Dad promised that by the end of the session we would all be gamers. He built on comments from our other keynote speakers: that every time a new art form enters our media, hysteria ensues. Movies, horror comics, rock & roll, even penny dreadfuls etc. The video game discussion always seems to boil down to violent or catharsis? Perhaps Nintendo did a disservice by promoting the concept that video games are for kids.

What is a gamer? Someone who is …

  • Smart
  • Curious
  • Competent
  • Like new things
  • Not idle
  • Up for challenge
  • Wants to learn new skills
  • Not necessarily looking for blood & gore, violence & death, looking for a complex game that involves player interaction
  • Competing for bragging rates
  • (sounds like a lot of librarians I know!)

Andrew provided an overview of game genres, and concluded by sharing the kinds of questions he gets from parents.

Q. What future jobs are games preparing kids for today?

A. Programming and robotics for a start.

Q. Can you convince my parents to let me play Grand Theft Auto? (Since he endorsed Halo 3 as not all that bad, compared to real life)

A.“It’s up to your parents.” He advises them not to, but he doesn’t say NO and doesn’t judge parents who say yes

Q. Are games addictive?

A. They are gripping, in an can’t put it down kind of way.

Q. Do games desensitize us?

A. None of the hardcore gamers at PAX wanted to see Gamer Dad’s scar – too gory. Even young kids understand fake is fake and real is real, and the video game environment offers consequence free play.

Q. What games do your children play?

A. Wii, Hulk, High School Musical: Sing It