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The loneliness of the solo gamer

The disadvantages of online games compared to social games.

The Internet makes it possible for thousands of people to play the same game at the same time. Often the players are not in the same room; they are not even on the same continent.

One or more flat screens, controllers, headsets, mice, and keyboards serve as the means of communication. There is no question that people talk, laugh, joke, and play with each other all the time. But actually, people only ever talk to a pane of crystal glass, behind which liquid crystals, electronically stimulated, form themselves into ever-new shapes. A one-dimensional interlocutor only feigns depth and emotions rather badly than well. But not only that, the player himself, although already amply shielded from the real world, hides behind an avatar, an online stand-in for himself, to whom properties that most players probably would like are transferred just with a click.

As fascinating as computer games are and whatever positive characteristics they might have, there is one thing that computer games unquestionably cannot do: prepare players for real people.

Game is communication - face to face

Game is communication - face to face
Game is communication - face to face

Online games or computer games are convenient because they make it possible to avoid uncomfortable situations. In real life, however, awkward situations are plenty. Irritated by no means has to be something difficult or even dangerous. It is usually about simple things that the processor of a tablet or laptop cannot pass on. It is a combination of motor skills, facial expressions, responsiveness, linguistic competence, and, very importantly, practice or imitation.

This is how people learn to communicate through and with other people. At some point, all of this together is called socially conforming behavior. Something that has always been difficult for many children and young people since humans have existed. - Today, in the Middle Ages or ancient Greece.

Communication is not infrequently expressed in adolescents through rebellion. Strife and resistance are essential components of communication and are part of the learning process. But today, direct contact and thus confrontations with other people hardly ever take place in children's and young people's rooms. The digital revolution is a quiet but all-pervasive revolution that makes children more silent than eloquent. While many parents may think that this is not the worst thing in the world, it should be remembered that the modern, democratic society was created by people talking, arguing, and playing with each other. Silent masses, on the other hand, open the door to demagogues.

Board games - the antidote

A collection of board games
A collection of board games
©: Raffalo - Fotolia

Learning through play is not just a buzzword; it is the best form of learning for adolescents because play increases receptivity and concentration. But only games that involve one or more human players or opponents with whom direct communication takes place. Contests are ideal for this purpose. There is a whole series of pedagogically valuable components that are learned consciously or unconsciously through parlor games. For example:

  • Adhering to rules
  • Learning to be patient
  • The realization that losing is not a disgrace.
  • Also, the realization that winning is not a permanent condition.
  • Thinking and proceeding tactically
  • Depending on the type of social game, improved control of fine and gross motor skills.
  • To think logically.

Of course, it could be argued that the components listed so far also occur in computer games. This is true, except those flesh-and-blood players in the same room are better teachers, even if they never call themselves teachers. While the computer stubbornly unwinds its program, every human being has emotions. These are things that, at least until today, only humans and partly the animal world knows.

Emotions are the salt in the soup of life

No computer in this world gets a spontaneous fit of laughter. No computer scratches itself at an inappropriate place at an inconvenient time. No processor suddenly starts making faces, and no graphics card talks with its hands.

But precisely, this and countless other emotions are the things from which humans learn social behavior, from the good or bad examples of other people. That is why parlor games are of enormous importance in the circle of the family and among friends. One or the other parlor game should be on the family program at least once a week.

For example, the game Klartext by Hasbro

In this game, everything is talked about, except plain language. This is prevented by unique mouthpieces or, better, muzzles, which one player must wear and at the same time read out loud a sentence from a card. The other players (4 to 10), divided into teams, must guess what he or she has read aloud to score points.

Another suitable game is UNO Extreme from Mattel

It is based on the well-known card game UNO. Except that in this game for the 2 to 10 players, a totally crazy, electrically powered card dealer spits out cards at random.

Both parlor games provide many emotions and are much fun with friends and family.

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