Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Youth of today

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants. Old Tobold complaining about badly behaving youth in WoW again? No, Socrates (470 - 399 BC). Over two thousand years later, and grown-ups are still complaining about pretty much the same thing. :)

"Every generation before us had to fight for food, shelter and survival; everything that made up life for them, we had handed to us on a silver platter!" – And what do they do with such opportunity? They play video games and complain about life. Obviously not Socrates again, but a commenter on the Internet Movie Data Base quoting from, and commenting, the movie Corpse Run, which is going to premiere at the Cinequest film festival this February 27th in San Jose. The Corpse Run website has a trailer and some scenes, or you can find them on YouTube.

The film is about a group of young people who grew up playing video games. There have been countless books and learned studies written about this "Net generation", but of course the movie is funnier. And it can make you think. What if video games and the internet *do* change kids? Not necessarily the "GTA turned my kid into a killer" horror scenario. But wouldn't it be strange to assume that those kids could have spent thousands of hours with video games or surfing the net and not been influenced in any way? Ideas like that in the end you always win, like in a video game, or the sense of entitlement that comes from getting so much free stuff from the internet, might very well have changed the attitude of a generation. Unfortunately that attitude might not be optimal now these kids have grown up right into the maws of huge recession. Maybe we should promote video games that are all about hardships and having to struggle to get ahead. Everquest, anyone?
I can definitely see one thing happening they said: Instead of the family around the TV it will be the family questing together in some MMORPG. I already know 3 families that play wow together as it is, and there are definitely more out there. As the median age of parents continues further into the video game generation, it will be more and more common.

Hell, we have you, old man Tobold. You've been playing video games longer than I have been alive most likely. Do you see yourself completely stopping from all forms of video games any time soon, if ever?
You've been playing video games longer than I have been alive most likely.

I played my first video game on a home computer in 1981 (on a ZX81). Are you younger than 28?

Do you see yourself completely stopping from all forms of video games any time soon, if ever?

No, but I do see me playing different games than the average teenager. And my point wasn't that people growing up playing video games wouldn't stop doing so, but that things like the constant reward systems of video games reprogrammed our brains and changed the way we think of the real world.
ZX 81...
Man , the memories...
First you type your game into computer, then you play.
And kids today think server maintenance inflict their play time.
I know, I was making a completely unrelated comment :)

But you do have a point; There are lots of articles out there about how to handle "Millennials" as the people born in the 80s onward are now called. They act completely differently than Gen X. They are very goal-oriented and tend to demand things from their employers in a way that destroys the foundation of an employer-employee relationship. Business are being forced into new and strange power relationships in many fields, especially the tech industry, thanks to this shift. Employees demand and businesses supply.

I don't know if I can judge it as a BAD change. It certainly has a lot of negative qualities as seen by the previous generation (Usually involving work ethic). But there are a lot of positive changes mixed in there as well.

I think an interesting facet will be a major shift in how the labor markets will need to be conceived. Less power is wielded by the employer the more and more sophisticated technology becomes, because the less and less you can substitute one worker for another.
Regarding the sense of entitlement, I'd have to give that booby prize to the boomers. It's not something that millenials have cornered the market on. yes, consumption of the media kool-aid can certainly have an effect on psychology. Whether it's the shopping channel, YouTube or games, our brains are still subject to the GIGO effect. (Garbage In, Garbage Out) That said, I don't think that games are any worse than any other media that we've seen throughout history. They are different, yes, but I tend to think that the entitlement mentality is something that media can feed, but it's something that starts internally. Selfish people can manage to be selfish under any circumstances.
I think the biggest effects of video games are: 1) the expectation of instant gratification, and 2) the belief that everything valuable can be quantified, aka the munchkin syndrome: .

WoW teaches us all to be thugs: beat up others and take their possessions. In post 2.0 WoW, you even get "honor" for doing so!
Dudes. I played a "star trek" type game in 1978 when I was a Sophomore in High School that basically was a grid of asterisks representing the universe. You used coordinates to move through the galaxy and occasionally encountered planets or other ships that were just typewriter symbols on a printout and maybe 2 lines of text. And it was amazing. The computer took up an entire room at a University where I was visiting for some math/science competition.
Hah, I played battleship on a paper terminal in a university computer center in 1973. I was 4. Beat that!
I'm not sure video games teach people that they always win. Because not everyone wins all video games, they frequently get put down before they are completed. So they may well teach "if you work at it you win, if you quit, you don't".

Even if they do teach "you always win", I'm not sure that is worse then the lesson of TV: "any problem no matter how complex it appears is always resolved at the end of the hour, and the good guy tends to win".

(I did more or less grow up with video games, at least since I was 10 or so and Atari brought out the 2600...but I'm sure I consumed more TV then video games, while from what I hear it isn't uncommon for it to be the other way around now & I definitely play video games for more hours then I watch TV now)
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