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[PATV] Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - Extra Credits Season 6, Ep. 16: Not a Babysitter

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited June 2013 in The Penny Arcade Hub

image[PATV] Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - Extra Credits Season 6, Ep. 16: Not a Babysitter

This week, we talk about how games can be a shared experience between kids and their parents.
Come discuss this topic in the forums!

Read the full story here

Unknown User on
Albino Bunny


  • Samus AranSamus Aran Registered User regular
    I'm surprised with all this Xbone news flying around the past couple of months you didn't do any episodes on that :/

  • EndarireEndarire In Christ JesusRegistered User regular
    A large part of parenting is being part of your child's life. It's like any relationship: If you aren't in it, that relationship isn't growing. As Extra Credits said in a previous episode, ("Minority", Season 6, Episode 6) a child is an adult without the thousands of hours of experience an adult has. A child offers a new and fresh perspective to something.

    For example, I, an avid gamer for about 25 years, have been playing RPG classics with my mother. She grew up playing card games and has played the occasional video game, but to put her in the driver's seat for Chrono Trigger (SNES) and Earthbound (SNES) lets her experience new stories and new experiences that she, in general, loves. (It helps that she's been a librarian for over 30 years.) It's also mother-son bonding time.

    Mind you, I've had her try a -lot- of games before this. She's not one for fast reflexes and can't get through the first level of Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) to save Mario's life. But she can enjoy these RPGs for the stories they provide and the life skills they teach. What life skills? Navigation! Memorizing important details. Battle strategy. Persistence.

    Chrono Trigger is -absolutely- a beginner's RPG and was simple enough for her to get the idea of things. Nevermind that she hated to run (instead of walk), and instead took about twice as much time to get through the game as someone who almost always ran.

    Earthbound is... quirky. It's also harder than Chrono Trigger, at least for my mother, when it comes to navigation and battle strategy. It also required more grinding, so there.

    Next up is Final Fantasy VI (AKA Final Fantasy III - SNES). Sure, it's long and we may never finish it, but it'll be wonderful to see her reactions as I do the voice acting for the entire cast.

  • Tendo NaryanTendo Naryan Registered User new member
    Another solid episode. I loved the part about the teacher playing GTA responsibly with his child.

  • PanethPaneth Registered User new member
    edited June 2013
    I might have been one of the odd ones but when growing up, my parents played Dungeons & Dragons (This is back in the 70's and 80's) and when I grew old enough they let me game with them and their group (who were all nice people of different ages), later on in life my Dad bought an Amiga and started playing games on that, we use to play a game called Panzer Blitz on that, taking turns. My Dad would explain about his life in the Navy while we played it and historical facts that were in the game. Even more years down the road, my love for games evolved into playing MUDS (This was just when they were just getting off the ground). I spent alot of time playing those, eventually I got my Dad to play them. He spent many years playing them and eventually became an 'Immortal' on one (Basicly an area developer) and even won a few awards for the work from various sites. Again, as time went on i developed a love for modern MMORPGs, my first one was EverQuest, after that there were too many to name, however World of Warcraft showed up and I spent alot of time on it. My Dad spent alot of time watching me play and asking questions about what I was doing, eventually he started playing himself. From there we have played all types of games together, most recent has been Xcom (The new one) and Skyrim. Video games have been a big part of my life (I'm 35 now) and my Dads, (Hes in his 60's and still pvps in WoW and EvE online). Because my Dad spent so much time with me on these games every one of them has been a positive experience in my life that I wouldent change for the world. Even now I call him up about new games he might like. This was alot longer than i thought it would be, but for some reason i felt the need to share that amongst all of the negative video game publicity. We see so few examples of what good games can and do, do.

    Paneth on
  • Casey ReeceCasey Reece Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    This is definitely one of my favourite episodes of Extra Credits. Just . . . so well done. Amazing.

    I remember Christmas when I was five years old. My Dad got me an NES. I didn't want to have anything to do with it originally, focusing instead on the wooden bowling set my Mom gave me, but after sitting down and having the controller pretty much forced into my hand, I was off on my first adventure with Super Mario Bros. I wasn't too impressed at first, getting absolutely blown away by that first Goomba, but after I was told to try the buttons by my Dad, and I discovered you could jump - suddenly I was immersed.

    That was nearly a quarter a century ago - but the gaming relationship never gave out between me and my Dad. The amount of hours he put into all the Zeldas, Sim City, Civilization, the Final Fantasy's, Chrono Trigger, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Battle of Olympus, Ogre Battle, Crystalis, Uncharted Waters, Sim Earth, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Rad Racer, various Baseball and hockey titles, GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Super Mario Kart (we still play it all the time to this day - like, All. The. Time.) and on and on it goes. Gaming was one of our connecting points, but he wasn't doing it to just spend time with me. He was legitimately interested in gaming - he was a gamer. He played games all his life, but now he was seeing a chance to play those games without pen and paper, with music, with beautiful art, and wonderfully crafted stories. With me.

    This is an episode of Extra Credits that everyone here should really get the word out about. As wonderful as this episode is, it's essentially preaching to the choir. If parents who don't visit Penny Arcade or look up gaming suddenly got this episode recommended to them by a friend, who had it recommended to them by a friend, I can see it doing a lot of good.

    All it would take is for the parent watching or helping their child play through a game to think for a single second, "You see, I would've done this," or, "I wonder what would've happened if my son tried the other door," to get the inspiration to pick up the controller themselves. As awesome as it is for folks to be cheering and helping from the stands (and don't get me wrong - that would be awesome) - actually being on the front lines with your kid in their gaming experience is what would make for a tremendous bonding moment. Not the kind of moment where you're telling yourself that you're being a good parent by watching or helping your kid play their game, but when you hear him chuckling with this look of disbelief on his face when you finish the level with almost no health and literally one second left on the clock.

    My Dad is the coolest Dad in the world. And games played a large part in our shared time together.

    Casey Reece on
  • Hawkmoon269Hawkmoon269 Registered User regular
    Dammit, now I wish I had a kid.

    Don't tell my girlfriend.

  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Jackie Registered User regular
    Samus Aran wrote: »
    I'm surprised with all this Xbone news flying around the past couple of months you didn't do any episodes on that :/

    They've stated previously they don't like talking about current news because a lot of the time they'll either wind up band wagoning or repeating an opinion that's being better expressed elsewhere outside of the constraints of a ten minute episode.

  • OphenixOphenix Registered User regular
    <3 Loved the gay couple on 02:54.

  • digital_ronindigital_ronin Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    The typical audience watching this can indeed take some cool cues how to interact more with their kids who are playing games. Thumbs up for that.

    As for solving the overall games / ratings / content debate like this... sadly, the typical audience on this board is nowhere near the average mainstream audience. Any actual parent watching this is almost definitely a gamer dad/mom.

    - Drawing parallels to human history while your kiddo is playing Civilization?
    - Figuring out the best helmet for your kids Blood Elf paladin by way of number crunching in excel?
    - Discussing references to the Oracle of Delphi?

    I'm sorry, but the average Jane&John Doe parents out there are typically too technically inept to perform an effective (let alone efficient) internet research. Or to compile a formula-based excel sheet. Or worst case, to even just know that "the oracle of delphi" is a historical figure that you can look things up and discuss about, instead of being a pure fictional character.

    I'm putting it bluntly here - but there's our problem.

    digital_ronin on
  • rainbowhyphenrainbowhyphen Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    One thing that consistently makes me smile is watching my little sisters play Minecraft, answering their questions, and inspiring them with wild tales of builds I've seen and features in the PC version that haven't spilled over into Xbox territory yet.

    I am delighted that one of them has shown an interest in programming, art, and game design! To think that she might be a part of this medium's future is just... gah, where did I put those tissues?

    rainbowhyphen on
  • BarnesmBarnesm Registered User regular
    "patiently waiting as they job into the same pit 20 times" been there, done that.
    Great summary and as a parent I can say you nailed it. Though I can not convince him that Mass Effect series is the best game ever.

  • SiddownSiddown Registered User regular
    I'll admit, when I heard him say that none of them were parents, I was fully expecting something completely ignorant because being a parent is a lot different than people expect, but was pleasantly surprised. Overall, it was a very good episode.

    I'm a single dad with an autistic child, and I've found that playing any sort of games together is the best way to teach him new ideas. Like how I taught him numbers by counting how many times he'd zoom past me on the swings in the park, etc. Educational games on my iPad have just become an extension of that, there are so many good ones out there for free (or under $2 at least), he's learned basic math and how to write his letters without even knowing it.

    Although I will say this, thank goodness for Angry Birds and Bad Piggies, because when I'm trying to make dinner, he'll sit at the kitchen table playing those rather than getting into trouble, which makes my life a heck of a lot easier for those 20 minutes. :)

  • jedidethfreakjedidethfreak Registered User regular
    Playing NintendoLand with my 5-year old is AWESOME! He kicks BALLS with Sword Link in the Zelda game, and all he does is "waggle" the Wii Remote. However, the game translates it into a level-long rendition of "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father - PREPARE TO DIE!!!!"

    I seriously believe that gaming WITH your children is one of the greatest of life's pleasures. And not even just GAMING with them - playing Legos with them, watching Let's Plays with them, general nerding out with them (as an example, my wife works at Walmart, and we got tickets to a special advance screening to Man of Steel the day BEFORE it opened. My wife was given an adult Superman cape from work that a coworker was using to advertise the advance screening to sell tickets. I got to wear it for the movie, and my son thought it was the coolest. Thing. EVER!).

    @Barnesm - Your child may not believe that the Mass Effect trilogy is the best game ever because it is easily dwarfed by Ocarina of Time.

    Wind Fish in name only, for it is neither.
  • darkmage0707077darkmage0707077 Registered User regular
    Man this episode brings up good memories for me.

    I remember growing up with a Nintendo and a PC as a young child. My family and I played on Nintendo quite a bit, and we had our skills divided up based on genre: my brother dominated all the zapper games (Duck Hunt, Hogan's Alley, etc), my mom could regularly beat level 30 on Dr Mario and similar on the hardest settings, and I'd play and beat all the rest (Mario, Zelda, etc). My dad was usually too tired from work, so he'd just watch on occasion, maybe pull out a boardgame if he was up to it (always fun), but he never complained. And I remember sitting there with mixed feelings of enjoyment and awe from watching my mom beat the tar out of Dr Mario and Tetris along with frustration because I wanted to play my games now :-P

    On the PC, it was more communal: we had a bunch of Sierra adventure games, and we were all trying to work through them together. We'd all come up with ideas to try, my parents would help us spell and tell us what to type out to get it to work, and my brother or I would move around and type commands out. I will always remember the day I got off school and my mom greeted me with "Guess what! I figured out how to get past the energy barrier in Space Quest!" and I rode home almost hopping in my seat with excitement over it. I also recall a party my parents through, and watching as a whole bunch of adults crowded around my mom as she played King's Quest and everyone throwing out suggestions on what to do next.

    The way of the Paladin:
    To Seek,
    To Learn,
    To Do.

    If the speed of light is faster then the speed of sound, is that why people always appear bright until they speak? o_O
  • akrahunakrahun Registered User new member
    Putting in my story as far as this goes. Have a friend who loves WoW and has a pretty dern strong warlock in it. His kids (who were like, 4 and 6) knew that daddy played, and they thought his warlock was awesome, so they wanted to be able to try it out. What he did is he would let them quest on the warlock IF they read the quest to him. They both learned how to read very quickly because it gave them incentive to, and they liked questing on the toon. Point being, you can find ways to make it into an educational experience if you think outside the box.

  • MyrphMyrph Registered User new member
    I'm 22 years old, my Dad is 53 this year, and we're still interacting through video games to this day. My Dad has been playing video games since before I was born, either arcade cabinets in the pub, or with his C64 and Megadrive, and I'd say he's easily just as much a gamer now as I am, if not more so, since he's probably got far more time to play them at the moment than I do, which is slightly frustrating at times, because he's already played through the entire Mass Effect and Darksiders series, and I've not yet played beyond the first game.

    I'm living away from home at the moment as well, so we don't get to see each other quite as much as we used to, but that has the added bonus of having stuff to talk about when I do get the chance to go home and visit, and one of the most common things we catch up on is what we've been playing through recently and the experiences we've had playing games. Whether its him complaining about his wife leaving him in Fable after he accidentally let her catch him murdering someone in a bar fight, or the joy and relief he felt after spending several evenings trying to defeat the final boss in Borderlands, or comparing strategies for getting through Darksiders, its such a great feeling to be able to bond with him over something that we both enjoy and can relate to.

    Even my Mum is something of an avid gamer, and the number of times I've gone home to visit and ended up being roped into helping her solve a particularly fiendish puzzle in one of her games probably surpasses two hands now.

    So yeah, I am fully on board with the message in this episode, and I can't wait to have children of my own so that we can bond in the same way that I've been able to bond with my parents.

  • Titanium DragonTitanium Dragon Registered User regular
    The US government, realistically speaking, probably can't rate games, and certainly can't control who can purchase them, because it would be a violation of the first amendment of the United States Constitution. It has been ruled previously that video games are protected speech, and as such, the government has pretty much zero power over their content.

    And really, I don't think kids playing mature rated games really matters at all. I watched Jurassic Park when I was in 2nd grade (opening day, in theatres) and watched R-rated movies starting in around... I dunno, 6th grade or so?

    The truth is that people pretend like kids can't deal with this stuff, but really, they can. Its really not that big of a deal for most kids. Sure, some kids have trouble with it, but really, a lot of kids are a lot more mature than adults give them credit for. They can in fact distinguish between video games and reality.

    That's why adults buy M-rated games for kids - because it doesn't matter. A thirteen year old is quite capable of playing pretty much any video game.

    In any case, while you certainly CAN watch your kid play video games, I know my parents almost never did, and it wasn't a big deal to me. Video games were a solitary activity for me and I was pretty okay with that. But of course it varies from person to person.

  • DarmaniDarmani Registered User regular
    Black, white, asian, young, old, mixed-race, and same sex. Smiled noting they kept diversifying on the families wonder what inspired it. I mean I know they do that with developers but seemed more conscious an effort. This felt like a genuine outreach and much more updated refined version of one of the original Game Overthinker episodes.

  • LittleBlackRainCloudLittleBlackRainCloud Registered User regular
    Interesting episode, you seemed to completely sidestep the effects of the act of using the medium as a babysitting tool.

  • GardenSavvyGardenSavvy Registered User new member
    Great post ^_^ I'm a Mum and a gamer and my now 8 year old is huge into video games. I even wrote an article about it that was published on Offbeat Families:
    The latest benefits are an above her class average reading level despite being a year younger than everyone in her class, and bonding with my new partner. Thanks for the video and the hard work trying to de-vilify games! x

  • trevoracioustrevoracious Registered User regular

  • JexreffyJexreffy Registered User new member
    My dad was the biggest influence on me getting into video games. I use to play games with him growing up all the time. So much so that once I was going through my old Nintendo Powers and saw that on the mailing address it had my name as the receiver for Issue 1 of Nintendo Power... I was 1 year old at the time. So it was always something we did together.

    Especially because he was fighting Hodgkin's Lymphona all through my childhood. Because of his illness, video games were all we had for the most part to spend time together. We'd try other things, be he was just too sick. He eventually died when I was 12.

    I love this episode because of my experiences with my dad and hope other people can use games to have other experiences with their children.

  • JokerPWJokerPW Registered User new member
    OMG !!!
    I guess this episode was one of the best EVER !
    I keep telling my wife I'll be this kind of parente. Not that she doesn't believe me, but I kinda knew it was possible to make a gaming experience something to be shared between parentes and children.
    Thank you once more, guys ! =D
    [ ]'s

  • themilothemilo Registered User regular
    I don’t have any memories of playing games with my dad, I do remember destroying his cities in sim city 4.

  • lastcallcomiclastcallcomic Registered User new member
    Awesome episode, thank you for this one. We are due to have our first baby in about a month and we really hope to be the "engaging gamer parents" described. ...Also it will be nice to have one additional person to raid with in WoW. ;) Some great tips in this video; thumbs up! :)

  • GodEmperorLetoIIGodEmperorLetoII Registered User regular
    How dare parents think games are a baby sitter! That's TV's work!


  • J. D. MilknutJ. D. Milknut Lord of Chipmunks Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    I generally refuse to ever help kids with games. I think one of the most valuable things that games ever taught me is that I can solve my own problems if I stick to it. Because there was no one to help me I was able to complete an old game that was actually broken as a kid. I figured out how to outthink the buggy build of the game because I wanted to know what would happen so bad (it was Final Fantasy 5, actually. There was an underwater room that was completely undecipherable because of a problem with the game) and I made it through. I have a nephew who throws down the controller and asks for help the moment it gets difficult. Not what I'd want to teach.

  • FulgoreFulgore Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Extra Credits, you guys have really touched my heart and hit to home on this subject topic for me. Thank you. You actually have left me remembering so much of my childhood, full of both good and bad times with this particular topic, but in the end, I am tearing to myself about this with tears of joy, I will never forget the experiences I've obtained and learned from this medium and I don't want people to be able to be left out of that possibility of getting the same feelings I have from it. Thank you for once again educating the masses as well as reminding me of good things as well as the good deeds you have done for others.

    P.S: I wrote Extra Credits an emotionally charged thank you letter as well, just to express how much this affected me even, I thought I would share that to the eyes reading this.

    Fulgore on
  • gtademgtadem Registered User regular
    A few things I wanted to counterpoint if I may...

    1) At the very start, you say how dare you talk about parenting when you're not parents. Don't believe they hype. Not only were we all children which makes us veritable experts by experience, but this is the day and age of the internet. All the studies are available to anybody willing to partake of them.

    2) While mentioning government intervention, you failed to bring up the most important point. Government is force and therefore anything it says it's doing ends up achieving the opposite effect. Poverty was in decline and almost completely gone in the US before the government stepped in to "help the poor." Today we have the largest dependent class in human history as a result. The "war on drugs" has led to drugs being more available than ever before despite all the violence carried out against people for victimless "crimes."

    3) Later in the video, you say that a parent could encourage their children to look stuff up. I think you could only say this because you're not parents, but refer back to my first point. Do you not remember as a child wanting to learn everything you could about everything you could? Children are natural born explorers thrust into a brand new world that they spend half their life trying to figure out. No parent has ever needed to encourage their child to look something up. With the exception of research projects government schools force you to do, think of all the things in your life you've researched without anybody encouraging you to do so... especially in the day and age of the internet.

    I hope these counterpoints are not taken as criticism, but rather encouragements in how to approach these topics from outside the tunnel vision of "just" gaming.

  • teknoarcanistteknoarcanist Registered User regular
    I work at Toys R Us. Parents don't give a shit. The harder you try to tell a parent that this game is REALLY not appropriate for their child, the more offended/indignant they get.

    Lady, I'm not questioning your parenting. I'm just saying, if you let your 10-year-old kid play Max Payne 3, you're a bad parent.

  • ConanTheGamerConanTheGamer Registered User new member
    My brother use to let his daughter play GTA III. When I first seen it I was kind of shocked. Until I seen what she was doing. All she would do is climb on top of a car and ride it around the city. As many times as I played GTA III I never thought to do that. Although I tried to do that in GTA IV but it wouldn't let me do that. The drivers would get out of their cars and yell at me.

  • Echo2OmegaEcho2Omega Registered User regular

    "Poverty was in decline and almost completely gone in the US before the government stepped in to "help the poor." Today we have the largest dependent class in human history as a result."

    Where did that information come from?

  • MinuteWaltMinuteWalt Mister Registered User regular
    Nice one, guys!

    My daughter and I have spent many, many hours playing games together. The Animal Crossing series has probably logged the most hours, but she's a worthy contender on Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and party games; she has helped me/played along/been moral support with Portal 2, the last 2 Assassin's Creeds, and The Walking Dead series; and asked for (and got) Antichamber for her birthday, which we play solo, separately, but talk about it. Lots more examples, but I agree it's super-important to game together.

    But when you mentioned teaching research habits, that information processing is more important than information retention: THAT'S A WHOLE EPISODE. I know it's a little off-topic, but jeeze, it's relevant! Not a lot of people talk about it, but there needs to be more discussion on this.

  • Ash-HousewaresAsh-Housewares TARDIS Hunter Registered User regular
    This needs to be a mandatory viewing material for parents buying video games for their kids.

  • Gwazi MagnumGwazi Magnum Registered User new member
    This should be something that get's shown at the ECE (Early Childhood Education) college program I'm in at college. Not them heavily saying that video games are bad for a child's development, is a bad influence etc.

  • Triggerhappy938Triggerhappy938 Registered User regular
    I can't help but think that this video is somewhat preaching to the choir. I mean, the parents who really need this talk are not typically the kind of parents that watch video series about video games or visit Penny Arcade. I'd bank they are more often the kinds of people that can't get to facebook without using google.

  • Plus2JoePlus2Joe Registered User new member
    This was a great episode. I wonder, though, how parents horning in on their child's playtime would be received from the kid's perspective. Some people (yours truly included) play games FOR the alone time sometimes... I appreciate the desire on the parent's side to be a part of the kid's gaming time, but I think I wouldn't have liked the intrusion when I was younger.

    Then again, that's a pretty small sample to pull from; I don't know how it is for everyone else.

  • TerezarTerezar Registered User new member
    When I was young, my mom was never much of a gamer (considering it was the 80's, gaming was still relatively new) but she would kick my butt at Dr.Mario, or if I was playing an RPG or a platformer, she would act as an operator, getting involved int he stories, advising me on decisions, or she would do exactly what Extra credits suggests, doing research on levels or puzzles I was getting stuck on. It really brought us closer, and I hope to continue the tradition with my kids someday.

  • MalthusXMalthusX Registered User new member
    When I was a kid, my Dad was into flight simulators and everything space. We played the original Jet Fighter together, and I would keep an eye on the bomb clock while he flew the plane. I must have been about 3. Later on, we would play the original Lucas Arts X-Wing. Dad would fly the ship, and I would handle shields, targeting, weapon switching, and comm chatter. I was basically my Dad's R2 unit.

  • neuroflareneuroflare TempeRegistered User regular
    My dad loved almost any sim, so he made sure we had a decent setup, good joystick and all of the falcon 3 series, the mechwarrior games, and Wing Commander. Even though he wouldn't buy us a console I was provided a rich gaming environment to nonetheless.

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