Category Archives: Video Games

Sadness for Nintendo, the Industry & the Public 

Category : Blog , Video Games

Adam Nintendo

Source: LSG Family Collection

July 16, 2015

Do you have a Nintendo product in your home? Maybe a DS or a Wii console? Do your grand/children play video games?

Then, you should know this: Satoru Iwata, President & CEO of Nintendo, passed away this week at the age of 55. His philosophy was summarized in his keynote speech at the Game Developers Conference in 2005: “On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” The Farewell Tribute video can be watched at the end of this post.

I find myself saddened by this news, saddened because the industry has clearly lost a talented leader. Saddened because Nintendo has been a part of our home since our son, Adam, then 3 or 4 years old, introduced us to the gaming industry in the early 90s. Adam saw his path from moment one before he could even have a turn (older children not sharing) with the controller or a hand-held, before there were memory cards (hence the frustration of stopping and losing all of one’s efforts, only to have to start over), and way before an MS degree in Interactive Entertainment existed (Thank you FIEA).

Our second son, Zachary, believes he has been playing since his toddler years with the Nintendo playing path paved by Adam. We hosted many a large sleep-over all nighters while our sons played this “new” activity with their friends & we shared in the joys & frustrations of the “boys” winning & losing. The University of Florida’s College of Fine Arts surely did not anticipate Adam’s every project would revolve around, dare I say, video game topics, heavily loaded with Nintendo themes, as he pursued his BFA in Digital Media & co-founded the Interactive Digital Entertainment Association (IDEA).

Now, as I spend my days with this Center’s “friends”, I continue to surprise these children, teens and young adults with “video-game knowledge”, limited, but they do not realize that since I have “advisors” who make sure I have the right information. This shared knowledge gives me credibility in their eyes, allowing them to trust and share an interest, and allows us to start off on the right foot. But there is more value in video games than meets the eye.

And, after more than twenty years, this Center will officially begin to use video game consoles within the therapeutic context later in 2015. WAIT, I know what you are thinking, but please hear me out! There are many studies (which have been posted on this site and elsewhere) supporting the benefits of using video games for a wide range of speech, language, learning, social communication & related needs.

I knew this time would come, where the value of the art and technology of video games outside of “gaming” would be supported. I knew it first as a parent, second as an SLP and last as the Director who must approve this idea. To be clear, this “tool” will be just that, another tool used to benefit each “friend’s” communicative needs, and will be used in conjunction with a long and wide range of low-tech and traditional tools. ~ Lori

Thank you, Zachary, this Center’s Social Media Advisor, for sharing this important post. Thank you, Adam, this Center’s Technical Advisor, for sharing your passion of the video game industry with our family. Remember Iwata’s reference to the framed Japanese characters hanging behind him, “Doku-so”, which translated means, “creating something unique.” A goal we can all embrace no matter our path. ~ Mom


Children with Autism & Video Games – Research Study

Category : Blog , Video Games

Children with Autism & Video Games

This article shared by The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association involves a study which “…looked at parents’ attitudes regarding engagement with video games by their children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

The Study’s Purpose & Findings

The study was conducted to determine if parental attitudes vary based on ASD symptom severity.

The study found no significant differences in the time, intensity, or types of games played based on severity of ASD symptoms (mild vs. moderate).

Parents of children with ASD expressed favorable attitudes about video game play, indicating that it was a positive experience for their children with ASD, particularly if the parent believed that the games were having a positive impact on his or her child’s development. 

Furthermore, parents of children with ASD generally believed that positive behavioral outcomes were associated with video gaming in areas such as social skills, fine motor skills, language skills, reading and writing, and critical thinking. These beliefs were significantly related to the development of positive attitudes toward the use of video games. Further, parental support and positive perception of engagement with video games did not vary substantially based on the severity of their child’s ASD symptoms, whether their child was reported to experience mild or moderate forms of ASD. These findings appear to indicate that parents would be supportive of the use of video games in educational and therapeutic contexts.”

Overall the key factor was reported to be ‘positive impact’. So, if your child appears to experience a “negative impact” from playing video games, limit play time & find positive alternatives.

Our Message

Children’s Communication Center is able to work with you and your child with autism, with both low and high tech SLP tools, including video games.

As with all activities, monitor your child. Also remember, if a child lacks the skills for success, his behavior may be due to frustration with the game playing.

Contact us if you’d like more information.

Who Is Robert Baer?

Category : Blog , Video Games

Video Game History

With video game playing all around us, take a moment to share this post with your children.

Let them learn about the inventor of the home video game system, Robert Baer, who recently passed away.

Help your children see the use of science, computers, math, engineering & art, and appreciate that video games/systems are part of history!

GameSpot Shares This Quote

“Had I listened to all those people 40 years ago who were telling me to stop the nonsense or made remarks like ‘are you still screwing around with this stuff?’ and hadn’t proceeded, we might all not be here today…Certainly things might have been different.” Robert Baer

Your Child’s Interests

If your child is interested in the “world of video games“, s/he can explore how to earn a college (undergraduate and/or graduate) degree in many of the areas involved in video game development!

You can read the full HuffPost article, Ralph H. Baer, ‘Father Of Home Video Games,’ Dead At 92, here.

Video Games and Learning

Category : Blog , Video Games

Video Games As Learning Tools 

More research continues to show the “promise” of video games in the realm of learning.

An Excerpt from: Beyond Grades: Do Games Have a Future As Assessment Tools? By Katrina Schwartz

“The state of mind that game designers are chasing is similar to what teachers are trying to do, which is get students in the zone of proximal development…That means finding the “sweet spot” where the material isn’t too easy or too hard. It should provide a challenging and thus engaging experience, but not be such a frustrating experience that students quit.Games reach this state naturally by preventing players from moving on until they’ve mastered the skills needed at lower levels…”

To read the entire article from Mind/Shift, go here.

Surviving Cancer With Video Games

Category : Blog , Video Games

Video Game Play for Survival of Cancer

Meet Steven Gonzalez, a cancer survivor & co-founder of  The Survivor Games.

“I’m the cofounder of the Survivor Games—a virtual arcade that I’ve sought to share with other patients,” says Steven, now 19 and a freshman in college. (Yes, luckily for us all, he’s happy, healthy, and engaging with the world as he was born to do.)

“The Survivor Games gives kids the ability to connect with other people who may be going through the same thing. It provides a sense of being a kid, which gets pushed to the side when cancer is part of your life.”

Read the full article from Mashable, here.

Game-Based Learning Benefits

Category : Blog , Video Games

Praise for Video-Game Based Learning

From the Mind/Shift Article: Forget Gold Coins and Badges: The Real Value of Video Games for Learning 

This article begins with, “Game-based learning is not gamification!” exclaims Jordan Shapiro, author of FREEPLAY: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss.

Shapiro further states, “…Video games teach critical thinking, problem solving skills, and perseverance while building metacognitive skills. Game-based learning can provide systematic, data driven teaching in a way that forces creative problem solving rather than rote memorization…”

What Do We Think?

Children’s Communication Center is in the earliest stages of using video games in our intervention sessions. Mr. Shapiro’s perspective adds value to our move in this direction.

Additionally our Social Media Adviser, Zachary Grayson, wrote several research articles on this very topic while in the Upper School at Maclay School, also in support of using video games in the classroom.

Maclay High School Graduation 2012

For more information

Read the full Word/Shift article here.

Read the Forbes article, Here’s Why We Need Video Games In Every Classroom, and watch the video here.

Video Games Are The New Textbooks

Category : Blog , Video Games

Can A Video Game Replace A Textbook?

From KQED Mindshift:

“Educators typically think of using digital and video games as the actual learning tool, but one teacher is using video games for something else entirely — as a replacement for the textbook…”

High School graduation day!

To bring it into the classroom, Jeff Mummert who is a social studies teacher and department chair at Hershey High School in Pennsylvania implemented this change.

Why Video Games?

According to Mummert, “…game designers put a lot of time and thought into developing aesthetically appealing games that they think will draw players into an imaginary world.

His interest in games in the classroom focuses entirely on asking students to think critically about the game in the same way they would analyze a text or work of art…”

Read the full article here.

3-D Animation & Motion Capture Technology In Medicine

Category : Blog , Video Games

3-D Animation & Motion Capture Technology Show Promise for Uses in Rehabilitation

“In the film and video game industry, motion capture technology is used to convert people’s movements into computer animations -With 3D animation, we can measure the joint angle, speed and smoothness of the arm motion, as well as which compensating motion patterns the stroke patient is using. This give us a measurement for the motion that we can compare with an optimal arm motion in a healthy person…The 3D animations have provided a completely new level of detail in terms of mobility in stroke patients — knowledge that can help patients achieve more effective rehabilitation…”

Thank you, Science Daily, for sharing this information.

Read the full article here, dated December 18, 2013

Video Games That Will Inspire Our Children

Category : Blog , Video Games


From Mind/Shift: Beyond Minecraft: Games That Inspire Building and Exploration  

There is no denying that our children are absorbed in game play. But let’s remember it’s not all a negative.

Many games foster critical thinking, problem solving, and creation skills & develop self-motivated learning.

Take a minute to review the list of games which “…have the potential to extend that learning, providing fresh outlets for self-expression in the digital world and beyond…”

For the complete article by by Tanner Higgin of Common Sense Education go, here.

Video Games & Empathy

Category : Blog , Video Games

Video Games, Empathy, and Education 

An Excerpt from NPR’s All Tech Considered, Aired November 20, 2013

“…Much of the modern education reform movement has centered around the drive for data. Standardized tests now gauge whether children are at grade level seemingly every few months. Kids are observed, measured and sorted almost constantly.

In Silicon Valley, a $20 billion industry does much the same thing — but for a different purpose.

Video game design has become a data-driven industry where games evolve depending on how they are played.

Now, some game designers are hoping to take these new skills and apply them back to education. But not in a classroom — they want to teach with a game on an iPad.

From Football To Feelings

More than 30 years ago, Trip Hawkins left Apple and founded Electronic Arts, the company behind EA Sports. The man who helped make Madden NFL a cultural icon now has a new vision for games: He wants to teach.

For sports video games, Hawkins brought game designers together with experts in the field — athletes and statisticians. Now he’s bringing counselors into the mix. He wants to give those counselors data about what kids are actually doing in the games they play.

To read the transcript or listen to the All Things Considered Show, click here.