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September 04, 2005

Are Games Important?

As I sit here, pondering what to write for my next GameDAILY Family article (due tomorrow - D'OH!), I find myself glued to the television, flashing back to almost exactly 4 years ago, when I watched my TV with a similarly profound sense of loss and helplessness.

When a tragedy of this magnitude occurs, it's natural to wonder just what we can do, if anything at all. So we cry, pray, grieve, volunteer, donate...
    ...and hold our own children close and make sure they know how precious they are to us, over and over and over again. We find ourselves holding that hug or that kiss goodnight just an instant longer.

    For some people, this is the kind of overwhelming tragedy that makes them question just what they are doing to contribute to the common good. "Are video games really so important?" they wonder.

    A few days ago, as I watched the Astrodome begin to fill up as it played its role as the new sanctuary-of-record, I was struck by something one of the Houston volunteers said. She told a reporter that other than food, water, beds and medical care, their most important task was to round up as many fun, kid-friendly DVDs as possible.

    She and her fellow volunteers understood something very important. The many displaced children who were thrust into their caring arms are going through what no one on this earth should ever experience. And they understood that these children needed, if only for a moment, to feel like kids again.
    To laugh.
    To cheer.
    To imagine.
    To fantasize.
    To play.
    To dream.
    To hope.

    And while she only mentioned DVDs in particular, just imagine how happy those kids would have been to put aside the misery, pain and fear, to spend a precious few moments with, or better still, as SpongeBob, Jake, Buzz Lightyear, and The Prince.

    What this said to me, loud and clear, is that even in the midst of hell...
    Fun is important.
    Play has value.
    Games matter.

    While there is more I could say to expand on these thoughts, I'll leave it at that for now, because I hesitate to use this catastrophe to further my own politically-charged game-related agenda, right though it may be. :^)

    I'll write more on this topic down the road. For now, I'm going to kiss my kids goodnight again. Then I'm going to say a prayer for the past, present, and future victims of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Then I'm going to back to my TV.


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