Chris Crawford on Board Games

A video game is a repetitive, interactive form of outdoor, hand-to-eye play, normally undertaken for fun or entertainment, and occasionally used as an educational instrument. Games are quite different from work, that is generally carried out for remuneration, and in comparison to art, which frequently is an expression of artistic or aesthetic impressions. In the latter case the artist creates the object of art in order to communicate some hidden message to the spectator.

Console and computer games are usually separated by gender and nationality, although there have been recent efforts by developers to create niche titles solely for men. Video game consoles, once sold only to the hardcore gaming enthusiasts, have become mainstream consumer items. Many young people today spend a lot of money on electronic games and accessories. One reason for this is that the consoles and other devices have become a status symbol. The owners of these high value items routinely belong to a certain group of people and are regarded to possess high culture status.

Computer games are normally single player games, whereas video games are typically two or more player games. The emergence and wide spread popularity of online multiplayer computer game platforms such as World of Warcraft and Eve Online has given rise to a new sub-culture. This sub-culture is characterized by persons who play electronic games in their free time and share their experience with others. Some of these persons are so serious that they regularly participate in live online games leagues and tournaments. Others are just gamers who enjoy spending their spare time in a virtual reality. Others still get enjoyment from playing computer games while waiting for a bus, train or plane.

Popular computer game systems include Microsoft Flight Simulator, Play Station, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Microsoft Paint is the preferred painting program, followed by Corel Draw, Direct Paint, Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop. A person with a good eye for design can create professional looking images using these programs. Using the appropriate graphics program one can create images, animations or 3D effects, which can be used in web pages, flash websites or for making presentations.

Video games also provide many mental benefits. They improve hand eye coordination and problem solving capabilities. Some researchers believe that playing video games improves the ability to solve problems analytically, a skill which can help children in the school and playground. In fact, research is beginning to show a direct relationship between playing electronic games and the performance on standardized testing. In a recent study, preschoolers whose mothers played video games performed significantly better on a math test. Researchers believe that the ability to solve abstract problem solving tasks develops through a series of learning experiences and is similar to the development of language skills.

In addition to improving basic cognitive abilities, Chris Crawford suggests that computer games can foster a sense of accomplishment and self worth. He attributes this positive impact to the increasing sophistication of game interfaces, the creation of virtual worlds and the integration of technology into video game design. Computer games allow players to experience a wide range of emotions such as excitement, elation, fear and satisfaction. This sense of accomplishment can help people feel competent and capable about their abilities.

To date, Chris Crawford has designed more than twenty different computer game titles, including some well known titles. These include Colonization, Crocodile Tears, Backgammon and Risk. Although it is important to remember that each game title functions differently in different operating systems, most are designed to be compatible with the majority of computers. A variety of different graphics options is available, including full screen mode, window mode and DOS mode. The availability of multi-player options allows individuals to play with friends and family members who may have a different system than the one that the author has tested.