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Monday, June 09, 2008

It's Good For You, But How Good?

I'm reading Everything Bad Is Good For You and I just finished the video game section in Part 1 and it immediately occurred to me the problem with the lessons video games are teaching you.

The author goes on about how we play games because the "rewards are both clearly defined and achieved by exploring an environment." But that's just it - in the real world, there's a lot of crap you have to do that doesn't have a clearly defined reward. One of the big complaints about "kids today" is that they expect to rocket through the ranks, becoming management in the first year or two after college, and all of us Gen Xers are laughing at them because we're still waiting to get there because the Baby Boomers are dawdling on this whole retirement thing (and don't seem the least bit interested in training us to follow them out of fear that we'll steal their jobs). So while the telescoping effect of task on top of task to achieve a bigger objective is a valid skill, the idea that you'll be rewarded consistently is a bit misleading. As any Gen Xer knows, you're just as likely to get laid off rather than rewarded after doing all the right things and busting your tail to perform miracles at work.

So that's a terribly cynical take-away from my lunchtime reading. Good thing I have a really cute kitten at home to bust me out of my cynicism. The world just seems a warm and fuzzy place when a kitten starts purring at the mere sight of you and wants nothing more than to be picked up and held close.


  • You could level the same criticism at the idea that success is just a matter of working hard and doing your best, though. Hard work and doing your best are not actually a guarantee of success, but that's a pretty deeply rooted part of the American myth. And I'm not really sure that it's a part we should do away with, or stop trying to reinforce.

    By Blogger Natalie, at 11:08 AM  

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