Is Technology Always Better?

As the holiday season is in full-swing, many families will be having game nights as a way of bonding and spending time together.  My family and I have been deciding what new games to purchase and play this year and the discussion came up amongst both family and co-workers about whether the high-tech games are as family-friendly and fun as the original low-tech counter parts.


Playing games as a family also lends itself to being a great educational experience.  Children learn how to follow rules, take turns, make informed choices, to be a humble winner or a respectful loser, build team skills, learn money management, and broaden their vocabulary.  As the youngest child in my family, I have great memories of playing family members at Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Clue, and Scrabble.  My older siblings challenged me and it provided a great and memorable learning experience.  So is the choice to pass on the tradition to the next generation going high-tech or to stay with the old school board games?


Monopoly:  Electronic Banking is a newer version of Monopoly that allows users to swipe their credit card at the bank transactions including pay day, buying and selling property, buying and selling houses, and basically anything that includes movement of money.  This allows the game to move faster, however it doesn’t provide some of the tactile responses or learning opportunities that are great for children.  You don’t actually get to “hold” your property, take money from the bank, count change, or ponder over choices of “to sell or not to sell” as much because it seems so rote.  My vote is for original Monopoly.

Interactive Video Games

All major video game makers have come out with interactive gaming systems that allow the user to interact with their body, voice, and movements to control the game.  This has advantages over traditional games because it allows more interaction between the user and the game.  Many games have been made for these systems that are family-friendly and make great additions to game night.  Hasbro Family Game Night, Mario Party 8, Wii Sports, and Kinectimals are all family-friendly game night video games.  Hasbro Family Game Night takes the traditional board games and makes them into an electronic version.


Scrabble has also has a technology upgrade to Scrabble Flash.  However, the two games have very little in common than the fact that they both have to do with building words.  Scrabble Flash is a better one person game that challenges you to build as many words using the electronic cube letters.  Traditional Scrabble pits you against other players to build the biggest words worth the most points using the tiles you picked up from the pile.  I think both games are great and can be used for two different purposes but with the end goal of playing with a child to help expand their vocabulary and improve their spelling.

My conclusion is that there is a time and place for both high-tech and low-tech games for the family to use for bonding time.  I really enjoy playing the interactive family-style video games that have been put out by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft in the last few years.  However, I still enjoy the old-school original versions of games like Candy land, Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, and Pictionary.  I think there is a time and place for both versions to be included in building and expanding your holiday gaming traditions.

Article By Laura Ketcham-VanHellemont

Picture By KhE 龙

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