Labour MP: "Playing games is a good thing."

Lawmakers are rarely known as friends of the games industry. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg took issue with GTAIV's likeness of the city, Hilary Clinton has been a longtime critic of violent and sex-themed video games, and then of course there's British Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, dubbed by some...

Lawmakers are rarely known as friends of the games industry. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg took issue with GTAIV's likeness of the city, Hilary Clinton has been a longtime critic of violent and sex-themed video games, and then of course there's British Member of Parliament Keith Vaz, dubbed by some as "the Jack Thompson of the UK."

But not all elected officials are out to get games, at least according to UK tabloid the Daily Mirror, which quoted Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson as saying that he thought playing games was "a good thing."

"I'd rather my boy be playing on his Wii than passively watching telly... Most games are educational. They make you think, focus, challenge, and change--500 years ago, a medium that did this would be called art." Apparently Watson's 3-year-old son learned to count via a Teletubbies game, and a friend of the child in question learned to make bronze through the role-playing game Runequest.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

78 comments
Mr_Versipellis
Mr_Versipellis

Sorry? I thought he said games, not Wii, telletubbiues and that discrace to D&D RuneScape. I mean, conme on, admit it: it's a crappy rip-off of NWN. Btw, anyone notice "RuneQuest"? Had me laughing out loud, IRL!

Arkady_Husky
Arkady_Husky

Is Jack Thomson a race-baiting crook? Because if he's not, I don't think it's fair to compare him to Keith Vaz. This is the first sensible thing I've heard come out of a representative of the Labour party in, well, ever. And yet, this guy telling us that he likes to watch his son play with himself isn't enough to undo all of the 'work' New Labour has done in its 11-year tenure, which has brought this once great country to its knees.

KieranCottrell
KieranCottrell

@Anthrax88: Someone's been reading their Delphic maxims. =]

SoNin360
SoNin360

i really think someone is better of sitting there playing video games then sitting there watching tv. at least that's how i look at it.

mssrulez
mssrulez

i hate people that say games should be banned because kids are influenced by them. The parents should simply see if their kids change after playing brutal stuff, and if so, just take the game away from them. i am allowed mature games because whilst playing games i also focus on education and i'm not stupid enough to pretend i'm niko bellic and rampage, do drugs and do other illegal stuff. there you go people, i am allowed mature games because i'm not influenced, but what i'm saying is if a child grows to be like niko bellic (or someone like that) than it's the parents fault, not the poor developers who take all the blame for it

marco245
marco245

He's very right. When a child needs input you are exercising your reflexes and mind, helping focus. Depending on the game, ofcourse. I've learnt a lot of things from games...

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

dark_gender Posted Dec 18, 2008 11:53 am GMT "I'd rather my boy be playing on his Wii than passively watching telly... Better answer could be PC instead of Wii, because PC has many, many strategy games(civilization) that really educate - thinking strategically. the way he said it seems to imply his kid is around 4-5,dont know bout you but I was happy with sonic back then,Stratagy for when he grown a bit

LordRinga
LordRinga

Il teach my daughter a chess. And then Company Of Heroes..when she will grow up!

LagMan_pt
LagMan_pt

minister Tom Watson you the man!

dark_gender
dark_gender

"I'd rather my boy be playing on his Wii than passively watching telly... Better answer could be PC instead of Wii, because PC has many, many strategy games(civilization) that really educate - thinking strategically.

Killer_73
Killer_73

not all games are educational and useful aren't they?

GTA_Vice_City
GTA_Vice_City

"Too much of anything is bad. Balance is the way to a perfect life." Truth

obywan
obywan

Well, maybe not ALL games, but the good ones yes ^_^

Anthrax88
Anthrax88

Too much of anything is bad. Balance is the way to a perfect life.

edub272
edub272

All videogames have some sort of objective to them whether its sports, shooting, racing, fighting etc.... So videogames clearly improve problem solving skills. Videogames are kinda like a fun brain exercise.

chimairawr
chimairawr

Yes, spot on that man. The best games are the ones that make you think, make you actually carry on questioning what has happened even after you've stopped playing.

calebtheshark
calebtheshark

YES!!, we need Politician like these, if only there was a way to get rid of these other ANTI-GAMING ones

Philosoph
Philosoph

politicians pick on games because they are easy targets, the exact same thing was done to TV in some countries. Saying games are bad is basically a step towards the image of bastion of good in the eyes of the people, but i can bet you any amount of money that those same politicians are buying GTA IV and Far Cry 2 for their kiddies this christmas. It's just the way politicians are, "do as i say, not as i do". Anyway, i whole heartedly agree with Tom Watson's statement i've learned thousands of things from games that i probably wouldn't know jack about if i hadn't actually started playing

Amir29
Amir29

You know, I just thought about how long gaming has gotten to the point that it could influence someone. Games capable of promoting thought didn't happen until the 8-bit age. That age didn't happen until the mid-eighties. Well, that's only 20 years ago!!! In the eyes of someone that wasn't young enough to get into our culture back then, I can see how shocking it can be to see Pong turn into Mortal Kombat or Pitfall turn into Grand Theft Auto. Looking ahead though, I really feel this whole "Games Are Bad" issue will come to a close as the gamers of yesterday come into powerful positions around the globe. Who knows? We may even see games become more popular than television and movies by then too.

awarapanmovie
awarapanmovie

yeah thats true playing game can change the mind of the person as well he is angry or happy thats the main advantage of playing game

tidyspidey
tidyspidey

Nice to hear someone in a position of importance gets it. Now we only need several thousand more of them....

cocomacoco
cocomacoco

well said, video games are the best thing for a kid and for and adult, i don't go out dringking or doing crazy things all the time, instead I play games which is a good thing, say no to drugs and alcohol, yes to video games!

Pete5506
Pete5506

Wow there is people that are on the side of the gamers

FarmFreshDX
FarmFreshDX

It's an easy argument to make that playing games is better than watching TV. Not only for the obvious thought provoking things and hand-eye coordination (which I always argued) but because there's a lot more social activeness when playing a multiplayer game than watching a movie for MOST people. Also, just because you've never heard of Runequest doesn't mean they meant Runescape. See? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuneQuest) RuneQuest. -_^

dylancourt
dylancourt

pfftt first off the guy is wrong about 'runequest' its 'runescape' as in that old MMORPG game that most boys in my generation pissed away their first highschool years playing. It isn't educational and the kid didn't learn how to make bronze, he just knows the components of it which are tin and copper you can't just put him in a smelting room and expect him to know what to do. Games are still awesome and i've been playing since i was 4 but you can't make bull-skat like runescape and call it educational

Paul2005
Paul2005

this is so not cool. my little bro 11 years old plays my call of duty world at war... and he sometimes pretends like a soldier in his room and leading his fake army. but i have to admit kids are pros in video games there aims sucks so bad they shoot me in the head by accident.or i just suck/. and dont get me started with fighting games.

vietboi89
vietboi89

i dont c y people dont like video games, if ur not of the age to play the game then dont and if ur kid has that game then maybe u should point that finger in ur mouth and bite it off as self punishment for being a failure parent, games are good although there are some games that just suck away at ur social life but that is an issue that requires and intervention lol

8smokes
8smokes

*Sigh*, unfortunately, there is but one rational mind in government.

rsox07
rsox07

great to see people on are side!!!!

irmc
irmc

they played gta4 so that they take this conclusion =]

NYCKing87
NYCKing87

I never thought I'd see the day.

SentosaLiem
SentosaLiem

He should play GTA to streghtened his faith. :-).

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Agreed, particularly when weighed against the passive activity of watching television. It's already been proven scientifically that, at least, some gaming (shooters in particular) improves hand-eye coordination. At that rate, it's already far more beneficial than normal television. An argument might be made that more gamers would make for safer roadways and less, say, botched surgeries... but I'm really not qualified to make that argument so I'll just make the insinuation and hope someone else does all my research for me. ;-)

Viral-venom13
Viral-venom13

Now here's a guy who sees many positives to something that truly is great!! Although the industry is often shunned in regards to it's controversial sides involving sex and violence, etc.....it's only those idots that go about trying to mimic what they play in these games in real life that really sends the crowd into an uproar, either that or something that was tossed in there just looks plainly offensive like say a level environment or the sound or something!! The gaming industry is cool and they know it and for those that say otherwise, well they just don't understand it or have that interest for it as a hobby!

coolguy681
coolguy681

there is nothing wrong with video games its just the extent to how much u r playing and what u r playing.

jrabbit99
jrabbit99

Thank you Tom Watson! Finally a politician who likes videogames! I will vote for you if I ever move to Britain.

tnargus
tnargus

Lol, ah bgres077, when the article calls him a Minister, that isn't a Church minister. It's a Cabinet Minister, from parliament.

bgres077
bgres077

I don't go to church to listen to this random minsiter preach about religion, why should i listen to him talk about videogames?

Leakybubbles
Leakybubbles

video games should never be banned. they are fun. plain and simple. they don't do any harm enless you bring the harm apon yourself. don't like video games? don't buy them.

okassar
okassar

Rofl x) And I always had a dislike for Hilary Clinton,I'm glad Obama came out on top:p

martini4u
martini4u

I can say some games help, but mindless games like Gta 4 don't help but they freckin` rock

thelilfart
thelilfart

the legend of zelda games for the N64 helped me read better :)

BarNone101
BarNone101

Ive learned a lot from Final Fantasy and other games so...games aren't bad, it's just the kids who already have problems play games and get ridiculous ideas.

k2theswiss
k2theswiss

RUNEQUEST wow iam glad thats in a quote lol because if a gaming website got that wrong then they should just close there website lol

XXL2
XXL2

i absolutely agree with amir29... it has all to do with good parenting not the game itself (tho a 3 yr old clearly shouldnt play manhunt ... )