Friday, February 27, 2009

Children’s Book Seeks to Get Your Kid Off the Couch

The artwork is great but that's just gross. Scott Langteau, producer of a number of Medal of Honor games and last year’s smash hit  not-quite-a-flop Legendary, has written a book.  No, it’s not an exposé on the gaming industry or a game design How-To.  It’s a children’s book.

Sofa Boy tells the story of a young lad who gets addicted to video games, neglecting all other earthly duties including bathing, eating well, and going outside.  All synopses hint at him, in some Brothers Grimm twist of fate, merging with the sofa.  I hope he finds it enjoyable?

Langteau’s message, as he told MSNBC’s Citizen Gamer Winda Benedetti, is moderation.  He’ll be the first to inform you that games can “improve your deductive reasoning, your decision making skills, and your problem solving skills,” and as a producer he admits, “If we really do our job well, we make a game you want to play until the end.”

But just because a game is fun doesn’t mean you have to ignore the world around you.  Langteau’s smart to make this case in the form of a children’s book.  People in the 18 to 45 bracket, their habits are probably set and (hopefully) subject to work schedules.  But young kids could use a reminder that there are other ways to occupy your time. 

Most importantly, this book should prove a valuable tool to an aging generation of gamers having kids of their own.  When many of us started gaming, it wasn’t very adult-friendly.  Now that the spectrum is wider and the audience growing, we should embrace more ways to bring our hobby not to the next generation of consoles but to the next generation of gamers.