Nov 13, 2009

To Video Game, or Not To Video Game?

One of the financial literacy examples in our home is the distinction between needs & wants. This identification doesn't deter the kids from wanting video games, however. Once in a while I let the kids buy a game with their own hard-earned money.

It seems like not much time has passed before I see them on the computer, at gamefaqs, looking up cheat codes or "walk-throughs," which is turn-by-turn directions to navigate through each level.

I asked them who they suppose writes the walk-throughs. They hadn't thought about it. I asked them to suppose that the walk-throughs were written by the same guy who wrote the game. He would know all the secret codes, cheats, and passages, wouldn't he? But why would anyone write the game AND write the gamefaqs?

Follow the money.

Yeah. Think about two possibilities.

First scenario. You buy a game, work it out yourself, and it takes you forever to figure out the secret passages. You spend months or possibly years trying to beat the game. Whew!

Second scenario. You go to gamefaqs, look up the walk through and/or cheat codes, and beat the game inside of a week. It's not fun any more, because you've already beaten it. Then you beg your mom for a new game.

Which option makes more money for the game writers?

Bingo.

What "game" are you going to work out for yourself today, preventing extravagant spending at the same time?

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