Video games can actually bring the family together

Published 2:22 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Video games have never had a very good reputation. Common complaints about them include that they are too violent, do not require a lot of thinking, and encourage a sedentary lifestyle. That’s why it might be a little surprising to learn that my parents not only own a Nintendo Wii, but they actually encouraged the family to play it when we all got together for Christmas this year in Missouri.

My dad bought their Wii a few months ago, in order to get the “Wii Fit” game that encourages players to stand up and perform simple aerobic-style exercises in coordination with the images on the screen. He said it made exercising fun and convenient for him and my mom.

Since then, he had not bought another game. That changed last Thursday, when he decided to buy a Trivial Pursuit video game for the Wii.

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My family has always had a tradition of playing board games together when we get a chance to spend time with each other. Some of our favorites include Tri-Ominos, Monopoly, Clue, and – of course – Trivial Pursuit.

This past Christmas weekend, we didn’t play a single board game, but that’s because we didn’t have to. The video game did everything for us. It “rolled the dice” (accomplished by a quick flick of the wrist), moved the pieces, selected the questions, and then told us if we were right or wrong. Unfortunately, the game only has multiple-choice questions, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy! At the end of each session, the game also gives you statistics so you can see which categories were your strongest and also how many questions you answered right overall. I was lucky to be 50 percent correct.

The video game also came with a variety of other fun modes, including a version where you could get bonus points if your team knew the answer and the other team did not. There was also a single-player mode that kept score, although the game was definitely made for multiple players.

We played that game for hours, and did not have to worry about my mom’s dog knocking pieces off the board, or someone cheating by moving a piece too many spaces, or someone accidentally reading a question that had already been asked. There are many other board-game video games out there, including versions of all of our favorites (except for Tri-Ominos, as far as I know). I won’t be surprised if my parents get another one for the next time my siblings and I visit them.

Who would have ever thought that parents would actually want their kids to play video games?

Justin Schuver is the managing editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at