One of my students, Peter, a sophomore at Stuyvesant High School, has the coolest approach to writing:
As he plays a video game (I would imagine in 7 hour stints at least), something magical (or creative) happens: Within moments, characterological motives, personal histories, and superhuman powers begin to emerge in his mind, and before long he finds himself thoroughly immersed in the emotional ramifications of the game, and ultimately in front of a computer screen banging out his 86th sci-fi story of the year.
Peter's stories are dynamic, deep, and of course, action-packed. Since middle school, he has won multiple awards from Scholastic's Art & Writing event for his writing.
But of course Peter's experience raises some highly unpopular but interesting questions about the value of video game playing: Can some video games (violent ones included) sometimes play a positive role in inspiring the minds of youth? Can they transcend their insidious time-wasting, violence-encouraging, obesity-making, inclinations?
Based on Peter's experience, I think they can sometimes. And, then, his experience made me think of my own... back in the early 1980's...
I remember playing (um, 25 years ago) Atari's primitive Adventure game of dragons, swords, challises, and invisible mazes for hours on end. And I remember spending even more time afterwards hunting down huge pieces of paper throughout my apartment in order to map out my character's escape route through the game's mazes... Once I had my tools, I covered my entire living room floor with the blank canvass and began drawing. Finally, I remember triumphantly standing to view the final product.
While games may be culprit to untold social pathologies, let us acknowledge that games also seem to lend themselves to more interactive imaginative play than they are typically given credit for.
In any case, video game playing certainly has served Peter's writing much good. Not to mention my imaginative play time as a kid, too.