If my mother had told me about a video game camp when I was little, I would never have gone camping. Ever. One of my memories from Camp Chief Hector (well, actually in the days before going to camp) was how hard it was to let go Duke Nukem. It was just so amazing shooting down aliens in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles (with computerized exotic dancers to boot). As far as time consumption was concerned, I didn’t want to go camping out in the woods. Being bitten by mosquitoes while cooking dinner in a pot over a campfire, surrounded by 9 other boys just couldn’t compete with the comfort of sitting in a chair and blasting aliens.

As it turns out, summer camp was actually quite fun and worth the effort. But I can fully understand why doctors and health experts might be concerned about how this might impact the activity levels of children. I don’t know a whole lot about the camp, but I do know that they have scheduled some time for outdoor activities. I’m also not sure what kinds of games the kids will be playing, but I would guess that Wii Fit is not one of them.

However, despite the concerns about rising obesity levels in children, it is quite a good idea for a short term summer camp. Due to the pervasiveness of gaming devices and consoles in North American homes, it’s quite likely that this kind of camp would appeal to an incredibly large demographic. And as far as getting kids to want to go to a summer camp, it’s a terrific idea.

I especially like the real-world application aspect of the camp where kids get to go and see game developers at work. In my mind, that singular part of the entire camp is worth the cost. So often we focus on getting kids interested in becoming doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc. that we forget that there are other jobs out there. Many of them surprisingly interesting! Having a chance to see how a video game is produced shows them that it is more than just a simulation, it takes on a multi-faceted personality and really gets them engaged in the production.

It will be really interesting to see how the camp functions and what kinds of feedback arise from it. If it survives and goes on to become a regularly-taught summer camp side-by-side with outdoor camping and sports, then it might prove to everyone that video games are more than just games.

/bow

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