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Under-18 gaming, lootboxes, teaching kids growing up that it's better to "be lucky", than "be smart", or "work hard".

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
50,467
6,046
126
It just seems to me that lootboxes should be banned altogether, or require age restrictions on games that have them, to over-18 or over-21, whatever the minimum age is for casinos and gambling in your state.

Not just because of the behavioral training, the dopamine hits, the gambling addiction slowly coalescing in younger minds, but also, the re-inforcement of life's principles that you're trying to teach them, but it re-inforces that to get ahead in this world, you need a "lucky drop" from a "lootbox" to "get ahead", rather than hard work, perseverance, or education.

In my mind, this training that young minds receive from "video games" (casino simulators with a disguised UI), is horrible for them, and is responsible in a large part to why society is going downhill.

It does prepare them for a lifetime of lower-income earnings (if they don't value hard work or education), and a lifetime addiction to state lottery scratch-offs (a "tax on the stupid"). Yay, video games industry!

Edit: I'm not saying that all games with lootboxes should be banned, if they can be restricted to "ADULTS ONLY". Like, make the ESRB rating for ANY game containing what amounts to a "lootbox", an "X" rating, and put it behind a black partition, like they used to do with nudie mags at the convenience store. Adults brains are mostly fully-formed by that age, and if they want to legally give their money away, who am I to stop them. But younger minds should be protected from this scourge, as long as possible.

Edit: This would probably likely have a positive side-effect, any in-game voice-chat would probably increase quite a few IQ point, or at least, in decency, rather than potty-mouthed teenagers, something that my friend complains about a lot.

Edit: You wonder why Millennials got a bad rep as do-nothing entitled babies at work? THIS is the reason!

Edit: What I would consider an allowable replacement for "loot boxes", that take away the actually "gambling" aspect, is a (skills-based) award of in-game "gold" or whatever virtual in-game currency, and then allow the player to "shop" for upgrades, new characters, new outfits, new weapons, power-ups, etc. in a store, either between matches / levels, or as a sidebar that could be opened to upgrade.

I'm pretty certain that most Namco fighting games in single-player "Quest" mode do something similar. That would reward skill and hard work, and perseverance, rather than simply "lucking out" on major upgrades. It would go a long way towards repairing the moral fiber of our youth.
(And yet, it would STILL reward "engagement" of the player(s), WITHOUT the dopamine hits of the gambling aspect of the now-prevalent "lootboxes".)
 
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IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
61,181
14,031
136
I play games where the goal is to kill everything that moves, blow up everything that doesn’t, reanimate the dead, and kill them again. In my world, the lesson that children might from loot boxes is pretty low on my list of concerns. :p
 

Igo69

Senior member
Apr 26, 2015
537
53
91
:DCounter Strike Global Offensive sounds good. Easy to play but extremely hard to master
 

shortylickens

No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
78,236
11,223
126
I don't have kids.

I think I am slowly starting to understand why my parents didn't like me getting addicted to video games in 1987.

These days I would have great difficulty raising children. Almost all of them live on their smartphones and the Industry knows this which is why they advertise to kids there and encourage them to spend tons of money there. 2 dollar ring tones. One time bonuses in mobile games. Songs. Movies. Premium access to social media platforms. Sending money straight to self-employed porn stars. None of this is shit I grew up with. Its a giant money pit and because so many people nowadays aren't money savvy we have a serious personal debt problem in America, ESPECIALLY with Generation Z.

As for desktop games and loot boxes, I think I would flat out forbid my offspring from spending money on it. And that includes cash from gramma, or their allowance, or lawn-mowing salary. Its a bad, bad, bad habit to get into. When young people nowadays get jobs they rent tiny shitty apartments and spend the rest on downloadable and streaming content. They aren't buying assets which can grow in value. They aren't saving. The majority of them will live paycheck to paycheck until they grow old and die in nursing homes. And thanks to the incompetence of the American government, those nursing homes are getting slightly worse each year.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,774
517
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I think it's safe to say that Overwatch popularized loot boxes for use in modern AAA games, and it was EA that flew a little too close to the sun and brought in media attention. Unfortunately, Blizzard got away without garnering much media attention, and that's a shame since Blizzard is quite egregious themselves. The thing is... Blizzard's basic loot box isn't the worst thing in the world. I'm not a huge fan of loot boxes and I'd rather just have the option to buy a skin directly. (You could also provide the free way by having loot boxes only earnable via gameplay, and still have the direct payment available.) No, Blizzard's insidious move was to introduce timed loot boxes that were released at every event. These loot boxes are only available to earn during the 2-3 week events... or you could just buy them. Skins and other cosmetics that were released for the event are only available in those boxes, which means that if you want that holiday-themed skin, you either need to be lucky, or pony up some cash.... or else you risk having to wait an entire year for another chance. This is artificial scarcity meant to drive up sales... and I fell for it many times.

Yes, I paid maybe $100 for the collector's edition of the game (with a discount), but I paid well over that for loot boxes because I just had to have it all... because what if I wanted to use it and couldn't get it until the next time the event came around? I would usually buy a large pack of loot boxes ($40) per event, and sometimes, I'd even get two if I needed it. Given that the game has six events per year, I was easily spending $240-480 per year on the game. This is 4x-8x the game's original base price of $60. That system was designed to exploit people like me. It wasn't until I had my own realization... "Wait... why am I doing this? I don't even use this stuff."

In dealing with my girlfriend's kids, there's one game that comes to mind... Roblox. I'm pretty relaxed when it comes to games, but I really do not like that game. Ignoring the blatant IP theft that runs rampant in it, the "games" push micro-transactions using the in-game currency, Robucks. The games push heavily on the impulsiveness of children (i.e. the "I must have it now!" mentality), and in some cases, it simply serves as shortcuts that puts Ubisoft's EXP boosters to shame. I recall hearing how this one game (I think it was McDonald's simulator?) required you to spend 8-16 real world hours in the game to level up.. or you could spend Robucks! I've seen Robucks wasted on these effort-skirting upgrades a few times, and I'm really not a fan. I've also seen that same mentality of "I want to spend all my money on Robucks!", and worst of all, it would be gone in seconds... actually maybe a minute or two, but let's exaggerate a little bit for effect!

I really hate Roblox.

Edit: You wonder why Millennials got a bad rep as do-nothing entitled babies at work? THIS is the reason!
Honestly, I don't think this is the case at all. The issue with some kids is that parents forget the #1 goal of being a parent... raising a kid into a responsible adult. There has been a large push since... I'd say... around the 70's-80's that childhood should be a time of fun, laughter, and carefree glee. There can't ever be anything negative, because that would mean your child is having a bad childhood, which reflects badly on you. This is where helicopter parents make the mistake of simply trying to shield their kids from issues rather than helping them work through it. I was really unhappy as a child, and honestly... it was mostly on me. The problem is that I just didn't really know it nor did I know better. I was just too obnoxious and boorish, and as such, I didn't have many friends. It wasn't until I realized, "Hey... if I just be more quiet and open up slower, things will work better", and... they did. The problem is that these helicopter parents have kids in situations like me, and instead of helping them... they just shield their kid from any criticism.

Effort is also something that I don't see a lot of these days. Honestly, I could be a lazy oaf at times during my youth, but there were plenty of times when my brother and I would do things like pick up cans and bottles on the side of the road to turn them in for a deposit. It was only 5 cents per item, so we needed to really work to get anything substantial... and some of them bottles were nasty. :p I nearly did a spit-take when my girlfriend's son thought he had earned around $5 for putting the dishes away twice. I just said, "At that rate, I'm going to quit my job and become a dish put-er-away-er!"
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
7,635
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Pah. My generation had arcade games like space invaders and PacMan. To quote [Googles to see which comedian's material I'm stealing]...Marcus Brigstocke.

“If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.”

 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
7,635
2,808
136
Seriously. The loot-box thing is probably bad because it's like a trainer for gambling games, which the house always wins. But if anything teaches that it's better to be lucky than work hard or be smart, it's what kids see in the real world around them. The trouble is that the luck has to start very early, i.e. being born to the right parents.
 

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,808
1,298
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I have two kids. My oldest is my 8 year old daughter, who I love bonding with by playing couch co-op games among other things (we have been going through Castle Crashers & Battle Block Theater, and I'm always looking for more).

Thanks to virtual learning this year, I picked up a basic $300 windows laptop for her to be able to attend Zoom classes. Its the first "electronic" device she's owned so far.

My wife and I have put up strict rules that her laptop should only be used to do school work, it is absolutely not a machine to play games on. Additionally, outside of her couch co-op gaming sessions with me, we have a strict "no gaming alone" rule as well unless it is a game that I have vetted (For example, Pit People, outside of some of the learning games that can be accessed through her school portal). Even in the games she plays alone, educational or not, we limit her play time to 30 minutes.

This kid is a gamer, she loves playing video games and I can see some of myself when I was a child in how she completely loses herself in the colors and visuals and the fantasy world. It kinda weirds me out as an adult to see such a vivacious and curious kid suddenly get so quiet and focused and tune out the outside world when she's gaming.

My job as a parent is to expose my kid to the world in a safe way, and I cannot do that if I'm not paying attention to what and who my kid is engaging with. People who drop their kids off in front of an iPad or let their kid have unfettered access to electronic devices without any sort of oversight or boundaries are the problem here.

As far as I have it set-up, there is no way my kid would ever have access to games that allow in game transactions, never mind all the other things she'd have to have access to in order to actually make in game purchases. If goes behind me and my wife's back and download's a game she shouldn't and makes purchases with a CC she stole from one of us, we would have much bigger problems than some silly in app purchases.
 
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GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
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These days I would have great difficulty raising children.
- This should *not* be taken as a "have kids" post, but why the above sentiment?

I am an "Elder Millennial" at 36 years old. That puts me in this weird generation that got to see the "old world" pre-high speed internet as well as the "new world" with the IoT, Smart Phones, Subscription everything etc.

Raising kids has always been hard, but learning how to say no and to explain why you said no, has always been the root of good parenting.

I know some parents today get wound up about their kids falling behind the "digital curve" but the funny thing is that digital curve is currently being set by people who didn't grow up with it. No one that is at a strategic level at any of the major tech companies was born into a world with the devices they're creating today. They learned to use them as they were invented, developed, and released just like everyone else.

In my mind (and I'm sure my kids will have different plans for me) I intend to have my kids follow the same trajectory I got to follow in terms of tech exposure. Starter computers, dumb phones, no social media account etc until they are functional enough that I can trust their judgement or until they get jobs and can afford those things themselves.

Luckily in my case, all the new things really ramped up and took off after I had entered college, so I already had a pretty solid foundation laid out by the non-connected world on how to behave, but my kids won't have that unless I create an environment for them where I can simulate that kind of thing.
 
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Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,774
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Raising kids has always been hard, but learning how to say no and to explain why you said no, has always been the root of good parenting.
I think explaining why is the most important part. One thing about kids that even they don't understand is that a lot of their ideals and opinions are formed based on their perspective, which is incredibly narrow. ...and that's understandable as most of them have pitiful amounts of life experience at that point. (I think part of that goes back to the whole "make childhood a time of joy and happiness" that I mentioned earlier.)

I know some parents today get wound up about their kids falling behind the "digital curve" but the funny thing is that digital curve is currently being set by people who didn't grow up with it. No one that is at a strategic level at any of the major tech companies was born into a world with the devices they're creating today. They learned to use them as they were invented, developed, and released just like everyone else.
Keep in mind that the digital curve or the digital divide doesn't necessarily have to do with the device in question, but also what avenues of learning that the device can open. For example, you could learn computer programming without a computer, but it's easily arguable that your experience would be lessened by the lack of technology given other variables kept the same.

In my mind (and I'm sure my kids will have different plans for me) I intend to have my kids follow the same trajectory I got to follow in terms of tech exposure. Starter computers, dumb phones, no social media account etc until they are functional enough that I can trust their judgement or until they get jobs and can afford those things themselves.

Luckily in my case, all the new things really ramped up and took off after I had entered college, so I already had a pretty solid foundation laid out by the non-connected world on how to behave, but my kids won't have that unless I create an environment for them where I can simulate that kind of thing.
Honestly, I'm not sure what you really gain from taking an obtuse approach like that to an introduction to technology. I'd say that two important things that I'd stress is that technology is a tool and a privilege. Also, you mentioned trusting their judgment. I think it's important to keep in mind that the lack of perspective combined with the impulsive nature of kids tends to cloud judgments. It's part of the reason why they rush headlong into everything (impulsiveness) and think everything is the end of the world (lack of perspective).
 

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,808
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Honestly, I'm not sure what you really gain from taking an obtuse approach like that to an introduction to technology. I'd say that two important things that I'd stress is that technology is a tool and a privilege. Also, you mentioned trusting their judgment. I think it's important to keep in mind that the lack of perspective combined with the impulsive nature of kids tends to cloud judgments. It's part of the reason why they rush headlong into everything (impulsiveness) and think everything is the end of the world (lack of perspective).
-I take your point, but the world is also much less forgiving to young people's impulsiveness and lack of perspective than I feel it has ever been before, with the potential for what would once upon a time have been small private mistakes can now get blown out of proportion and take on a viral life of their own.

As is the crux of this topic, there is a lot of addiction psychology being turned against people with mobile games/social media/etc that I as an adult with a fairly strong control and understanding of my idiosyncrasies can fall victim to. Allowing these things to be loosed on an undeveloped mind, even under supervision, can have dangerous and unexpected results. I wouldn't tell my kids its OK to do crack so long I tested it out first and supervised them while they used it.

I have a long way to go still, and I'm sure the kids have some surprises in store for me and I'll have to roll with the punches. Nothing is set in stone, I can see not being so draconian if we do the "full access for the parents" + "unplug after you get home" approach. We'll see how things go.
 

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