Cricket is right now playing "The Sims". Naturally I figure this is an opportunity to begin logging the potential learning streams associated with this activity-choice. But first you get to learn something about me: I usually figure that someone else will have already put thoughts similar to mine into words - and often better than I think I would have - so I often google when I need a well-phrased explanation.
And so I did in this case. (Of course Cricket is best placed to know what he gets out of the game, but the fact that his focus is the fun doesn't impress anyone who thinks that learning is work) So what from google? Criticisms after my own heart (it is so inane) from Douglas Kern at Tech Central Station who appears to have spent a lot longer playing it than I. However Mr Kern has hopes for The Sims 2
"In fairness, it appears that The Sims 2 will introduce levels of complexity that address many of my criticisms. Sims must now confront mortality, divorce, childhood recollections, gene pools, and a sense of inner purpose... Please hurry with the spirituality in The Sims 2, Electronic Arts; some of us need lessons in goodness-budgeting wherever we can find them."... so perhaps Cricket will be happy next time we are game-shopping.
Still, Mr Kern points me to the positives expressed by Glenn Harlan
"Thanks to The Sims, they know how to make a budget, and how to read an income statement -- and to be worried when cash flow goes negative. They understand comparison shopping. They're also picking up some pointers on human interaction, though The Sims characters seem a bit dense in that department at times. (Then again, so do real people, now and then)."
The Sims Resource Forum points out that the Sims reminds players (because naturally they will have already learned the following from parents) of such things as the value of personal hygiene, learning to cook, time management, and the golden rule.
There is exposure to home decorating and architecture, hobbies and personal development, career options and the practicalities of keeping a job and getting promotions.
Operating this and every other computer game he enjoys has contributed to Cricket's reading ability.