By Roberto Jimenez
When home video games were introduced in the 1970s, they had simple graphics, were generally black and white, and only had minimal sounds such as beeps or blips. For example, the first popular game was Atari's Pong. Players controlled small lines on the side of the screen that served as paddles to send a dot across the screen in a game of simulated Ping-Pong. Since that time, particularly in the 1980s, video games added not only sound and color but also complex and realistic scenarios and graphics, allowing players to simulate everything from flying an aircraft to stealing an automobile. The increasing time youth spend playing video games along with the rise of violent content have made them a topic of controversy. Video games, however, may also hold educational and health benefits, so legislators, parents, educators, and pediatricians are trying to determine if their benefits outweigh their possible harm.
Beginning in the 1980s, computers began showing up in classrooms, and students were excited to play games such as Apple's Lemonade Stand, a basic game of entrepreneurship and economics, and teachers and parents were excited about the possible academic benefits. Since then, some researchers have taken a hard look at the academic potential for school students, and game manufactures have targeted a new video-game audience by marketing them for preschool education.
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