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There’s just so much that parents can boast about when it comes to having the upper hand where their children are concerned, except for one thing… that weird and wonderful foreign  world of gaming.

How many times have you scolded your kid over their ‘obsession’ with video games? Or sat very concerned and worried about your child’s obsession with gaming?

A lot of parents tend to be quite apprehensive and reluctant to allow their children to stay glued to the screens, of course over concerns of bad influences such as violence, poor social skills, foul language, and perhaps adult content and themes.

So let’s talk about the other side of it all.

The upside to this phenomenon is that e-gaming is not rocket science. This can be an opportunity for parents to explore the world of video games and get a better understanding of how it all works. This will also help monitor what’s age-appropriate and what’s not. 

Errol Madlala, Director of Pitch Sports & Media Entertainment says like any sport or interest, children will always try to push boundaries. “I think gaming as a sport or hobby should be supported by parents, in line with their family’s ethos”, he says, while playing Minecraft with his son. 

As an introduction to this e-gaming series we’re embarking on as Art of Superwoman, we’ve compiled a quick cheat sheet to help you unlock the password of the world of gaming and get access to how exactly it works. 

What is e-gaming?

“When we talk about e-gaming, we are referring to the act of playing games electronically”, says Madlala. He further indicates that COVID-19 has increased the incidence of playing online, where gamers can register with PlayStation or Xbox, to play weekly and earn points. “Within this umbrella, we also make mention of e-sports, which is a competitive form of gaming. Some gamers engage in it for competition while others participate to relax or for entertainment. There has been a rise in the interest to turn it into a profession, however, like any other sport, success is not guaranteed”, he adds.

What are the platforms for playing?
  • Console – an electronic or computer device that connects to a video signal or visual image displaying a video game that one or multiple people can play through portable or handheld control. Examples of these include Xbox 360, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Wii, etc.
  • PC – a PC game is played on a personal computer rather than on a console. The game is controlled using PC input devices such as the keyboard, mouse, and in some instances, a joystick. 
  • Streaming – this popular gaming distribution site allows gamers to record themselves playing games to a live audience online. Gamers are able to buy, chat and play with multiple players from across the world.
  • Mobile – these games are designed for mobile devices that may need to be connected to the Internet. 

E-gaming enthusiast, Thulani Cebekhulu hosts several gaming sessions for his friends and explains that when it comes to different genres, gamers have their preference, but what usually attracts them to a game of their choice is the storyline, quality of graphics, how real it looks, and feels, level of difficulty and whether it caters for multiple players. 

He shares his top five online games at the moment;

  • Gears of War – a fictional game that follows protagonist Marcus Fenix, a soldier tasked to lead and conquer the Locust Horse in a bid to save humanity on the brink of extinction.
  • Forza Horizon 4 – a car racing game. The game is set in Great Britain. It has different seasons and regions. 
  • Fortnite – this game has three different game modes. Four players collaborate towards a common objective to different missions. The single-player fights off creatures that look like zombies. 
  • Red Dead Redemption – the western-themed game (based on Wild West, the era of Cowboys) is all about survival and adventure. The outlaw is sent across the American frontier to bring the rule of law.
  • FIFA – a football video game series. It releases new versions annually. 

“I’d advise parents to make sure they check for ratings when buying games for their children. Not all games are best suited for certain ages, he emphasizes. According to Lynette Kamineth, Communications Manager at the Film and Publication Board, the law requires that the distributor of a game or film in South Africa, display the age ratings. 

Look out for part 2 of this series, as we look at the social benefits of online gaming.

Take a look at this Live Conversation Olwethu Leshabane  had with International Professional Gamer Thulani Sishi during last year’s Youth Month Series: