Monday, February 21, 2005 / News / Boston Globe / Magazine / What Are Video Games Turning Us Into? / News / Boston Globe / Magazine / What Are Video Games Turning Us Into?: "... more than 60 percent of the American population has played some kind of video game. Kids are gaming younger than ever - half of all children aged 4 to 6 have played video games, and a quarter say they do so regularly. And children, boys in particular, are abandoning traditional toys like action figures, building sets, and puzzles for video games. For the first time, children starting to game today are likely to have parents who played as teenagers themselves - the Atari 2600, the first video-game console to really hit it big in American living rooms, was released in 1977; Pac-Man was born in 1980; and the totemic Nintendo console debuted in 1986. And what's new is that gamers are showing no signs of stopping as they hit adulthood; the average age of video gamers is 29, and 17 percent of gamers are older than 50. All of this digital delight has made gaming a multibillion- dollar enterprise, one that frequently beats the earnings posted by the television and movie industries. Last year, Americans spent $9.9 billion on video games, on consoles like PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube, and on hand-held systems like Game Boy and Nintendo DS, as well as on various accessories, according to the NPD Group, a market-research firm. And then there is the $1 billion that buyers paid for PC games and accessories."

Timely reality check on gaming ramifications.
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