Game on

Charles Story Jr. (standing) explains the flight simulator that Southaven High School student Jordan Taylor (seated) is working on at a recent Southaven Chamber of Commerce event held at GaMe oN. Taylor wants to learn more about flying and Story stresses “education through gaming” at his Malco Blvd. center.  

Charles Story Jr. and the people behind GaMe oN in Southaven will readily agree with the statement, “Video games get a bad rap,” as pointed out in articles that tout ways to boost a person’s intelligence by playing video games.

Story, along with fellow owners Robert and Val Kirby, and Stan Jackson, don’t mind offering a fun time at their Malco Blvd. location off Goodman Road. But, Story said they’d also like to see gamers come away having learned something after their time in front of the keyboard, controller and screen is through. Just don’t tell the kids that.

“We do education through gaming,” Story said. “Nine out of ten students showed substantial improvement in their ability to solve mathematical and verbal problems through video games.”

Story had a similar location in Memphis after arriving from New York in 1986, but this is his first foray into DeSoto County, having been near the Malco movie theaters for about a year.

You’ll find just about every gaming system available, and if GaMe oN doesn’t have it, they will go get it.

Parents quickly learn when they bring their kids there the first time that Story has taken great care to make his place a safe place to play.

“We can monitor through our phones,” Story said. “Everybody below 17 will get a wrist band with a number on it. When the parents come back, they have to match that number to pick up their kids. It’s a very secure place.”

When Story was first introduced to video games, he quickly learned that it was fun, but he was also learning problem-solving skills.

“Playing games increased my desire to beat my partner or get past another level of the game,” Story said. “I knew that video gaming was going to be around for a long time, but education is going to be my main focus.”

Story is always mindful of what his customers are interested in beyond the keyboard and the computer screen. A case in point is Jordan Taylor, a student at Southaven High School who Story learned was interested in becoming a pilot.

A system was brought in by Story and Taylor recently showed an audience at a ribbon cutting event with the Southaven Chamber of Commerce how he’s learned how he can take off, fly and land a FedEx “simulated” aircraft from Memphis International Airport.

“I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to educating kids through gaming,” Story said. “It’s always been about the kids.”

Parents will think time in front of a gaming screen only teaches how to be a better couch potato, but studies, including one done two years ago by Dr. Tracy Alloway of the University of Stirling in Scotland, showed that nine out of 10 students between the age of six and 16 showed substantial improvement in problem solving. Another study showed an increase in brain volume and improved cognitive agility through video gaming.

Good grades will get rewarded at GaMe oN, Story said.

“I use that,” Story said. “You bring your report card and you’ll be able to come in free for an hour on us. But you have to have good conduct reports and A’s and B’s.”

Birthday parties, group events are available at the center.

GaMe oN calls itself “The Ultimate Video Gaming Experience,” but it’s not just for kids. A growing number of adults have come in and are enjoying the fun and challenge GaMe oN offers.

But be careful, while you’re having the best time, you will also be growing your mind.

“When you play a game, you have to solve some kind of problem to get to the next level,” Story said.

For more information, call 662-510-2251 or visit www.gameon38671.com.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.

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