Letter: Sonic, the video hedgehog, never hurt anyone

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The Independent Online
WILLIAM LEITH'S article on the ill-effects of video games ('How to cheat your way out of boredom', Review, 17 January) is biased. Did he mention, for instance, the Sega Mega Drive game of Ecco the Dolphin? You have to swim around in a mission to save the dolphin, using sonar, a concept fully explained in the manual. How many children knew about sonar before this? There. A video game has improved the child's knowledge.

Or how about Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the fastest-selling video game, in which Sonic must rescue his animal friends? Indeed, many video games have no violent intent: a good chunk of all games involve saving rather than destroying people, animals etc.

Games often require a high level of brain power. Road Rash and Pit Fighter are exceptions, but parents can steer their children clear of these and head them towards games that require you to think, such as the many role-playing games, where you must work out the puzzles.

I have learnt to choose my games carefully; for my parents would most certainly not just buy me games as William Leith suggested; on my pocket money, I am up to about one game every four months.

Alex Sweet, 12

Kraainem, Belgium

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