The Modern Physics of Play

At first I learned about physics the hard way. I learned through dodgeball, rope swings and lawn darts. These were the educational toys of my day and experimentation inevitably led to painful repercussions. Later, I learned through coursework and controlled small-scale experimentation. I built pendulums and trebuchets. I made mousetrap-powered cars and suspension bridges of toothpicks. But I was in high school before I began to internalize the basic principles of physics.

Today we have a 130g physics simulator in our pockets.

While science is continually sidelined and diluted in the classrooms, young minds are exposed to the principles of physics in intimate gaming scenarios. It might just be that the current generation of toddlers will be preternaturally inclined with understanding of momentum, trajectory analysis, and centripetal force. Physics realism, even in the most basic game, is a requirement in many of our modern games. Just as I can’t fly over a city without revisiting the civics lessons I learned from SimCity in the 90’s, today’s kids will see a small screaming bird in every lobbed baseball.

Personally, I have no concerns about the amount of time my child spends in front of a physics simulator.