Life is always about balance and it's nice to believe that if there's one time of year when we might push the economic boat out it would be Christmas. But the importance of play provides the rationale for tapping into something more vital to the well-being of all ages than money can ever be.
How tough is it picking cotton? Without being in a field surrounded by the crop, we can't tell you for sure but what we can replicate is the amount of work it entails, the monotony of that work and how much you'll get paid for your time - that is if you're a child working in Uzbekistan.
Only two in five parents said they only buy games that have the right age rating, and half of parents said they would let their child play a game that was bought for them by a friend or relative, even if it had an unsuitable age rating. This is worrying: undoubtedly the Christmas period is prime time for pester power, and sometimes it is hard not to give in to making inappropriate purchases. It is important, though, to remember that the power is in your hands as a responsible adult to make the right choices for families and children.
Whilst developers have started catching on, the industry has a way to go in order to be fully up-to-speed with the intersection of women and gaming. So, how exactly do different demographics perceive gaming and what is the generational effect that is caused by these viewpoints?
I am not arguing that violent video games caused the Sandy Hook massacre - that would be absurd. Hundreds of millions of men have violent fantasies and many nourish them in an increasingly realistic and brutally violent virtual world.
If games can turn war into entertainment, then why could they not also help us to understand it? I've had to think a lot about the relationship between games and war, as we decided to make a new game, not about annoyed birds or farms or words or friends but a game about the war in Syria.
I remember clearly my first trip to New York City. I was seven and in awe of the skyscrapers and the sense of possibility. I remember too my uncle lying down on the floor to take a photo, which my younger, well-behaved self found shocking.
Rather than ranting and raving about the pros and cons of Call of Duty (Modern Warfare or Black Ops) singer song-writer Rebecca Mayes sat down and penned a song to express her concerns. The result was not only entertaining in its own right but something that asked a serious question of players of these games: "Was it all that you hoped for?"
New Style Boutique was a real surprise to me and extends the 3DS's commitment to delivering a niche experience of serious quality. More like this please!
As an industry we need to open up a dialogue with careers advisors, parents, teachers and young people to aid their understanding of what skills we are looking for and how young people can demonstrate them. We should explode the elitism - real and perceived - inherent in our industries.
The track selection is a lot of fun - my particular favourite is Carrier Zone which is based on the classic arcade game of my youth, Afterburner. You get to drive a car and fly - what more can you ask for?
I never thought I'd be the kind of person to care about guns - as long as it did the job and killed the enemy it's all good, right? - I was surprised at how fun it was to explore all the different types of weapons and have fun trying to find which one suits my playstyle the most.
Anyone who enjoys a game is sad when it comes to an end and there's nothing left for them to do - or in the case of multiplayer gamers if they have to stick with the same weapons or fighters for over a year. So in some respects downloadable content aka DLC is the best thing to happen to gamers since consoles went online. This can be extra tracks on music games, additional characters in fighting games or in some cases adding up to three hours more play time in a single-player experience.
When we think of the games industry we still imagine a world that is populated entirely by men. Boys make games so boys buy games so boys make games. The girl gamer - and games designer - remains a lesser spotted beast.
I'm a big Fable fan and have played through all three games a number of times. But there didn't seem to be an easy way to share the experience with the kids. There was just too much fighting, killing and sex -- even though it is all very tastefully done.
Overall if you are a fan of Halo then you have to get this game. And if you are new to Halo then you won't be disappointed either. Go on, get it, now. Halo 4 is available right now for the Xbox 360 - and frankly it's a must have game. It's not just one of the best games of the year, it is THE game of the year.