Gaming Genetics

You know that scene in Jurassic Park where they find the dinosaur eggs in the middle of the jungle and Ian is all like “Life finds a way?” That’s about how I feel like, right now – only more with my kids and the computer.

And it’s not that I’ve ever tried to lock my kids away from technology – I haven’t. They’ve got access to the TV and an XBOX, computers, smart phones, whatever. However, note that I said “access.”  They don’t actually own any of them. (My son does have a D/S, though we try to limit his playing to weekends only.) And the kids never expressed any real interest in messing with our PCs (they’ll watch me play Dragon Age or World of Warcraft forever, but until SW: TOR came out, my son was more interested in trying to find games dealing with Transformers than anything else. Lucy just likes to watch me ride around on my flaming horse and kill spiders.)

To be frank, for a long time I didn’t have to worry about it. I mean, the TV alone has three remotes to work it, not counting the changes you have to make if you want to play XBOX, or log into the Live account. Games themselves are far more complex than they used to be. I mean, Mass Effect compared to PacMan? You barely had to have a pulse to understand how to play PacMan. These other games require actual reading and a multitude of button combinations to make them work. I used to have to sit with him and explain what was being said in the game or the combo he needed to hit.

And this isn’t me complaining about the complexity – it’s me saying why I didn’t have to worry too much about it when the kids were younger. They weren’t going to figure it out.

Except now…Connor can read. He can read just fine. He’s figured out how to make that XBoX work. Figured out how to get on the TV. Figured out how to log into my XBoX Live account (which is why it looks like I’m playing Transformers or Star Wars stuff a lot. Swear it’s not me. Really.)  Figured out how to get to YouTube. Figured out a LOT of things.

Though he’s not always street smart when it comes to the computers. “Oh look, if I just click here I’ll see all these Transformers movies. Oh, look, I installed all this stuff on your computer, but where are the games?”

*me silently screaming as the potential viruses stack up*

Still, part of this  is fab in some ways, particularly on early Saturday mornings when he can find some Phineas & Ferb to entertain Lucy for another hour.

Not so cool when I come downstairs from taking a shower and find him playing Gears of War 2. Which he discovered in the cabinet. It’s definitely an M title – lots of shooting and guts and swearing and all kinds of fun manly stuff.

And he was enjoying the hell out of it.

The gamer in me crowed in triumph.

The mom in me? Not so much. (Not to mention Lucy was next to him rooting him on with a sort of childlike bloodthirsty glee that only another gamer could appreciate.)

So I wavered. And let him play for 10 more minutes before shutting it off and forbidding him from playing that particular game again. At least, not without an okay from the DH.

One of those balance things, I guess. While I value his independence and the growth of his gaming self, that doesn’t mean I can give him full access to everything he feels like clicking on. I can take the cop-out and say my parents had it easier…though in some ways, they did. Back in the day (Get off my lawn, hooligans), video games had all the realistic impact of some pixelated space invaders…and about as much emotional punch.

Now, though? There’s a lot more going on, particularly in the war-type games.

Guess I’ll figure it out as I go.

In the meantime, there’s always Plants vs Zombies, I guess.

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