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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3 Responses to Gaming Genetics

  1. Scopique says:

    Nice, one…grandma XD  Equiating ME to Pac Man, indeed…

    My daughter is going toe-to-toe with me for technical intelligence. At some point, she will surpass what I know, and I'll be forced to resort to underhanded deviousness like proxy servers and ever-increasing complexity in my passwords (coupled with advancing age and declining mental facilities, that scares me even more). 

    I roll with it. I like having someone in the house to be able to talk to about things like these. Chatting about it with like-minded folks on the Internet is OK, but having a discussion with my 11 year old daughter who has access to the same technology as I do, and has a growing interest in the same things that I do, and who can speak to these things as I do, is priceless to me. 

    Being a life-long geek, I also take exception pride in raising a geeky girl, because when I was younger, they weren't as obvious or as proud about who they are as they are today. That doesn't just "happen" because "geekiness" is more prevalent, it's something that needs to be learned, embraced, and enjoyed.

  2. mynfel says:

    Sure. And your daughter has a few years on my kids, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time for me. 

    And come on…the Atari 2600 had a joystick with ONE button. It's not like you had to sit there and press some sort of esoteric A B B Y X combo with the right trigger up and the left trigger down and sacrifice a goat to the Reapers like you do these days. 

    And I def enjoy playing with Connor. I teach him my mad P v Z skillz, passing them along like a boss. 

  3. Renee says:

    Uh-oh! Good luck, Allison!

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