As with most my generation, I grew up with gaming systems. They came into maturity around the same time I did. Growing up, my brother and I would spend countless hours trying to work through different levels of various games. Even in college I had one semester where I spent more time playing Chrono Cross than on my school work. Sometimes my hubby and I will play video games together to unwind.
With that in mind it’s no surprise that my kids have loved video games from an early age. I think it’s great, in moderation of course. They get to do something they love, I get to work on my projects undisturbed.
There’s only one downside – when older brother isn’t around to help figure out things that duty falls on me. My darling daughter loves Lego Harry Potter and Lego Indiana Jones. In these games a series of puzzles need to be solved in a 3D environment to move to the next stage. Sometimes the puzzles are tricky, sometimes moving around the board is hard. Watching the process is enough to make any adult scream, “Give me the remote!”
When she gets stuck she wants me to tell her what to do, which is fine when I know what to do. Most of the time I don’t. I try to give her some directions but it always ends up sounding like this: “Go that way. . . No – the other way. . . No, where you were before, by that shiny thingy. Now, be the bazooka guy and shoot it . . . The shiny thing, yea, shoot that. . . . Ok, now pull the lever. . . That lever. . . The only lever on the screen. . . Now you’re headed the wrong way, you have to go through the door. . . That door . . The red door in the middle of the screen, see it? . . . Ok, want me to get you through to the next level yet? . . . Please?”
Kids think different things are funny as well. I watched my daughter throw her character off a cliff over and over all the while laughing and rolling on the floor at the goofy scream he made. Each time the little Lego man dies he looses some of the coins he’s collected. When you collect enough coins you earn a badge for that level, get enough badges and you unlock all sorts of goodies. I have to bite my tongue to keep from stopping her from wrecking her chances of earning that badge. She doesn’t care; but after a lifetime of trying to avoid killing my little video people, I sure do.
Then, there’s the racing games. I’ll admit, I’m pretty proud of my little speed demons, they are getting to the point where they can maneuver their cars better than I can. In these games there is a clear winner and loser, and my kids hate to lose. When they get too frustrated they ask me to help them win. I don’t mind, I like playing. However, I’m no miracle worker. I can’t pull out a win when there is only half of the last lap left and all the other video people have crossed the finish line. It’s impossible even for the Game Master. Losing their game makes me the bad guy, and I hate being the bad guy.
In the end, I love that my kids love video gaming as much as I did growing up. I hope they’re memories are as good as mine and when they have kids of their own they can enjoy gaming together as well.