"Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that
is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn't taste good." - Lucia Capocchione
Call me old fashioned. Call me protective. Call me square. I am not a fan of video games.
The kids begged. They pleaded. They promised to clean their rooms. Twice. And still I held my ground.
“Why won’t you let us have one?” they whined.
And so I proceeded to list all of the known evils in the world: all of which I brilliantly linked to playing video games. They looked at me cross-eyed. They were not buying it, not one little bit.
“When I was a kid we didn’t have video games.” I centered myself on my soapbox and proceeded to give my best oratory of life 'in the good old days'. “We played games outside, we interacted with our friends. We used our imagination.”
"Video games are interactive.”
“But everyone else has one.”
“I don’t care what everyone else does. If everyone else jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you do that too?”
Don’t answer that.
“Listen guys,” I said, “While I would love to receive a pass from the legendary and very hunky Joe Montana, hit a home run over the illustrious Green Monster or putt like Tiger, I’d prefer the real thing. Give me fresh air, green grass and real leather. And while it may not be entirely scientific, it is my opinion that video games are single handedly responsible for the rise in the childhood obesity rate, juvenile delinquency, the collapse of the mortgage industry and global warming. Think of it as my efforts to keep you alive.”
The truth is, I’m just not a virtual kind of gal.
I am, however, a big-hearted mom and my children’s pleading is like kryptonite to me. Gradually, they wore me down. One year, for Christmas, Santa delivered the most benign game system the elves could find and we went about scrupulously monitoring the games they played and the time they spent on it. Sports games were OK. Violent ones were not.
And things were OK, for a while. And then it started again.
“Mom, we need a new system,” they informed me a while back. “They don’t make games for our system any more.”
“Of course not,” I thought to myself, “Consumer manipulation at its finest.” And out came the kryptonite, again.
“Mom, do you want to play tennis?” the birthday boy called to me as I padded into the kitchen the other morning.
“Maybe later,” I mumbled. “I’m going to drink my coffee and read the paper first. Then maybe we can go over to the tennis courts after we get dressed.”
He shot me a look.
“Come on, it’s easy.” He handed me the white controller that would serve as my “racquet”. “You serve first.”
I lifted the “racquet” over my head and served into the inside corner of the service box. Ace. 15-0, mii.
Those would be the last points I would get. Serving was the easy part. Actually hitting the virtual ball back over the virtual net proved to be a bit trickier. Funny, but when I played tennis as a kid, the ground strokes used to be my forte. It was the service that I could never quite master.
After getting clobbered at tennis, humiliated at baseball and embarrassed at bowling, I had had enough virtual fun for one day. I padded my virtual self back to the kitchen table, took a sip of my coffee and escaped into the solitude of the sports section.
This interaction stuff sure isn’t what it used to be.