March 22, 2011

A New Machine (Part 2)

Pink Floyd, A Momentary Lapse of Reason 1987

This post is dedicated to the blue Nintendo DSi at Costco that I have had my eye on for over a year. I may have caressed it more than a few times.  I've got my eye on you, Blue Boy ...... you hunky, steamy blue plastic box of sex and magic.

So! Your kid may be into Batman, Legos, Hot Wheels, Thomas the Trains, Star Wars or all of the above.  Bully for you!  My kids are into Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.  This includes the figurines, the plush toys, the movie videos, the YouTube videos, the books, the clothes (and even Super Mario cupcakes)  Oh sure, the actual video games figure in, but they are not the main feature.  Arun will go weeks without firing up the Wii, but not a night goes by without some Bowser cuddling action.

To be fair, I must give Nintendo credit for attempting, at least, to make their star players serve an actual purpose. My favorite Super Mario movie video is the one where a lesson of racial harmoney was imparted upon my children's tender souls.  I swear to Buddha - Luigi got the Red Toadies and Blue Toadies to agree that while "they are different on the outside, they are all the same on the inside."  And special!  Of course.

I am acutely aware that I am supposed to hang my head in shame at this great failure in parenting by allowing my kid to play video games.  I realize that I have sentenced my kid to a life of crime - or worse, a life spent living in my basement - by not shoving my duck-footed, tone-deaf progeny out the door to join his brethren at the nearby soccer field or orchestra pit.

However, I confess that a few weeks I was more than a little proud when Arun totally served Tiki Tong's ass to him on a banana leaf.  My kid finished Donkey Kong.  I have never finished one of those "adventure" style video games.  I always give up when the going gets rough in the last few levels (we are still 2 levels from the Big Boss Battle on Mario Bros, but I am all "Eh.  Whatever. I give up. YAWN......")  So, not only did Arun practice and work hard toward the end goal, he was a judicious student by reading the books and discussing strategy with Manoj and I.  And like the good mama I am, each morning, I would plug him into YouTube videos of the newest levels he needed to conquer.

Hey, it worked for D.A.R.Y.L.

The biggest concern is that I love, love, love video games myself and this love grew roots long ago. In the mid 80s, we had an Atari and I had a "problem" with Berserk.  Later, I had a Gameboy and an "issue" with Tetris. When I bought my first computer, I not only had a "thing" with Myst: Original Recipe but also a carpal tunnel worthy problem with Solitaire, Minesweeper AND Free Cell.  In the late 90s, I had a PalmPilot and an obsession with Backgammon, Cribbage and Euchre.  Later, I had a Nintendo 64 and you guessed it, a hang-up with Banjo-Kazooie.

Do not get me started on Angry Birds.

When Super Mario Bros for the Wii was first released, I was at Costco that very afternoon.  Donkey Kong, natch.  I am an adult who can afford the $$$, why the hell should I have to wait for a birthday or fucking Santa?

Besides, at least my kid is improving his vocabulary skillz, right?  Around here, "blammed" means you have stomped on your enemy.  "Mario Kiri" means you have purposefully jumped to your death or headed straight into the gaping maw of a goomba so that you can die and re-up all of your lives to be even with your teammates.  While you perform this heroic act, your teammates all "bubble it up" by pressing the A button to save themselves from losing a life.

Since we have all of the figurines, plushies, etc, this means that my kids can spend hours re-enacting their favorite scenes from the videos and the games.  It's imaginative play mixed with dissociative cogntion! (You can go ahead and check that developmental milestone, Judgey McJudgersons. Yes, that checkbox.  RIGHT THERE. The one up your ass.) One of my favorite scenarios my kids have concocted is something called "Koopa Kids"  I have yet to figure out the exact rules, but it involves Bowser being the daddy and Princess Peach being the mama with Koopa Troopa, Goomba and Toadie serving as children which essentially means we have a bit of squicky, interspecial hanky-panky going on in our house. Folks, if the Doomship is a rockin', don't come a knockin'.

And I wonder why I never get requests from Nintendo PR folks.


~ifer said...

First of all, I actually said, while reading your post, "oh my god, D.A.R.Y.L.!!" (with appropriate exclamation marks of course). I had forgotten about that gem from my childhood.

Secondly, as an adult who spends almost all my free time playing games on my computer, married to a man who does the same, I find myself applauding this post, of course.

It sounds like your house is a fun place to be :)

CPA Mom said...

We have no video games whatsoever in our Wii, no Playstation, nada. Mainly because we don't have the money for it.

HOWEVER, my 8 yo is now asking for a Nintendo. I just might need to hit you up for advice on this whole new mysterious world. We told him he could get one when the tax refund comes in. Where is the best place/best price for that?

Melanie said...

No judgy mcjudgerson here..... My kid plays soccer but he also has mad skilz on the monster jam/racing games on the wii or his DS... and yes my 5yr old has a DS.... I swore I would never do that, but I did it anyway (though he plays on it maybe twice a week)

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

~fer - OMG, my mom, sister and I LOVED D.A.R.Y.L - we watched that movie over and over!

CPA Mom - we've resisted the DSi (for now) mostly because we don't want Arun huddled in a corner playing by himself. I highly recommend the Wii because we play it as a family, together.

Melanie - I am seriously torn on the DSi. I really want one. Meaning *I* want one.

Faiqa said...

Isn't there a study on how video games are actually beneficial to children in terms of reaction times, fine motor skills and even honing prioritization skills? If there isn't, there totally should be.

Olivia said...

I'm not much of a gamer, but we have plans to get a Wii when our kid(s) are older. I suppose I could hang my head in shame that my toddler knows how to turn on the tv, but meh.