Monday, March 23, 2009

Virtual Reality Meets The Real Thing

Sometimes I wake in the night. I will be asleep and then be not asleep, and it's as if something has woken me. I will look at the clock. 1am. Why did I wake up? Did I hear a noise? And then I become aware that the bed is missing a vital component. My husband. And I fish sleepily around on the floor for my slippers, grudgingly leave my cosy warm cocoon, drag on a robe and clomp down two flights of stairs. And there I find him. Sitting in the dark. Console in hand, worshiping at the alter of the XBox 360. And he will acknowledge me in a peripheral sort of way, and grunt in a manner which suggests he may be upstairs in a few minutes, and I will sigh loudly, clear my throat in a challenging manner and wait. Eventually, after a few more seconds, the game will reach a point where it can be saved, and he will sheepishly trudge up to bed. My husband, also known endearingly, despairingly, jokingly as my 5th child.

We adopted the X Box 360 into our family three Christmases ago. "For the children". The fact that I knew nothing about it did not endear it (or him) to me. I gradually came to accept it, but have never become a real fan. The two younger girls love it, and play all sorts of fun games, including the very odd "Viva Pinata" which I am certain was devised and put together by people under the influence of a controlled substance. I have not been able to ascertain what it is all about, but it is something to do with pinata animals, making gardens and strange mating rituals.

My 5th child is into the mature rated games. He enjoys nothing better than a good old fashioned hero versus the bad guys action adventure type thingy. He parades around in the games with his big guns and macho stance, shooting the aliens/mutants/evil despot in order to save the world. And sometimes he succeeds. And his gotta win this thing at any cost mentality means that he has to keep on playing til the game is over. Could be days. Could be weeks. Thank goodness for the save button or he'd never go to work.

The Wii joined the family unit last year, and this I do enjoy. The children like it because they can play God and construct little worlds of Wii Me's who they then try to spot in the crowd in the tennis games. Andy loves it because he can be competitive and beat the computer and every living human who attempts to play against him. (His competitive nature comes from his mother. The woman who cheats while playing monopoly with her granddaughters).

I am not against video games and computer games. I don't think they are bad for the children (as long as they aren't played all day and night) and some might even be called educational. But they can be addictive. I bought a t-shirt for my 5th child at Christmas, which I thought was quite apt. It says:
Wake up Play video games Have breakfast Play video games Have lunch Play video games Have dinner Play video games Go to bed.
They would if they could. Thankfully school, work, church, soccer, friends, the great outdoors and other such delights exist to keep them from falling into the fatal game trap.

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About Me

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I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.