Friday, May 06, 2011

Playing Games

My boy is really enjoying his EYC group at the church.  Even though the girls outnumber the boys by a fairly wide margin (a fact he will appreciate in a few years!), everyone gets along.  ZBoy discovered early on that he and some of the girls shared a love of anime tv shows and movies and they would swap suggestions for movies to watch.  Z had actually seen quite a few and watched the ones the girls recommended as well.  They are friends.

After the Good Friday service, the EYC kids gathered in the parish hall to fill bags for the Easter egg hunt on Sunday.  As things wound down, one of the girls went up on the little stage and started doing cartwheels and singing.  My boy was standing next to me and he is head snapped up as she sang.  Mine whipped around as well.  He walked up to the stage and asked.... Is that the endsong to Portal?  She stood up after a cartwheel and asked...  Do you KNOW that game? 

Oh, yeah!!!!

In fact, it's one of the boy's favorites.  Another thing to have in common with his new friends.

He bought Portal2 with his birthday money and loved that one as well.  The girls will be so jealous.

I can barely watch him play - it's just dizzying to me.  But I love the concept.

We've been spending a bit of time in the game store lately.  So many shoot-em-up games with various levels of gore.  Killing "enemies" left and right.  I don't mind the ones where they are shooting robots or menacing aliens, but the ones that pit people against people or people against animals are very disturbing to me.  There are a few fantasy games that feature skimpy costumes and dragons which I guess aren't so bad.  But I really don't feel that these are appropriate for kids.  What are we teaching them with this?

My son pleads - But everybody else plays these games! - but I feel like they desensitize him to the very real harm that guns can do to people.  There's one game that my husband has been playing that makes him receive repeated shots to the head by an alien when he dies.  It's awful to look at.  My son doesn't even blink. 

I believe my son understands the difference between these games and reality.  His uncles and granddad love to shoot guns at family get-togethers (shooting range at the farm) and he never wants to go down there.  It hurts his ears.  He has a very strong survival instinct and stays away from stuff that might hurt him.  But I wonder about other kids who play these games.  Do they understand that when someone gets shot, they don't come back after a few seconds with a full health-meter?  That dead means you don't get back up to continue the game?  What if he goes to play at someone's house one day and that other kid doesn't understand the difference between those games and reality?  It is one of my biggest fears.

That's why I love the Portal games.  They are puzzles where the character has to get from one place to another, accomplish one thing or another.  The characters are interesting and fun.  I wish there were more games like that, which ARE appropriate for kids my son's age.  Sure, the story involves some questionable experimentation by a big company that uses its employees as test subjects, but the object is to overcome.  Not to kill or maim, but to figure out how to overcome the obstacles.  I can get behind that.

And of course, the endsongs when they run the game credits really are awesome. 


1 comment:

Knock knock - it's cancer! said...

First of all - look, I'm checking THIS blog out! hahah... and second, yes, I agree about these games, kids look at them and it's all bloody and gory and they don't even blink. Talk about de-sensitizing them from the real

And I get the 'but everyone else has one' spiel all the time, I must be the most uncool mom of the whole school with all the rules and limitations I place on my offspring, but alas, I am trying to raise kind, caring, law- abiding citizens ... who don't need to play such violent games, or have cell phones when they are 10 years old!

woah, did I just go overboard in my venting?? Hahah