Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dads and Video Games? - Part 1

I have long written about the evils and dangers of video games, particularly with regard to inappropriate content and the possibility of becoming addicted to them. Far too often, I have seen adolescents and teens begin to play video games for fun and, before long, their sole focus in life seems to be video games. They can’t get enough; the content turns more sinister; and they disengage from regular life.

With all of that in mind, can dads become addicted to video games? OF COURSE NOT!! …. Or can they?? Well, after reading the details of my family’s Thanksgiving Weekend, you can decide!

After spending the entire day together watching the Detroit Lions and talking about life, we finally settled down for dinner at around 8:00 p.m. After the dinner, as I was contemplating going to bed for the night, my youngest child (15) tried to get the whole family involved in a simple video game, called “Mario Cart”.

My two older children (18 and 21) quickly took the bait and they began to get their controllers ready for the big match. As I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about actually playing video games, let alone trying to beat experienced whippersnappers, I tried my best to beg off. My kids would have nothing to do with it. Before I knew it, in an attempt to keep the Thanksgiving camaraderie going, I was involved in a “Mario Cart” game with my 3 offspring, each of whom was far superior in skill to me!

Needless to say, after several agonizing minutes of losing round after round, the game mercifully ended and I officially finished in LAST PLACE!

After that humiliating experience, I asked my kids if they had some type of sports video game. To keep the evening going, they all too eagerly indicated that they had "Sports Wii" and they would be happy to challenge me in those games, as well.

Well, back in the day, I was a halfway decent bowler (I averaged in the 180’s in high school), so I challenged them to a game of Wii blowing. Mustering all of the skill that I once possessed, as well as recalling my competitive nature to the forefront, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Wii Bowling game actually utilizes skills that are similar to real bowling! Trying to not foam at the mouth (after all, that would be a sign of video game addiction!), I used my old bowling style to BLOW AWAY my first competitor. I then proceeded to systematically and soundly defeat the other two challengers! YES, I was on a roll!

For the next 2-3 hours, I blew away all competition in regular bowling, power bowling, and spares bowling. There was no stopping me now!! Near the midnight hour, long after I should have been sleeping, I mercifully allowed my kids to play a different game without me and I quietly ventured to bed, sore right arm, both legs, and back barely intact.........

(Come back next Saturday for the exciting conclusion!)

Paul W. Reeves

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