One Christmas, several years ago, we were having a difficult time finding appropriate gifts for my son. I cannot remember how old he was, but I’m going to estimate that he was about 9. He knew that I didn’t fully approve of the game systems and would not purchase one for him. So, wouldn’t it be fantastic if “Santa” brought him one??? As expected, he was elated! Thus began the ever growing library of must-have games. And when the next, best game system came out, he wanted that one, too! Along with all the must-have games for that system! And even though I caved on letting him have the game systems, I would not concede on letting him have games that were rated above his age range. As long as he was in our home, there were to be no “M” rated games or “R” rated movies. He rejoiced the day he turned 17!
He came to a place in time where he already had a couple of game systems and the next best ones were about to hit the market. He had a difficult time deciding between the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. I told him he already had game systems and, basically, I was done. He was at an age where he was fully capable of earning and saving his own money to purchase what mom and dad would not. So I watched him; for over a year he saved birthday and Christmas gift money. He did chores around the house. He researched the two systems. He yo-yoed between wanting to get one system then deciding on the other. He watched sales flyers in the Sunday paper to see who had the best deal on the system he decided on. And finally, one day, he made his ultimate decision; asked us to drive him to Best Buy and he used his own money and gift cards to make his purchase. He is the proud owner of an Xbox 360.
Over the years, I’ve watched him play. More like watched him “teach” his dad how to play. He tends to leave out a lot of information when he “teaches.” I’m not sure if it’s because there is just so much to teach, or that he wants to (unfairly) beat the pants off his dad. I don’t know what intimidates me more about these game systems, watching my son clobber his component or looking over the game controllers with all their knobs, buttons and levers. “Green!” “a, A, AAAAYYY!!!!” “r1, r1, R1!!!” I just don’t think I’m up for the challenge, so I always decline whenever he asks if I want to learn.
Over Thanksgiving, we went to my brother’s home. He has the latest system, the Wii. Mom had asked me to bring board/card games to play as a family after dinner. But they were forgotten as the Wii controllers made their debut to the Thanksgiving family game time. “A little Cow Racing?” Huh? Hmmm. My mother was more courageous than me and opted to try. I was still stuck on, “I don’t play video games. I’m not coordinated enough. I don’t have any experience with them. I’m not playing.” Arms folded across my chest, me pouting. I watched my mom; she moved the controller this way and that. “Oh, it shakes!” she exclaimed as her cow crashes into something in the game. I watched my brother’s girlfriend bump her controller up in the air and her cow jumped. My own mother, playing Wii; I should have had my camera. The puppy wondering what was going on… my people are holding these things that look like my chewy bones, but they’re not playing with me. Everybody had a chance to race a cow. Including me. Hmmm. That was easy enough. I could probably play that again.
Next up, Wii Bowling. The first four to play were my brother, his girlfriend, Ian and my mom. Again! My mom! She had surgery on her wrist in October to correct her Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and I was worried that she might not be able to do the bowling. But she did. And she did well. And she looked like she was enjoying it. Who knew? I played in the next round. Strike! Spare! Spare! Oh, this is good. I typically am the one who has the lowest score when doing “real” bowling … as far as that’s concerned, “Gutter-Ball” is my middle name! I prefer bowling with little kids, where we put the bumpers up to make sure there are no gutter balls. But this Wii thing… well, I, uhhh…
Now, I’m wondering… Do I dare ask for a Wii for Christmas? Do I break my own intolerance of game systems? Do I become a gamer? Can I do it? Am I ready?