I am not a video game person. I never have been. Even when I was young (very young!) and Atari and Intellivision arrived on the scene, I lacked interest. Maybe I was too busy with swim team practices and dance lessons, or maybe on some level I knew my hand-eye coordination was a little on the pathetic side. Regardless, Frogger, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man’s female counterpart, Ms., never did it for me.
So imagine how perplexed I am by my daughter’s obsession with all things media. DS, Wii, iTouch – if left to her own devices, she could spend hours, maybe days, with these little machines and their carefully choreographed digital adventures. Sometimes I look at her and wonder, “If I never set a time limit…if I never pushed or prodded…Would she eat? Would she sleep? Would I find her locked in a room channeling Howard Hughes?” But I do set time limits, and I do push and prod, and time spent playing DS, Wii and iTouch is “earned” in my house, only to be used on the weekends and only in set increments (usually a half hour). It may not be the perfect parenting strategy, but it works for me most of the time.
With the “obsession” kept somewhat in check, what I then find challenging is the cost of digital entertainment. Wii, DS, and PlayStation games are not cheap, and I feel as though there’s always some new gadget we “have to have:” a steering wheel for Mario Kart, a special mat for a dance game, headgear and 3D eyeglasses…Wait a second, headgear? Eyeglasses? Do my vision and dental benefits cover those?
But a good buddy recently introduced me to GameStop, where so many games and accessories and even headgear (Again, headgear? Note to self: Review the Summary Plan Description for orthodontia and verify coverage ASAP!) are either offered at a discount or can be purchased used.
So go check out the savings and treat your mini Marios and Luigis to a new adventure at a discount. Just be sure to pick up a cute kitchen timer from Jo!e so you can remember to shout “Time’s up!” before they think WuHu Town is an acceptable answer to any question on their next geography test.