The Wife and I have been, until recently, very reluctant to buy video games for our kids. We wanted them to learn how to play together or how to play outside rather than be glued to the computer or in front the TV. This strategy worked well while they were younger. However, as they grew older and had more contact with friends with Xboxes, Wiis, Playstations, etc., it became increasingly difficult to satisfy their interest in video games. Our son, especially, has been persistent in asking, begging, pleading with us to buy a games for him.
Finally, we relented and bought him a video game called Spore. He had been hinting, not so subtly, for over a year that he wanted this game. He was elated when he recieved his birthday present.
For those unfamiliar with it, the game involves creating a creature by picking from a large assortment of styles and shapes of legs, arms, wings, claws, tails, heads, eyes, etc. (think Cootie only better). Then the player must “evolve” the creature from a single-celled organism in a primordial ocean into an advanced space-traveling species by fighting other creatures and gaining experience.
OK, harmless enough even though he spent hours playing it despite the rule we had made. For every hour on the computer he had to spend two hours playing outside.
The other night I wanted my kids to experience a classic in the science fiction film genre. Yes, I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to sci-fi movies. They had already seen the complete Star Wars saga and watched the entire Star Trek: TNG series with us. But I wanted to go a step farther to something even more pioneering. So we watched Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ok, so I still don’t understand the ending, and it is a little slow in parts, but I thought they could appreciate it.
What was I thinking?
They seemed only slightly interested despite my efforts to hype it up. We came to the scene where the monolith appears to the early ape men. Suddenly Benji blurts out, “Oh this is just like on my game Spore! The monkey is going to pick up the jaw bone and then throw it up in the air . . .” He described the scene exactly.
A moment for real discovery.
By a video game.
What was I thinking?