Monday, October 19, 2009

1Up

I had grown tired of being the only one in house who played video games. I was sad at the layer of dust that was collecting on the second Wii remote. So I made a decision that it was time to broaden my son’s horizons and introduce him to the video game.

The Bean’s prior game experience has been limited mainly to driving simulators at Chuck E. Cheese’s. He didn’t really “play” those games as much as sat there turning the steering wheel. It didn’t seem to matter to him if I’d even put a token in the machine or not. Complicating maters is that as a rule, the Bean isn’t much for instruction. Try to tell the kid how to do something, even if it’s something he’s struggling with, and he’ll howl “noooo!” and quit. I knew that I would have to tread lightly if this plan was going to work.

I lured him in with the so-classic-it’s-almost-a-cliché, “Wanna see something cool?” The Bean watched intently as I set up the game. Until now, he had only known the TV as something that played a movie or a TV show and the idea that it had another function intrigued him.

We started with bowling—an easy game with a very high action to reward ratio. He liked it well enough and although there were a few close calls when he either came close to crashing into the TV or throwing the controller through the window behind him, he got fairly decent at it.

Next, I took it up a notch and brought out the balance board to get him skiing. The game, We Ski is a skiing simulator that gives the player free range of a replica of a 9 run mountain, complete with chairlifts, annoying music and announcements from the loudspeaker and other skiers who sometimes get in your way. I had nearly returned the game after growing bored with it the first night, but because of it’s ease I decided to keep it for exactly this occasion.

I set the kid up on the board, placed the controllers in his hand and ran him through the controls. I was amazed that he was listening intently to the instructions, but I figured that his appetite was whet from bowling and he was now properly motivated. In a matter of minutes, he was “skiing.”

It didn’t surprise me that he loved it, but it did surprise me how quickly it all clicked for him. He was pressing buttons and navigating menus. Catching air on jumps and slaloming through moguls. I sat on the couch behind him with a goofy grin, watching the surreal image of an avatar of my son being controlled by my son. It was like when you aim a video camera which is plugged into a TV at the screen.

It took less than a half-hour for him to be completely hooked, making the experiment a rousing success. Though we’re a long way away from playing Rock Band together, or even any of the Lego games, all journeys begin with a single step. And as a bonus, the Bean now talks about wanting to go skiing—for real. My evil plot to get him to love all of the things that I love to do, but WonderWife™ does not, is coming into fruition!

14 comments:

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

This is good to know, that younger kids can easily get these games. We've banked the entire Christmas hoopla around the wii the kids are getting from their grandmother.

I don't really want to be the only one stuck playing the thing.

SciFi Dad said...

If my wife still read blog posts more often, this would be printed out and put on our fridge as a constant reminder of why I am allowed a PSP but never will a console enter our home.

Eric said...

I was hoping we could get a Wii this Christmas for the family, but we're getting a baby instead.

Like We Ski, it will also shout announcements and get in the way.

My 4 y/o likes to play Burnout on my sons 360.

I was thinking about getting the little ones a VTech or something this year. Relatively inexpensive and I'm sure, Mommy Approved.

And you better watch it. It's the son's job to be better than the dad in ALL video games eventually.

ZenMom said...

Isn't it an awesome feeling to know that you've passed along the geek gene? :D

My five year old loves to play wii fit and wii sports and lego star wars - game time is his reward for good behavior throughout the week.

I was really amazed at how quickly he picked up the whole concept. Kid can totally kick my butt at most of the sports games, now!

TentCamper said...

true bliss! That is cool and I can't wait for my boys to be out there camping, fishing and going to Football games with me.

BUT...it won't be long before he's kicking your butt on those games...don't teach him ALL of your tricks.

Your escalator operator said...

Nice goin'!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Andrea...You're going to love the Wii. Totally fun.

SciFi...This is the only time I'm glad to hear someone isn't reading me.

Eric...Wii vs. Baby? I guess you made the right choice. I guess. And I suck at video games, so there's no question he's going to be beating me soon.

Zen...The Bean is my son. He has no choice but to be a geek.

TentCamper...You assume I have video game tricks. The Bean actually figured out a way to move the camera in the game that I didn't know existed.

YEO...Thanks!

James (SeattleDad) said...

And so it begins...

Few of us can point to that moment like the Bean will be able to.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I'm not sure whether I should do the aaaahhhhh thing or laugh!?

Awkward...

I'll do both. My boy started at a very young age, very young. He started with a PS2, (no Wii). He is incredibly smart so video games have not ruined his brain, AND he comes home does his homework an then is allowed to play video games...I limit his time, but I learned fast that my husband was going to teach him anyway for the same reason you taught Bean...

Plus its a fabulous babysitter!

Just sayin...

Lady Mama said...

Haha. I think that's pretty cool. I SO want a wii (we have an Xbox 360). Except of course now your son is going to be a gaming addict. ;) But then I remind myself that I started early too (with an Atari) and loved it. And in this house, it's bound to happen sooner or later.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

James...I hear ya. My parents were so not video game people.

Shelle...I can't wait to lord the video games over him as a way to (try) to curb his behavior. Muh-huh-ha-ha!

Lady Mama...I am a game addict. Why shouldn't my kids be too?

Anonymous said...

I just received a bluetooth headset and cannot get it to turn on. I have it charging and connected to the playstation. It shows that it is charging by flashing red but when I try to turn the power on nothing happens. How do I fix this? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Now that Sony's console is adding the capability to stream movies, should we expect a similar offering from Nintendo? Doubtful.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Playstation two, is it possible to attach the 7" screen to the original thick model or does the 7" screen only be attached to the slim model?