video game throwback: passing the tradition onward

For Christmas my partner and I decided to trick out an old PC for my kid and order one of these awesome USB compatible throwbacks to the Super Nintendo controller. (via Think Geek) Now my baby can get down with emulator games (even though you know this mama kept her SNES console and games in playable condition all these years!) and know the true glory of legit gaming.

It’s exciting to be able to pass along a favorite pastime and introduce such quality games like X-Men, Mega Man X, Street Fighter 2, the original Mario Kart, Donkey Kong Country, The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past, Sonic the Hedgehog, and so many others!

While I erroneously believed at some point that avoiding media would keep my child unsullied by its insufferable grasp on children and the cultural messages that come with unrestricted television viewing, I realize now that is impossible under most normal circumstances. TVs are everywhere nowadays and even if you don’t personally own one, they’re in stores, banks, billboards and, well, everywhere. The ubiquitous nature of advertisements is almost suffocating and then there is the great majority that uses television (like food) as a reward or management tool. The daycare I took my child to played obscene amounts of TV (and horrible Disney no less) so even though I didn’t play it myself, I still exposed my poor baby to the boob tube by trying to work as a single parent. Crap. I didn’t do an impeccable job either and my family wholly disagrees with the TV is evil bit so oh well. As the old cliche is written: if you can’t beat ’em; join ’em

Instead of waxing poetic about my inability to prevent the seemingly inevitable, here are some real life benefits to gaming- yes, gaming provides benefits to individuals.

Multi-tasking, tracking objects, and problem-solving along with cooperation and even improved eyesight are some of the perksto gaming. But wait! There’s more! Really though, there are plenty more benefits and even quite interesting and thoughtful reads on gaming and children’s screen time.

And because I have to send my child to regular jack off school where homework is handed out like Halloween candy, video games serve as an excellent motivation toward completing work in a timely fashion. 5 minutes per page finished or “unlimited” when all of it is done. Unlimited really means that we won’t time you but we will expect you to keep up with normal human interaction and bodily functions.

But I could sit here all day and explain why gaming is awesome and rationalize, explain, proselytize about this emulator, the 90s and kids and media today. None of that, while important, is the point. Being a parent means all the stuff you do is for your kid’s happiness. If they’re going to watch TV, you’re going to let them game. If they are going to game, they damn well better learn their geek history before venturing too far down the 3DS and Kinect route. To share an era of gaming unparalleled by modern standards (even though the animation of todays’s games are amazing, there’s nothing like 8 bit) is a privilege that I’m grateful for. I want my child to be happy and I want my child to have something more productive to do with their time than sit and mindlessly watch media with questionable messages. With games, there are interactive skills and qualities being developed that are absent in television viewing in my opinion.

So, like juice boxes on a field trip, break out the emulator and USB controller and let’s link to the 8 bit past.

(Image courtesy of think geek)

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