I Need To Build My House! – Video Games

This generation is so dead. You ask a kid, ‘What are you doing this Saturday?’ and they’ll be playing video games or watching cable, instead of building model cars or airplanes or doing something creative. Kids today never say, ‘Man, I’m really into remote-controlled steamboats.’  ~Jack White

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Kyle with his cousins, Olivia & Grant at Twin Lakes for a picture day. Kids should get back to nature & hang out with each other more often  8/2012

I know I’ve talked about video games, Gamers Start Small & Grow & Gigi Our Original Gamer – Pac-Man, and the issues and arguments that seem to accompany them, No Video Games? Running?  Why Do I Have To?.  So it should be no surprise to me that Kyle’s video games are not falling by the wayside, in fact they are advancing at a rapid rate!

Again, I’d like to reiterate, I have no qualms with video games, I do like to play a game or two, but I do have a problem with video games consuming your entire life.  If I’d let Kyle, he would play his Minecraft or whatever game he’s on, ALL day.  No joke!  Not taking a break, not getting tired, not thinking about anything else, not even getting distracted.  Maybe I should be giving him kudos for his dedication to this discipline.

However, I can’t get past the detox I have to go through every time I ask Kyle to wrap it up to do something else, or when he has to stop because he exceeded his video playing limit.  (Yes for the record I do try and monitor and reasonably limit how much time he plays video games on his computer – the only thing he uses it for.  No schoolwork!)

Yes the detox.  Telling Kyle he has “five minutes left” or “wrap it up buddy, your done for the day” or “take an hour break” is almost devastating to his ears.  He’ll give me a look, like I’m talking Chinese, as if he doesn’t comprehend what I said to him.  Or even better, he instantly starts to whine and grumble like a tiny child.  But the absolute best, the one action that really gets my goat, is when he doesn’t even lift his eyes to look at me when I’m talking to him, and he continues playing as if I’m not even in the room, then to appease me with an “Ok”.  I know he may think my instructions are negotiable, but I have news for him.  Nope!  That laptop is closed, permanently.

Sometimes it feels like I’m peeling that electronic device from his fingers.  I imagine this is what it would be like to pull drugs from a user.  He really does get addicted to these games, like many other kids his age.

Kyle-with-is-pap-and-rifle-Aunt-Heather-Piper-7-2011

Kyle sitting with his pappy sporting a rifle at my cousins, Connie & Skip’s house. Uncle Ray (RIP) is in the background. 7/2011

Fortunately, Kyle knows when I mean business, I mean it and there’s no messing around.  Granted, I do give him his time to play and allow him the chance to save whatever he’s on before shutting down his operation, but the minute the attitude comes and the arguments surface, I loose it. Especially when I hear, “Why do I have to?” and “Why can’t I play a little longer.” and my favorite, “Why do I have to take a break?”; that’s when the computer is completely taken away, to not make its appearance until the following day.

This week while walking with a friend of mine, Holsters, the very same topic came up.  Her nephew has the same demeanor, and he’s two or three years younger than Kyle.  She’s beside herself.  Plus she doesn’t have the same authority I do, to enforce what’s right.  These kids just want to be slugs and sit around with their head in fantasy land, not facing reality.  Young people are not going to be able to cope with real life if they don’t start taking baby steps toward it now. (I’m not even going to get into the diet that accompanies the hour long stents of video game madness.)  No wonder they are whiny and miserable and tired all the time.

Seriously, I wish more parents would stop using video games as a babysitter and get involved with their kids.  And I’m not talking about joining them on the controls, although in moderation, that could be a good bonding experience.  I’m talking about building a cabin or a chicken shed, or dig up the earth looking for dinosaurs.  I know I’m going to extremes and being silly, kinda, but there is so much to do!  Do it.  And get creative, it will entertain all parties.

Kyle-reading-Hunger-Games-at-IHOP-2012-Aunt-Heather-Piper

At least reading is another one of Kyle’s addictions, besides the video games. He does love to read, even at the IHOP – Hunger Games! c. 2012

Video games are a bit of an enigma with me.  Last weekend Kyle made a comment that he had a lot to do.  “Really what do you have planned for today?”  Silly me, he had to finish building his house in Minecraft.  What?  I said, “Kyle building an imaginary house in a video game is not considered work, nor should it ever be a priority.”  He gave me the “whatever” grin.  I believe he even rolled his eyes at me!

This was my time to sound like an old timer.  I told Kyle, “Now if you go out and build an actual house, that someone could live in or a play area, now that’s considered work and worth your time.  I would also help you build it, but not a digital house that doesn’t benefit anyone.”  His response?  “My people need somewhere to live!”  Yikes!   I should have stopped there, but I didn’t and I began to explain how we built a fort (yes we took small trees chopped them down and build ourselves a fort to play in, in the woods) and a cabin.  Seriously, we did this when we were in elementary school.   I didn’t mention that we were unusual kids for our day, I didn’t find it a need when I was trying to make my case.

Not taking the hint Kyle didn’t seem to care or really comprehend what I was saying, I continued, “Look, your dad and Casey and Joel (cousins) build the party shack just to hang out in when they were in high school and not to play video games.”  Again, I didn’t get into what they did up there, nor do I even want to know, but that’s not relevant to my argument.

Kyle knows the cabin very well.  We sometimes hunt around there and when Kyle was younger, Casey would come home and take him for a walk up to the permanent structure, remembering Ryan,  The cabin is equipped with a wood burner, windows, a porch and a shingled roof.  Definitely no dive.

Quick story.  I don’t know how many times this happened, but I do know it was at least once.  The guys, Ryan, Casey and Joel, plus whoever else was hanging around, called to have a pizza delivered.  They actually gave directions to the edge of the woods and told the driver to wait there, someone will meet them.  To me that’s the funniest story.  First of all this took place late at night and secondly, no delivery driver would even do that today for fear of being jumped.  Lastly, who just orders a pizza to have it delivered to the woods?  I would have walked to my parents house to wait for it and then carried the pie back up.  Not those guys.  They got hungry and ordered a pizza to be delivered in the woods with no real address.  Too funny!

Now back to my video game rant.  On Monday Kyle text me asking for an apple pie recipe we recently made.  I had mom type it up and email it to him.  I text him back letting him know it was on the way to check his emails, no response.  Again, I reached out to him via text message to ensure he did indeed receive the requested information, no response.   I tried calling, to only be put into his voicemail.  Fine, it must not be that important, even though I believed he needed it for school.

Kyle & my text he needs work on his spelling- Aunt Heather Piper

Kyle texted me for an apple pie recipe, obviously he needs work on his spelling

The next day I got a text saying “Got it”.  Ok a day late but whatever.  Then yesterday, just after he got home from school, he CALLED  me, not texted or emailed me but he picked up the phone to make the call, asking for his password on Minecraft.  Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing from Kyle, no matter the reason, but seriously?  Evidently, he updated the game and it logged him out, therefore his password was not saved.  Crisis! He wanted me to jump up immediately to access our password list to give him his login information.  Fat chance kid!  I told him I’ll get to it later, after asking if he had homework and if he practiced his piano.

I guess it doesn’t feel so good to be blown off, because the next thing I knew, I saw an email come through resetting the password. (Yes I have all his emails copied to me so I can monitor his activity.)  That kid is something else!  Instead of waiting for the info, he had to have it right then and there, immediately.  So he reset the password to play his game.  Funny thing, he never gave me the updated password.  I see another issue in the near future.

Not to be all negative about Kyle and those stupid video games because he sometimes does pretty good with playing in moderation, sort of.  Granted, I do need to tell him to log off when the hours have been racking up.  By no means does he usually volunteer to be released from the video game addition, but once he’s off, he’ll play other board games, go to the movies, sled ride, cook, or my favorites, play the piano and reading.   He just needs to be guided toward other activities. I’ve noticed he really doesn’t pay attention to the hours spent on the computer.  I suppose that’s my job.  I’m very thankful he does have other interests, even though they tend to take a backseat to the video games.

I’m hoping this is still a faze, but maybe I’m the one living in the imaginary world.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments

Gigi Our Original Gamer – Pac-Man

I recently learned something quite interesting about video games.  Many young people have developed incredible hand, eye, and brain coordination in playing these games.  The air force believes these kids will be our outstanding pilots should they fly our jets.  ~Ronald Reagan

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Nicole, Mom & Ryan hanging at grams house 1984

This past Christmas Kyle got a PlayStation 3 (PS3), not that he needed an additional means to play more video games.  But just as expected, he was ecstatic over the purchase.  What really cracks me up, is he has the Wii with a boatload of video games and Wii Fitness, which he barely plays anymore.  Let’s not forget all the games he’s purchased on his iPod Touch, the computer and he still plays with his Nintendo DS.  I guess he has a game for any occasion and any location.

With the availability of this new console, my sister decided to encourage his already obsessive behavior by purchasing him his very own Burnout Paradise and a few other games.  Kyle LOVES that game.  Every year since the establishment of ‘Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s Week of Fun’ Kyle has practically mastered the game and dreams about playing that game every year before vacationing at Nicole’s house.  In fact, if he hears Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses, he’ll get in this almost nostalgic state and have a yearning to visit my sister to play.  No joke!  He’s actually said to me, “Aunt Heather now I really want to go to Aunt Nikki’s to play Burnout Paradise.”  Now Nicole and Kyle can play Burnout Paradise with each other in the evenings.  Since my sister is four hours away, this is kind of a neat way to hang out, through a video game.  I guess any excuse to spend time with each other is a good excuse.

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Kyle playing his Nintendo DS.  T-shirt courtesy of Aunt Nikki c. 2009

Sometimes I wonder if the desire to play video games is an inherited behavior.  Ryan wasn’t really that into video games, he would rather be outside hunting and fishing or working on cars.  Playing every once in a while, I can say I’m not really big into video games myself.  I would rather be reading, snowboarding, running or hiking.  My sister, although I would never constitute her as a gamer, does like to play video games more than any of us.  My dad, forget it.  He’s never touched a computer and the only Wii game he’s ever played was Cabela’s Hunting.  Probably because we have a plastic gun type of accessory to house the Wii remote control, giving it that kind of hunting feel.  Mom will sit and play a Wii game if Kyle pleads with her to do so.  She tries, but the games are a lot more complex than they used to be and her eyesight isn’t all that great.  Let’s not forget her reflexes aren’t what they used to be either.  How do I know?  Mom had the potential to be a modern day gamer.

Way long time ago, in the 1980’s, when Atari came out, my parents purchased us the console and a few games.  Prior to, we had a very basic game called Pong.  Not too exciting but was enough to stimulate us for a while.  Now, when the Atari arrived, it did catch our attention, at least initially.  We had Frogger, always one of my favorites and still is.  As a matter of fact, I downloaded it to our Wii console but the desire to play it isn’t there anymore.  On a side note, Seinfeld did an episode on Frogger.  It was great!

Another game which logged a lot of hours was Combat.  This one required two players and dad owned it!  Within Combat, there were different games such as tanks or airplanes.  Basically you shot each other up until someone was out of ammo.  That was up dad’s alley, not really my bag.  Ryan on the other hand loved Pole Position!  This was his cup of tea.  It was a racing game whereas you viewed the screen as if you were really driving the car.  You needed to avoid other drivers, maneuver around curves and avoid crashing.   It was fun picking the different courses.

PacMan Aunt Heather Piper

I can’t remember Nicole having a favorite game, but I’m sure she did.  A few other videos we owned included Q-Bert, Space Invaders, Pitfall, Missile Command and Donkey Kong.  There were many more games to purchase, but we didn’t get new ones just because we wanted them, only for special occasions, unlike kids of today.

atari2600 Aunt Heather Piper

This is what our Atari console looked like! Love the 80’s!

Intentionally, I left one game out of the list because it is the spotlight of my rant.  The one the only, the original Pac-Man!  I look at Pac-Man as the Angry Birds of our present day.  Coming as part of the Atari console package, along with Combat, Pac-Man was the game!  There was even a cartoon made to continue the phenomenon.  Being a relatively simple game, your yellow Pac-Man guy had to eat these dots or pills in the maze without being attacked from Blinky (Red), Inky (light blue), Pinky (Pink) and Clyde (Orange), the ghosts.  Naturally there were opportunities to power up and gain additional points.  Each level became faster and faster and the mazes changed slightly, becoming increasingly difficult.

Back in the day, mom was our master Pac-Man master.  She really was, without question.  Presently, we relive this tale of how the most unassuming member of the family, who stood on the sidelines watching everyone take their shot at the title, turned into a Pac-Man powerhouse behind closed doors.  Yes mom, kicked all of our butts!  I’ll never forget the day we realized mom rained supreme with this simple Atari game.

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Mom doesn’t look like she’s having a nice day… 1980’s

It happened on the most ordinary of days.  Upon filing into the house after coming home from school, we naturally ran to the Atari console to challenge each other to a game, letting our hair down and relaxing before homework.  One of us, either me, Ryan or Nicole plugged in the Pac-Man game.  The high score glowed throughout the room, blinding our eyes and taunted us like a cruel joke.  We seriously didn’t say anything at first and just kind of stared at each other wondering who accomplished this feet without everyone knowing, and when?  Just then, mom walked into the living-room sporting a huge grin on her face, as if proud of herself for kicking her very own flesh and blood’s scores to the curb, in a single day!  Mom’s master craftsmanship of game playing was done in one day, while we were at school and dad at work.

Remaining stunned and in complete shock, we challenged mom to a game of Pac-Man, but alas it was a futile attempt at reclaiming our place, ever.  For the duration of the Atari gaming system in our household, mom was undefeated.  We sincerely tried, all of us.  We also had our cousins up, but alas the damage had been done.

PacMan Game Aunt Heather PiperMom played Pac-Man so much her wrists would even flare up and bother her, but she would push through the discomfort for the thrill of the game.  Sometimes we would have mom play just so we could watch her and learn the next levels in case one day we would make it that far.  Mom was seriously fast with her ninja-like reflexes.  It’s almost like she was using The Force to guide her through the mazes.

What was mom’s top score?  Seriously, I don’t even remember and neither does she, but I do remember it was always better than any score I’ve ever seen on any free standing Pac-Man machines found in the arcades and any friends Atari console.  Mom doesn’t really play anymore but she still lives the memories of her gaming days through this story.  Kyle doesn’t really understand, even though he knows what Pac-Man is, we had a Plug & Play containing old Atari games.  But I can tell he really can’t visualize what I’ve witnessed and what we lived to tell the tale.

Looks like mom was the Piper family’s original gamer!  Look out Kyle if you ever decide to challenge Gigi to a game of Pac-Man, you will be rudely awakened!

posted by auntheather in Books, Movies, Shows,Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Hiking & Outdoors,Hunting & Fishing,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing and have No Comments
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