Game Systems, Video Games, and Family Life
Lots of Choices
Family Time and Game Time
Technology has entered into every part of our lives these days. We don't write letters anymore, we text.
We rarely sit around and roll real dice or play with real cards, we have our game stations and television sets. Anything that we do by hand or without some kind of technology, is considered old fashion or outdated. Stereos are being replaced by ipods, we have palm pilots, blackberry, laptops, and all sorts of gadgets that I cannot list here.
When it come to family entertainment, games are played by one or two players usually, putting an end to whole families playing games together. When I was a kid, our family would sit around the table and play such games as parchisi, cards, sorry, scrabble, and many other games put out by Milton-Bradley, Mattell, Parker Bros. that just have become obsolete. The pieces get lost, the boxes get destroyed, and a general opinion that electronic games of today are just more fun.
We started off with the very simple Atari game system, moved up to Nintendo, and then the market just went wild with competition as the graphics got better, the cartridges got replaced with cd's, the controllers got bigger, and then smaller. They came out with controllers with more buttons, and then better ones with triggers and less buttons. All in all, now it is a matter of taste, for there are so many different systems out now that it is hard to keep up with what games you have for which consoles.
What is happening now is that certain game consoles have become obsolete, making it near impossible to find games for your still working game system, so we are almost forced to trade off systems to better ones, just to be able to find the games that we have become almost addicted to playing in our spare time. Computers started out being used mainly for business and school purposes, now you can find in many homes for simply game playing. I have heard rumours that x-boxes are now being discontinued, and the games for x-box are becoming non existent in the stores that sell and trade video games, new and used.
I think that it is due to the excessive use, at least in part, that our kids have become overweight, for they are not going outside to play with their friends and ride bikes like days of old, and instead are spending all their spare time video gaming it, either alone or with friends and siblings. The up side is that our kids are learning and indeed have surpassed the adults in the technological field of knowledge. The down side, as I stated before, is lack of excersize, anti social behaviors because of isolation, and the loss of family communication which has broken down badly, causing families to fall apart and fail in many aspects of it.
Has All Been Lost--Is It Too Late?
I have always been an advocate of going back to the old way of doing things, of getting the kids to go out and participate in sports, suggesting camping trips, boy scouts, buying them horses, or anything that gets them back into our real world and out of the imitation world of videos.
I have found on the market an alternate possibility for spending at least part of our leisure time that might satisfy both worlds, that of our kids and their cravings in video land, and that of the adults, who may still be pushing the outside.
IIt is called the Wii Box. The Wii Box System is completely different in that the controllers are more like paddles, kind of like ping pong paddles (not really) and a pad of sorts that you stand on. It still involves the television, and still we have all the virtual realities that video games and the video world brings us. Yet, this new system allows us two things that the older systems do not. The first and most important as far as I am concerned, is that it puts us on our feet, and although we are not outside running around, let's say the tennis court, we are on our feet competing with another person playing a virtual game of tennis. The controllers translate our movements into game play on the screen, and we are getting some movement and exercise. Secondly, it puts us back into touch with our families, for the choices of games lean toward two player sports and other action games. It allows us to interact with others, and allows us to socialize with behaviors of good or poor sportsmanship, and so on.
I say (and loudly) YES, to the makers of these devices, for this one is a definite pick for good family health, both mental and physical. My thanks to the makers and distributors of this game system, for I believe it will be an improvement in how we, the American families, spent our spare time together.