I unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at things, never really got into video games. I can remember playing “Pong” with my best friend when he and I were in junior high school. I also recall playing Asteroids, Space Invaders, Galaga, Centipede and Frogger while at the bowling alley or the roller rink (during the “couples skate” in the same era (early 1980’s). I never really got into reading all of the books on how to “beat” Pacman and Ms. Pacman, just as I never “solved” Rubik’s Cube.
I do remember my sisters and me asking my parents for an Atari game console when we were kids. My father, as was his way, found a less expensive (and not as popular game system, by Bally) to get for us. It wasn’t as cool and didn’t have all of the popular games that we were expecting and I recall what a huge disappointment that game system was.
Instead of spending my after school time playing video games I would usually rush home to play football, basketball or baseball until dark, then eat dinner and do homework.
My 13 year old son spends a great deal of time playing video games. Having been burned from my dad’s purchase years ago, I didn’t want my son to feel the need to blog about the experience years from now, so I’ve diligently purchased whichever console was popular each holiday season or birthday. I am amazed at his ability to utilize a controller (no longer a “joy stick”) and manipulate an entire playbook, battle field, space ship, or whatever he happens to control in these games. Although I would love to play along with him, the amount of time it would take me to get up to speed on the controller and the game nuances would require me to take a week off from work just to operate at a pedestrian level. So I would never expect that there would be a benefit to me while my son plays video games.
That all changed when we purchased Guitar Hero for my son. It’s one of the few “games” that I’m aware of that I can actually participate in, albeit rather poorly. What really excites me about Guitar Hero is my son being familiar with and actually loading his iPod with classic rock tunes and artists that he learned about while playing the game. My son was sharing his iPod playlists with me recently and much to my surprise he was listening to Joe Walsh, Boston, Journey and yes……..Led Zeppelin! It nearly brought a tear to my eye that, as a result of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, my son and I could share our mutual attraction to these bands that I loved at his age. On our way back to his home in Indianapolis we were singing at the top of our lungs to Rocky Mountain Way, Don’t Stop Believin’ and many others.
I also think it was brilliant strategy that he loaded his iPod with these songs as we can enjoy them without causing him any further embarrassment of watching his dad “rock out” to anything on Guitar Hero!
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