The Internet is a fascinating place. I discovered the other day that I can even buy artifacts that are technically illogical. After a bet with some colleagues, I discovered that I could actually buy a chocolate teapot, an inflatable dartboard, a solar powered torch, and a motorbike ashtray (Okay, this was actually an ashtray with a motorbike etched into it, but it still counts!) I am still struggling with a chocolate fireguard (although there is a record label with that name) and a screen door for a submarine. But, I’m pretty sure that it’s only a matter of time…!
Anyway, I digress. To the subject at hand – I was sitting in my living room with my 4 year old daughter the other not-so-long-ago, and we were playing a game together. The game in question was a Disney Winnie the Pooh educational game. Obviously at 4 years old, I am not going to subject her to the likes of San Andreas, or Silent Hill. Duh. Now, I know that this game is aimed at her age group, simple colouring games, odd one out, find the sound blah blah yackety schmackety Fatherly advice… and that without too much of my help, completed the game without a fantastic amount of brain power. This made me think back to times when I had struggled to complete games that had a more than significant level of challenge about them. From this, I could not help but wonder how the games industry was setting up my little daughter for the future… The game she was playing seemed to have two aims, to develop her learning skills, while at the same time improving her computer ability. However, delving into my own past made me realise that if she carries on playing games, at what point will they take that oh so familiar U-turn whereby the educational development ceases, and instead the values are challenged. When the fun and frolics of the young mutate into the battle hardened survival instincts required to complete games like Call of Duty. I find it odd that in a video store, there is a comedy section, an action section, a horror section… yet in a games shop, you will quite frequently find games like Silent Hill next to The Sims.
I must just take a moment to address the fact that I am not insinuating that I think all adult orientated games are violent or morally wrong, I have been playing games my entire life, and I know a light hearted game from a dark one regardless of genre in the same way that I can distinguish between a teen flick and a horror movie. Everyone has watched children’s TV as a child, and still remembers the first time they saw a film like Silence of the Lambs or Texas Chainsaw Massacre. (not on children’s TV, obviously. Duh again…) For the odd (very odd) one or two who decide that this is the life for them, they get what they deserve. For the rest of us, we remember that it is purely fiction and get on with our well adjusted lives.
And the final word – for all of you out there who think it’s very unlikely that my daughter, being of the female species is unlikely to express an interest in Call of Duty – I also have a 2 year old son. I will be watching his gaming development with some interest...