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June 19, 2006

Happy freakin' Father's Day!!

I was all set to wish dads everywhere a Happy Father's Day, complete with smily emoticons and pretty little hearts to dot my "i"s. It was going to be the feel-good post of the year.

Now, I'm all about angry, disappointed frowns.

Here's what happened:

We had a fun, relaxing family weekend, including a board game marathon on Saturday. We played Memory and Pick Up Sticks (technically not a board game, I guess), but the highlight was a thrilling, down-to-the-wire game of Sorry!, in which my son edged out my daughter at the very end. BTW, it goes without saying that I was a distant third place (my daughter clinched 2nd place on her next turn), and yes, I was trying - they formed an alliance.

Then today, we went to Seven Mile Fair - a flea market between Chicago and Milwaukee. Most of the stuff there was schlocky crap (this was our first and last trip there), but we did get a good deal on some flowers (my wife and I let each kid choose one of the flowers in the flat) and veggies for our gardens.

A few of the many vendors sold used video games, but I wasn't too impressed with the bargains, or lack thereof.

Decidedly Unhappy
At one of the video game stalls, I witnessed the following exchange between a father and his 10 or 11-year-old (I'm estimating) daughter:

  • Father: "This is the one you want?"
  • Daughter: "Yeah. This is the one."
  • Father: "Are you sure? What about that other one?"
  • Daughter: "No way. I played that other one like a thousand times already."
  • Father: "So this one? You're sure?"
  • Daughter: "I'm sure."
  • Father: "Okay."
Father buys game for daughter.

  • Daughter: "Thanks, Daddy!"
Now, if the games they were referring to were, say, Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper, or, say, Katamari Damacy and one of the many Mario games, then it would have been a heartwarming, life-affirming scene, one that I would have written a completely different post about.

But the two games they were talking about were not among the many great kids' games that have been on the market long enough to show up in a third-rate flea market.

Instead, despite the large letter "M" in the bottom left corner of each box, "this one", as referred to above was...

and "that other one", the one she'd already played a thousand times (which means she got it much earlier), was...

It's too late and I'm too tired to go into what this all means, and why it made me so sad and angry. Maybe I'll add it in later, or maybe I'll go with the less-is-more approach on this one, or maybe...

(beware - rant (in the form of a massive run-on-sentence) approaching)

...WTF, people?! I realize that most parents aren't going to be up on all the latest game ratings, and I realize the mainstream media is clueless about video games, but if there's one game that has been splashed all over the TV and newspapers (because that's the game that know-nothing, bandwagon-hopping, sensationalist, if-it-bleeds-it-leads "journalists" focus on as the poster child of the evil that videogames do), one game that every parent should know not to buy for their kids, it's G! T! freakin' A!

Good night!

Oh, and Happy freakin' Father's Day!! :(

EDIT: OK. I've calmed down a little. Hysterical ranting aside, if this sad little episode doesn't drive home the need for more education (for parents) and less demonization (of video games), I don't know what does.


  • ...

    Wow. I got nothing. I played Nancy Drew and Katamari Damacy with my kids this weekend.

    I mean....really?

    There are only two games that non-gamers know of as household names...Doom and GTA. I think the fact that the father didn't know that she'd played the other game is a dead giveaway. Part of me wants to assume he's a father with part-time custody (since I've seen this indirectly...but my relatives usually ask me when in doubt).

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 6:09 AM  

  • I couldn't believe what I was watching. I've seen plenty of parent/child discussions in the EB Games and Best Buys of the world, where the parent wants buy My Little Pony or Super Chess Advance or some such game, and the kids wants a game for older kids, teens, etc.

    But I've never seen it play out with Grand Theft Auto, especially with a full year of Hot Coffee, subsequent legislation efforts, and the accompanying press conferences behind us.

    As for the dad, part-time or full-time, he clearly needs to be spending more time understanding what his kids are playing.... especially when he's the one buying the damn things for them!

    By Blogger Dan, at 3:36 PM  

  • mabey insted of being so consumed on how bad the game is, you shoulf realise that it is infact, a GAME. why does one play a game? to have fun. if a little girl wants to shoot someone in a game, good for her. does that mean that she is going to go out and buy a shot gun, tear through the city in a ferrari, then let loose on the city? NO.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:07 PM  

  • Once again, someone reads a linked post on Kotaku or Joystiq (both of which I read every day, btw), and completely misinterprets what this blog is all about.

    This post was about one particular instance of a parent buying a particular game for a child.

    Read my defense of the "T" rated Ratchet & Clank as a good game for kids to understand where I'm coming from, then see if your comment makes any sense at all there, quickdraw.

    Hell, if you even read the bolded paragraph at the end of this post, you wouldn't have come to the conclusion that you did.

    Please take more than 1.5 seconds to read and understand where someone is coming from before going off on a misguided rant.

    By Blogger Dan, at 7:41 PM  

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