Saturday, September 24, 2011

being the grown up

The other night I could not sleep. That in and of itself is worthy of a post--I can always sleep. I was never a night-owl; was one of those (rare?) kids that begged to go to bed and never pestered for a drink of water. But I wander from my purpose.

I could not sleep so, of course, I turned to the Internet to relieve my boredom. Twitter led me to a sight called and an article entitled "5 ways to Tell You're Getting Too Old for Video Games".  I freely admit to visiting Twitter, but the other, never before my 3:00 a.m. foray--blame it on a Roger Ebert tweet. I don't even play video games except for an occasional bout of Wii and of course Plants VS Zombies... But, getting back to the article--it was what it was, nevertheless, part of it stuck with me and I decided to post what I thought.

The author wrote about how he was feeling old because of how video gaming had changed since he was a young gamer. He talked about missing "storylines that were actually compelling" and gave an instance of his children playing a particular game and said "I watch my kids play games now that barely have a story at all, yet they're transfixed.  It's almost like they're seeing something I'm not." He goes on to tell about how his kids got into playing Grand Theft Auto in a very imaginative way and then he wrote "Wait a second. Is it possible that those old games did not do anything magical with their programming to create "immersion", and that, like my kids with GTA, I "immersed" myself in those games because I was playing them at a time before I was dead inside?" He goes on to say "I can play a zombie game now and I just see a bunch of boring, repetitive enemies. My kids can't even be in the same room with me--they find those games terrifying because they're imagining themselves in the game, fighting the zombies."

I think he got the part where his kids find the zombies terrifying right, but the "dead inside" bit was where he went wrong. Grown ups get bored with the zombies because we are desensitized. We have to be. We have to be the ones to kill the cockroaches, shoo the spiders and lizards outside and keep the creatures that dwell under the beds----not to mention the real world bogeymen at bay. If we were still afraid of the zombies--if we still saw them as real, then we couldn't give our kids (or our friends kids or our nieces and nephews) the reassurance of a place to go when they have bad dreams. We are not dead inside. We are just grown ups. We want to protect our darling little ones from the imaginary evils and the real evils for as long as possible. Childhood *is* full of magic because there is so much that kids have not yet learned. They are still trying to make sense of the larger, mysterious adult world that they are growing into. For a while, they still believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, so, yeah, the zombies are real.

So that's what I ran across one night a while back when I couldn't sleep. Not particularly profound (pretty random actually) but I want to get back in the habit of posting...
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