I guess it makes sense that Nintendo.com has pictures that makes me want to buy a third one.
Isn't it funny how we easily get caught in a trap of thinking that, because things have been a certain way for awhile, that is how they will stay? For years and years and years, Atari games were a dime a dozen at yard sales. NES games were everywhere, and a copy of Contra was $5 to $10 tops. Final Fantasy VII and Symphony of the Night were both twenty bucks new everywhere. Collecting N64 and Atari Jaguar games seemed like a silly idea. PS2 games were never, ever going away.
And before that a Coke was a nickel and gas was a quarter and yada yada, I get it. Different times.
My point; How many of us are kicking themselves for not buying that complete Earthbound from Blockbuster, or those last few Saturn games like Panzer Dragoon Saga and Burning Rangers on clearance? Wish we knew then what we knew now, right? Queue the classic discussion about time machines and grabbing retro video games.
Continue reading PSA: Now Would Be The Time To Collect For Wii U
If you're as old as I am, go take a nap. Are you back yet? Sorry, I didn't want you falling asleep while reading, as folks our age tend to do. I may have yet to hit the big four-oh, but it feels like the world is a different place than in my youth, and it sure is spinning faster these days. Yeah, when you've been into video games this long, you see quite a few things change over time.
For example, it doesn't seem like too long ago that once a game was released, it was as simple as walking into any major retailer to nab a copy. Sure there have always been obscure titles with small print runs, but preordering felt like an extravagance, online retailers felt like they had unlimited inventory, and unless you were importing or looking for a game more than a few years old, most relatively modern games seemed pretty easy to get. Although I do remember the challenge of trying to ask for Katamari Damacy at a GameStop during the week of release (or just explaining what the game was.)
Continue reading Gaming Retail Ain't What It Used To Be
I wrote recently that I've been playing my iPhone n lieu of consoles lately, and while the quality of a few addictive titles are partially to blame, that's not the entire story.
I have three kids, and the oldest is three. For the first two years of his life, I wasn't really worried about playing games around him; I usually only play for a few hours during the week, and he hardly paid it any attention anyway.
But that changed around the time our LAN group got into Borderlands. He would occasionally watch us play, and while the game is certainly violent, the cartoon-esque cell shading art style and goofiness (money springing out of bodies, overblown physics, nutty characters) lend a certain Tom and Jerry Saturday morning cartoon aspect that I thought was probably harmless.
One day while pumping a skag full of SMG rounds, little Zachary looked visibly upset and began shouting, "Ow, kitty! Ow, kitty!" over and over. I paused and looked at him, all serious and staring at the screen, and knew my M-Rated gaming before bedtime was over. If my little guy can empathize with a scraggly vertical-mouthed cartoon hyena critter with red ovals for eyes, I wasn't going to risk how he'd take anything vaguely human-like.
My already limited game time would have to take a backseat to responsible parenting.
Even now, despite not having any handgun type toys, he still builds them out of Lego blocks and audibly pretends to shoot his younger brothers, me and Amy, the TV, the snowblower, and various Thomas the Tank Engines. Usually in the face. Or engine, in Thomas' case.
I've worked in video game retail for nearly a decade, and there is a scenario that always sickens me:
*me staring at five year old, then up to mother*
"Ma'am, we have to inform you that this game is M rated for-"
*I look at ESRB label on the back of the box*
"-Extreme violence, blood and gore, graphic sexual content, nudity, dismemberment, constant swearing, nun beating, pornography, and the ability to intentionally set your physical game console on fire internally."
*mother gets a frown on her face for a fraction of a sentence*
*mother then looks down at little wide-eyed Timmy,*
"Oh well, he plays it at his friends' house anyway, we'll take it."
Perhaps it bothers me even more when, due to store policy mind you, I mention the ESRB rating and the parents wave me off before finishing or even get annoyed at me for saying anything.
Now I'm not saying I'm a better parent that anyone, just that a parent should be the one held responsible for the diet of media their children consume. I do wonder how many five year-olds are playing Heavy Rain, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto IV, and God of War because the parents are clueless. Do I have the right to tell them what their kids can play? No. I can disagree, and that's where my parenting for my own kids comes in. But how many kids get free passes because of absurd reasons like, 'he'll see it at a friend's house,' or 'he'll see it on the news one day anyway.' ? In my opinion, that's saying 'I let the moral standards of other people dictate what my child is exposed to and learns from.'
And it is their right, of course, and I'm not arguing that. But it does bug me. Which is my right too.
Do violent games cause violent acts? That's another topic entirely, and beyond the scope and point of this little entry.
So when can Zachary play Halo? Well, I'm not sticking to an arbitrary age. I know the psychological generalizations of what ages are typically acceptable, but I prefer to observe my own kids and trust them when I think they are ready. Maybe it will be at seven or eight. Maybe twelve. Fifteen. Maybe he'll have a terrible habit of decapitating Lego men in the Sega CD 2 tray, and I'll just wait till he's out of my house. But I think it's my responsibility to pay attention and make that determination. And based on his current habits of pistol-whipping his two year-old brother with a stuffed Pikachu, I think he has a few more years to go before Call of Duty.
So sorry Bioshock 2, AVP, Dante's Inferno, Modern Warfare 2, Dead Space Extraction, and Left for Dead 2. You'll have to wait until after 9:30 P.M., at least for now. I knew what I was getting into when I said, "wait, THAT's how we get kids?!"
And I wouldn't trade 'em for anything. Even the ability to finally finish my 5000+ backlog.