Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Gamer Gene

Of all the things to pass on to our kids, this is the gene I least suspected to come from DNA.

When I was a little girl and my brother a little boy, my dad bought us our very first game system. It was brand new, cost a whopping $99, and was the finest thing my little brother had ever laid eyes on. It was called Nintendo. Probably around the same time, my future husband and his little brother were getting their first Nintendo. My brother excelled at Mario Brothers, I at Duck Hunt, and my One True Love at Zelda. Eventually I realized that I was just not a Gamer, at least not with those kinds of games, and I took on the role of Official Navigator to my brother, once those cheater magazines were published with full maps of all the secrets and enemies and shortcuts for each level of a game. I remained the Navigator through Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64, and whatever came between. Bizarro Dad was a hard core gamer in his own right. And when my husband and I married, I was his Navigator for various Zelda games. I left him to his own devices for the more violent stuff, like Doom.

It was not until I was a married woman that the dormant Gamer Trait became active, when I discovered The Sims on my computer, along with Pop Cap games offered free on Yahoo Games. So yeah, now I'm a Gamer, sort of. I like Zuma and Twistingo, Text Twist and Online Dominoes. But I do not let these games consume my life, as Guild Wars does to my husband. (Hello, if anything consumes my life, it's BLOGS.)

So. My husband has the Gamer Gene. I possess the trait. I was not aware that these things were even part of the DNA sequence until this month, when my four-year-old daughter began clamoring to play with her favorite Christmas gift, the V. Tech "V. Smile" video game learning system for kids ages 3-7. This child will park her little Moon chair in front of the TV and play Dora the Explorer for long periods of time, sometimes asking for help with a hard part. She's getting much better at controlling the toggle, too. I look over at her and sigh. I know it's a "learning game," and that she's using her skills at counting, matching colors and shapes, identifying animals, etc. But still. She's sitting there, slack jawed, staring at the TV. Gaming.

What have I passed on to my child?


Cowboy said...

Psh. I know what you mean. All I have to do is load the "Dora the Explorer" CD into the computer, and my 2-yr old daughter will dominate the computer for the next two hours. Scary thing is how good at it she is.

PreppyGirl said...

I was smacked by this reality a couple of weeks ago when my 4 yr old started showing ME how to use a computer game in her pre-school room. Before I could ask her if she needed help with the mouse she was maneuvering all over the screen. When did this happen? When I was her age, Pong was about the extent of it.