When I first started playing LOTRO, my kid’s ages were 10, 8, 6 and 4 years. In those days, they had a fairly strict bedtime of 8:00 in order to maximize both their sleep time and my wife and I’s sanity. Thanks to this rule, I was able to put off playing video games until afterwards. It was convenient for me to be able to completely separate video game time from family time, as I was very cognizant of the fact that my kids were growing up quickly, and I didn’t want to be distracted from spending quality time with them, especially for something as trivial as my own personal entertainment.
Father’s Day was this past weekend, and I’ve only recently become aware over the past ten years or so how tricky these types of family holidays have become. In the “good old days”, I used to find a suitable greeting card for my parents, and possibly try and do something nice for them (like pick up my room) in order to show my gratitude and love towards them. That was pretty much as complicated as it got. Then came social media, and it became an even greater expression of appreciation to share your feelings towards your loved ones with your entire sphere of influence and beyond.
On the most recent edition of the Couch Podtatoes podcast, Izlain and Eri discussed several questions that have been floating around the blogosphere recently. Two of them that were chosen for discussion interested me quite a bit, and I feel that they’re somewhat related. One question was: What is your longest continuous gaming session. The other, do you have any regrets related to gaming.
First off, thanks to Noctua over at Gamers Decrypted (one of my new favorite blogs) for reaching out to me on this topic. It’s always flattering when someone expresses the desire to collaborate, and especially so when the source is someone of such high quality. Gamers Decrypted is a fairly new site, so be sure to add it to whatever tracking mechanism you currently use!
The topic of discussion today is the effects of gaming. Or, more accurately, the effects of the media we consume, gaming included. When Noctua first approached me, she floated the idea of censorship as a topic, and I notice that while her post hints at the need for some kind of control (be it internal or external), it never uses the word ‘censorship’ at all. There’s a good reason for that. The word is so heavy with negative political and social connotations that it can no longer be used in a positive support role. That is, unless you’re talking about self-censorship, which seems to be much more acceptable. In our western culture, the idea of someone else telling us what we can and can’t do or say is so abhorrent that the very language surrounding it has been fallen victim to, well, self-censorship!
Ever since I played the first #Lego Star Wars game, I’ve been impressed by the ability of the franchise to merge intuitiveness, humor and interesting gameplay mechanics into recognized IP, while simultaneously building up their own brand to toddlers and adults alike. I’m also a big advocate of making sure the “big business” of video games doesn’t forget about kids it it’s quest for the almighty dollar. So it was with great excitement that I opened my inbox to find an invitation to the new Lego #Minifigures Online closed beta this past weekend.
Last week, the national headlines in the US centered around the unthinkable. A pair of twelve year old girls attempted the brutal slaying of a friend and classmate in order to impress a fictional internet character. Not being a fan of that genre of entertainment, I have to admit that the “Slenderman” character, along with such horror sites as Creepypasta Wiki were all completely new to me. But as a parent, its influence on this pair of children (who will be tried as adults, it seems) is frightening. I can’t imagine sending my daughter to something as innocuous as a sleep-over party and the next day visiting her in the hospital, not because of any type of accident, but due to a pre-meditated senseless attack by those who she considered friends. The mere possibility chills me.
Despite the abundance of MMO’s on the market today, one constantly hears about the “aging MMO player base” and the speculation on how that will affect the development of MMO’s in the coming years. MMO gamers in their 30’s and 40’s are typically harnessed by time constraints which leads to a more casual play-style. Casual play demands goals that are more attainable with less time invested. Meanwhile, the younger player base becomes frustrated by the simplification of a game that can no longer hold their attention for more than a couple of weeks, and starts turning towards the instant gratification and re-playability of MOBA’s, further contributing to the “aging MMO player base”, and placing the MMO’s we know and love in danger of eventual extinction.
However, I may have a solution.