Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baby & Game

Whenever me and the bf have some free time, we pretty much use it to game. We do watch the occasional series or in my case write a bit (reading has unfortunately been put on the back burner for now) but for the most part we try to get some game time in. It's funny how we try to maximally utilize the baby sleep time by pretty much cutting out anything remotely irrelevant and cram in more game time. Make tea? No time. Go to the bathroom? Not now! God forbid he falls asleep while we're out. Run home and maybe there is still time for some minutes of gaming! This is not the actions of addicts, but of gaming deprived individuals (that's what I'm sticking with at least).

Which is why I don't play sim-games -

It's inevitable however that we go bold enough to try and do something gaming related while the little guy is awake. As much as I love playing "spin the shiny thing", "rattle the plastic thing" or "bang the hard thing", every now and then you need a break from those thrilling games and do something mommy wants to do. This is when the hunt for baby entertainment begins. And I've made some nice discoveries.

Growing up owning a Nintendo 64, I was one of the people who never liked it when other people said that Nintendo only made "kids games" like it was a bad thing. They didn't get it all wrong however. The N64 games are perfectly suited for infants and toddlers!

Watching a Let's Play of Banjo & Kazooie, a game I always liked but found way too difficult for myself to ever finish, I noticed how my little son (currently 8 months old) loved to watch it with me. And not just Banjo & Kazooie, but pretty much anything with big, colorful sprites/figures and not too quick movements. The whole mid-90's segment of video gaming is filled with games that fill that criteria - games like Croc, Spyro, Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose and Lester the Unlikely. These are examples of games at least my kid thinks are absolutely hilarious to watch, often having him even laugh out loud at the funny sound effects and animations (or whatever it is that amuses him, I don't actually know!).

Giant carrots are hilarious to a baby -

My bf who is a massive Sonic fan was also happy to notice that our son loves to watch him play Sonic. At least Green Hill Zone and definitely the bonus stage - especially in Sonic & Knuckles (I guess he likes the "booap booap" sound effect the balloons do). He snaps his head towards any direction he hears the Sonic tune from, his entire face turning expectant, hoping to see some Sonic action.

In non-gaming but still baby-related news we've also managed to identify at least two songs he enjoys listening to, not counting all the actually-designed-for-children-but-nauseating-for-adult-tunes he likes;
Psy - Gentleman, which almost always silences him when he's cranky and
James Blunt - You're Beautiful, maybe that is mostly because of how horribly highpitched the bf tries to sing along.

Me and the bf have discussed how we want to introduce video gaming to our son, when the day comes that he actually wants to play some himself. He is already curiously investigating our controllers (admittedly he is curiously investigating pretty much anything at the moment) and it's not too far off before he hopefully wants to give gaming a try. We both feel that starting out on the older consoles could be a good thing, as the games often are straight forward and designed with small children in mind - Sonic again as an example. Really older games, talking about NES here, might be a bit too unforgiving and difficult for a really small child to enjoy (or maybe that's just my impatient ass who thinks that, the kids back in the 80'd didn't complain!), but the SNES/Mega Drive era could be perfect for a small kid to start with (although in all honesty a lot of those games are pretty tricky as well).

This is where anger is born -

Maybe the most important thing I hope to teach him is a respect for where gaming is coming from and different styles of designs - a time when instant satisfaction and reward wasn't as prevalent as it is today. Just looking at my own gaming experiences I can see how the instant gratification system has affected me. I don't want to be one of those people who needs a game to be super fun the first 10 min or throw it out, and I don't want my son to be like that either. It's always easy to think you'll do things one way of course, but we'll see how easy it is to put into practice once we get there. Most likely it is something that'll come naturally. Either he will show an interest for the old consoles or he won't. I just hope I can fill his head with some classics before he gets to the age where he feels the need to play whatever his friends are playing. I have really fond memories of watching my mom play games and I hope I can share the same thing with my son.

It'll be very interesting to see what kind of games he eventually enjoys playing, as me and the bf are quite different in tastes. He likes the late 80's-early 90's console platforming games the best and I prefer the late 90's-early 00's pc games the best. It'd be funny if he decided to fill out some genres currently unrepresented in our household - racing and sports games. Time will tell.


  1. Until we inherited a Wii a couple of years ago, our console gaming was limited to old 2600 and Intellivision games. Given that those old consoles were built like tanks, this worked out well for us in letting our kids play them. The drawback was that true multiplayer games for a group was limited to Warlords, but it was balanced by being able to play Adventure and the old Advanced Dungeons and Dragons games with my kids.

    They do have their own tastes in games --they love LOTRO while I'm pretty much okay with it-- but that's a good thing. I'm sure your munchkin will prove to be the same.

    1. Hah, that's really cool! Bet none of the other kids will know what they're talking about when they tell them about their video game experiences, but the parents might. That is indeed another factor I hadn't really considered, the cartridge based consoles can of course handle the rough treatment of a small child a lot better than the modern consoles and their cd games can. Currently my most recent console is the ps2 anyway (not counting handhelds), although I am looking at getting a WiiU hopefully sometime this year, so I guess my kid doesn't have much choice but play older games atm either.

  2. I love that you're putting so much thought into how you're going to introduce your bub to games! I knew that eventually one day I'd want to introduce Liam (Now five) to games, but I really hadn't thought that far ahead. Then, one day on vacation with family, one of his aunts took the liberty of introducing him to Angry Birds on the iPad. Cue an obsession with all things touch screen.

    Now that he's older he wants to play computer games like mummy and daddy, so he has a Club Penguin membership -- something that he saved up his measly $1 a week pocket money to purchase for himself. You just can't go wrong with combining a love of video games with fiscal responsibility! :P

    Great post, Zinn!

    1. Thank you!
      The whole touch screen interest is probably inevitable in this day and age. We don't own any pads (yet), but do have smartphones which already interest him a lot of course. So cute of him to save his little allowance! I really hope my son will do something like that, you're right that it's the perfect opportunity to motivate a child to learn moneys worth and saving for something :)

  3. Zinn

    I cannot believe your little guy is already 8 months old, seems like you were just telling us about having him a month or two ago.

    I used to play on the old Genesis system (over here at least) with my kid when he was younger and it can be a lot of fun. It can also be extremely frustrating for them (and us as well) when they are just learning the games and positioning/targeting/timing/etc has to be perfect and they just can't get it to sync.

    Anyway, I enjoy hearing about you little guy and how he likes playing with you and the bf. Wishing you all well.

    1. I know right, time really flies and he is soon 1 year old. That is crazy because it does feel like just the other day when we went to the hospital to have him. I know my dad always said we grew up too fast, now I know what he means.

      Indeed the older games can be quite unforgiving, it wasn't all better back then. I recall when visiting my bfs mother, they had a 8 year old there trying to play Sonic, and he just couldn't understand how to get past the first stage without dying. I myself am terribly bad at anything older than mid 90's, I didn't grow up playing those games and never learned the patience and perseverance needed ^^
      Thank you so much for commenting!

  4. I think your addiction is awful and subjecting our child to this form of neglect so you can play computer games, especially looking at both you and your partners twitter account how many hours you play games just shows how little time you spend with your child, I hope you get reported to child services. the fact he is only 8 months old and you are already trying to get him to play computer games is disgusting, try playing football or going outside that's what children want and need not to be ignored and put in front of a computer screen for hours on end.

    1. Thank you very much for your concern! Neglected children are a very real thing, and it breaks my heart to think about it. I agree with you that everything needs to be done in moderation, video gaming is definitely a part of that.

      Now I don't feel any need to excuse myself to you, but I will clarify some things to make sure no one needs to misunderstand anything - going around being angry about things needlessly is bad.

      This is primarily a video game blog and such I will focus on the video game part of my life. Unfortunately that means I don't talk much about everything else we do - going to swim classes, going to sing groups, going out playing, playing with toys at home, reading, painting - all of these things that make up 98% of my sons day I deem irrelevant for this blogs content. Since me and my bf have the opportunity to both stay at home with him I believe my son is probably more fortunate than many children when it comes to getting time with their parents - we can split chores between us and always have someone to entertain him.

      When it comes to my son video gaming it is one of the many things he is interested in, as children are at this age they are curious about everything. I will indulge him to investigate most things around him under supervision, I believe that is how he learns about things around him the best way.

      Thank you for your comment!

    2. You're welcome, I'm glad to know the truth now it just sounded alot worse, I will continue to support your twitter/blog and youtube channel now this has been rectified

    3. I'm happy to hear that, and I understand where you were coming from. It's perhaps an unfortunate side-effect of writing to make things sound more interesting for entertainment purposes.

  5. Heh, i actually finished turtles - once.

    How active are you of late - in regards to blogging compared to when you started WoW blogging?
    Be a sport and drop by here: Linky here - calling all bloggers
    I'm doing a writeup to see how many WoW bloggers are still "active" - if you'd be interested in a link exchange, just let me know, it'd be good for some extra pageviews ^,^

    1. Oh I am much less active now than during my heyday - I used to churn out a post a day for more than a year when I was at my busiest. I calmed down a bit some years back and since I stopped playing WoW a year ago I've also pretty much stopped writing about WoW unfortunately. I did write a post on the decline of WoW-bloggers myself I think, that's a long time ago now though, it's been going on for quite some time sadly enough.