Why I'm Raising My Kids With The Same Video Games I Had When I Was Young
Original Nintendo, Sega Genesis and Gameboy
I remember the the first time I was introduced to video games. It was Christmas 1989 and we just got our first gaming system, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment system). Those things were expensive back then, and it was a group gift for my brother, myself, and when she was old enough, my sister as well. I have fond memories of staying up all hours of the night trying to get to the next world in Mario 3 and collecting rupees in The Legend Of Zelda. Games were simpler back then, and in my opinion, better for kids.
I'm own several radio control helicopters. The remote I use to fly them has two joysticks, and 2 or 3 other buttons...and those things are hard to fly. I remember the first time I picked up an Xbox controller with around 13 buttons and one directional pad. The thing is so complicated that I thought it must be similar technology to what is used to launch NASA shuttles. Turns out my 12-year-old nephew can use it just fine...must just be me.
I remember fondly the days when simple things were fun, and I think that kids miss out on simple things like original Nintendo and Super Mario 2. The problem is, the more complex and technical games get, the more our appetites crave games/toys/whatever that are more complex and technical. It's a cycle that doesn't end. When the Iphone 5 comes out many teens will think that their 4s is no longer any good because a more advanced, complicated model is out with more features. The top of the line device from one year ago becomes a paper weight in favor of something new.
The same thing happens with video games. Are kids really less able to appreciate original Nintendo than they were 20 years ago? Absolutely not. I have a friend who rather than buying her kids the hottest new expensive toys, has always bought the older, more affordable game consoles that still work fine and believe it or not, are just as much fun.
I think there's a value in simple, affordable games for kids that's being lost. The constant flow of newer, more expensive and more complex games that have no finish to them takes up more and more of our kids' time and our money. If my daughter wants video games in a few years when she's old enough, she will be getting a classic Nintendo, just like I did. And I don't mean playing Super Mario 3 on an Android phone using and emulator and roms. Nope, the real thing. I know that she will be able to have tons of fun and never get so lost in the reality of the game that she won't want to come when called for dinner.
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