The Ever-Growing World of Video Gaming

My dad bought my brother and me an Atari games console when we were kids. That illustrates just how old I am!



Video games = best thing ever

Of course, it was the best thing ever at the time and we had hours of fun on it, but even we soon got bored of watching two vertical white sticks bouncing a white dot back and forth.

Endless games of pong, hockey and target practice soon lost their appeal and before long, the old wooden clad device, joysticks and chunky games cartridges were relegated to that great toy cupboard in the sky - AKA the attic.

I can honestly say we never really bothered much with video games after that.

Gadgets have come so far

Apart from the Atari, there wasn't really much on offer in the way of home-based gadgets, so we just used to enjoy playing on the odd arcade pub game or fruit machine if we were lucky.

If only we'd known then how huge home video gaming would become.

Now, when I look at my 12 and 7 year old kids playing on their iPad, smartphone or computer, I can't help wishing that home gaming had never been introduced. Or at least hadn't risen so monumentally high in popularity.

Nobody looks up anymore

I love to see my kids having fun and enjoying themselves, but the intense draw of picking up a device every spare minute is palpable in our house at the moment, and it's often a battle to get them to put the things down.

After a horrible incident recently where I found myself having to physically wrestle an iPhone out of my son's hands, my husband and I have had to implement a programme of 'no gadget time'. This can take various forms and be behaviour related; all day if we have other plans or want to spend some family time together; or just a few hours whilst they complete homework or have friends and family over.

This usually works fine, but I still always get the feeling they would rather be swiping candy across a screen or blowing up zombies than enjoying a game of Scrabble or running about in the park!

I'm (probably) not without blame

I have to confess that I have probably made things worse myself too. With the introduction of my own iPad at Christmas, I've only added to the temptation.

Now, in total, we have in the house: two laptops, an iPad, two smartphones, a DS and a Wii - all of which have to be hidden or declared out of bounds if we are having our 'no gadget' day. It's tiring!

An interesting paradox to all this is when I feel like picking up my own iPad to play a game and I feel guilty. What the heck is that all about? Within seconds, either one or both my kids have stealthily sidled up to me and are watching me mindlessly fire squawking birds across the screen.


Before I know it, I've passed the device on to them to carry on with my game on my iPad whilst I assume my correct position back at the washing machine doing what I was meant to be doing in the first place, because I feel like a hypocrite!

Erm, something is very wrong there, but I don't even know what it is. Proof these gadgets scramble your brain in a way you can't even fathom! Surely this means they are subliminally consuming our brains bit by bit?

Games are here to stay

Joking aside, of course video games are here to stay and that's fine, but I do wish there just weren't so many.

Apart from the aforementioned device-free time, I suppose the only other option is to download more intelligent, quick thinking games and play only those when the kids are looking.

Would that include Papa's Burgeria, I wonder?

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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