“Get that guy! Nice shot! These phrases along with other yells and screams have been the background noise of my home this summer.
Video games are driving me crazy!
For some reason, when my sons have friends over, video games become the immediate entertainment. I know there is some benefit: it must help with hand eye coordination. There may even be skill involved. It’s just that there so much noise from the soundtrack of the games and from kids screaming at the screen that it makes me insane. Then, there’s the arguing about who gets the control next and who had the highest score.
It’s not only the actual playing into the wee hours of the night that’s driving me crazy. It’s the content, too.
Video games have been at the center of conflict between me and my sons this summer. Recently, my 14 year-old-son, Garret, and I had a battle at GameStop. He wanted to buy an M-rated video game and needed my permission. I asked the guy who works there why the game is rated M. He explained it is because of the extreme violence and scantily clad women with big breasts jiggling committing destructive acts of terror. We left the store without the game!
The next day, I overhead my son plotting with his now 18-year-old brother, Jake, to take him to GameStop. It sent me on a rampage, screaming at my sons and asking why these games need to be so violent and why they need to feature half-naked women . I have to give it to Jake, he explained it to me in terms I could easily understand. “Mom, their target market is horny 18-year-old boys!”
Action games with big battles are incredibly exciting, but it seems like the video game industry assumes girls don’t play them. There are not many female heroes in games. In a lot of video games, the default character is a guy. If you want to play as a female character, it’s not easy. Often you have to pay. That makes me furious. My boys don’t seem to be bothered by that — at all.
Last year, when I moved my daughter into her college dorm, I noticed the boys across the hall had not unpacked a single item of clothing or even made up their beds. Instead, they were deeply engrossed in playing Xbox. I recognized the sounds coming from their room: “No way! You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s bullshit!” …. I turned to my daughter and said, “I guess Xbox even follows teens to college!”
Recently, when the sounds of explosions and gunfire from Xbox had give me a giant headache, I told my sons and their friends to go outside and play basketball or good old-fashioned hide and seek. Their response was to continue playing. It seems these all-consuming video games make it difficult to hear a mother’s voice.
Now school starts and we go back to homework and activities, the Xbox will go into hibernation mode. I will miss the lack of routine, but I will not miss the sounds that emanated from my playroom this summer. I realize I can’t fight the video game generation or the superfans the video game developers are targeting, but I can insist that school and homework come first. Most importantly, I have a shot at restoring some peace and quiet at home and I plan to take it. Score one for mom!