Am I just too conservative for the video games that are out there now?
I feel so much like a parent 50 years ago who would say, “That rock ‘n roll! It’s just a bad influence on our children!”
My son showed me a game on the PS4 that is on a free trial this week. He liked it because the setting is San Francisco. He showed me what his character can do:
- Hack into someone’s phone so he can steal money from their bank account,
- Hijack most any car (I think it depended on how much security the car had),
- Carjack a car (easier than hijacking as you just throw the driver out and ride away),
- Hack into a company to steal their records and just mess with stuff,
- Hack into a big sign in the mountains (like the Hollywood sign) and change what it says.
That was all I remember (I think I blocked it out after that … or maybe I blacked out). I honestly wasn’t sure I wanted to know more about the game.
Some time back, a friend showed me a video game his son was really into. I think it was called Roller Coaster Tycoon. You basically built roller coasters but you also ran the theme park. You learned:
- How to build things (sure, it’s all digital, but still),
- How to run a theme park (a business),
- How to deal with unhappy customers,
- How to spend money (where did the park need repairs? what were customers asking for? etc.),
- How to earn money, how to price products,
Am I just too boring and old school to think that this game where you’re stealing, hijacking, hacking and learning, well, to put it bluntly, how to be a loser criminal is a fun game?
My son also has some game where he has to find treasures, read maps and discover tips and clues. Yes, he does shoot people (and kill them) now and again, but at least there’s some story to it. Would I rather that he play the latest Dora the Explorer Spelling Bee? Sure, but he’s a boy, he’s now a teenager and “all of my friends play it” unfortunately does pull some weight.
If he mixed the two games referenced above, he wouldn’t bother with all of that boring stuff about making better products and keeping the customers happy, he’d just rob them. Maybe it’d be easier to just hack into their phones and hack their bank accounts. I don’t know.
Did Rock ‘n Roll ruin the kids of past generations? Maybe their parents thought so, I don’t know.
P.S. Needless to say, we ain’t buyin’ no San Francisco game, dear son as much as you like walking through Dolores Park. In fact, said my wife, it makes it all even worse because it makes it even more like real life because we used to live there and know all of those sites … where you’re robbing the locals (i.e. robbing ourselves).