It is a Multi player game which has the ability to suck life out of a kid and into the computer. They live a parrallel universe. I want to explore my journey of getting him out of this 30cm x 20 cm screen world and into this massive million x million world he has been born into. At the moment he thinks he has been born into this screen world. So, I have given birth to a computer creature!
Some thoughts so far I have for easing him back into ‘our world’
Take him out to eat. At least he has to sit across from a table from you, or next to you on a bench in the park and chew real food, breath real, live air. Will much more likely talk to you without headphones.
Wear the necklace he has made for you. Just like those painted noodle necklaces in kindergarten. Show you like what he does.
If you want to talk to him, don’t try over the headphones. Schedule an exact time. Not after
I took my son to see this, part of the Canadian Film Festival the other week. I half wanted him to be inspired by these dedicated designers into creating his own game. Every parent’s dream to flip their kid from passive to active; from consumer to producer. No such luck. Not inspired. But we did get a good conversation out of the evening, and for a WOW boy that is worth the price of admission.
Apparently they had dne a bit of coding at school; they had to painstakingly type everything from the board, click enter and the program was meant to spring into action. But it didn’t. The teacher swore. The boys jacked it in and Dave lost his enthusiasm for coding. And now is considering plumbing instead.
The gamers featured were both loners, who were reliving and reworking their teen angst into an experience that people could PLAY, play the angst, play what I went through. PLAY WITH ME was what it was all saying, very poignantly. The most successful game; ‘Meatboy’ on XBOX features a character with no skin who is looking for his love who is made of bandages, and together they will be complete. Lots of cool splatting noises as he hurls himself up the platforms. The designer keeping people at certain levels to learn the skills required to proceed onto higher levels. Designers like him are more my son’s teachers than those in the classroom.
But no, he wasn’t rushing out to design his own game, but we shared a kebab in the dark of the movies, and he saw people in his world up on the big screen. You never know the effects.
Boys my son’s age are, according to ‘He’ll be OK’; pragmatic, Intuitive, they have a desire to live in the moment, they focus only on what needs to be done and that’s IT. They fear failure; indeed, some think that it is better not to try rather than to try and fail. Their only seemingly acceptable emotion is anger; which WOW channels very well into a series of furious keyboard clicks and wild expletives. They feel emotions, but they don’t want to talk about it.Maybe they are looking for lost Dads, lost families inside the interminable chambers of WOW.
I read the adage; ‘mates before dates, bros before hoes’ and true, WOW is a very male cult, not many girls in there (though my son once had a thirty year old woman who he gamed with who was quite taken by him and would buy him gifts etc) and if they are there, they are a bit of an oddity, but are hunted down to play with anyway.
They learn horizontally; no, not like that, but with their peers of the same age.
We parents are meant to show them a bridge, even though they don’t want to be on a pathway; they so are in WOW, lead along these blizzard created paths
We are meant to hold them steady at school. Hold steady. He doesn’t give a sheet of elfin armour about school. His school is the school of warfare of WOW.
Is there unemployment in WOW? No, it doesn’t exist, everyone has a job; either a healer, Damager or Tank. the last two are agressive roles and the healer cleans up their mess, their collateral damage so to speak. Every WOW mother has this conversation with their son; going something like this; “But what are you going to DO in life?! By opting out of school you are not learning the skills you will need in the real world!” To which my son replies; “I don’t care, I’ll just go on the dole.” And because I know I have to relate everything back to HIS real world, which is WOW, I ask innocuously; “Is there the dole in WOW?” and he admits that there is not. So, I say in a parry of desperate logic; if there is no dole in WOW, and everyone has a role or job, why would you want to opt out of life and exist on the dole? (And I mentioned a lot about hard working tax payers) Basically, I am relating everything moral that comes up to WOW; if WOW doesn’t have it why should you embrace it in the real world. Which denies his underground cunning logic; if he did go on the dole at 18, he would have more time to stay at home and play WOW, where society works!
I asked my son if there was music in WOW and he said, yes, there was, but it was really gay plinkety plonkety tinny music. Nobody listened to it. I suggested then that his friend who had been listenong annoyingly over the headphones the other night had just been trying to add some musical ambiance to the dead air of WOW. And David said nooo, not really he was just trying to peeve everyone off. Which is why I need to get i-phone speakers pronto and make the house echo with the biggest variety of good music to cancel out WOW sterility …. a desert of sound, except the death rattle of key clicks and that language.. that amazing WOW language that I will leave for another post.
we went to Aikido the other night. The lessons were free for the first time. The boys got right into it. David did all the exercises; having to run past a swishing stick, being pelted by balls and having to dodge them by holding onto his ‘hari’. or his spirirtual centre; which is found 3 fingers underneath your belly button. This was him actually physically, listening to an Aikido master and testing his strength or ‘ki’ against real people. I want him to continue towork with real people. Even though he and his friend scoffed at the shabby scout hall setting, the swiftness with which they engaged in the class, said otherwise about their hunger to be accepted and taught by older men and boys who were all too willing to help with our two. Does the WOW world enable them to be so so picky about the people they interract with? David says that it is skills based. He will play with people who are good players. So I lead him to the idea that in the real world it is like this too. If you don’t get the game of learning right, you don’t get to play with people of your level later on and you are stuck in the boring levels of society with not as many options. That the skills he has learnt in WOW; the hard work, the dedication can be transferred to other actitities.. like Aikido.
Today we went grocery shopping and he was really nice and helpful. As WOW playing does curb his appetite (he generally forgets to eat or drink while playing it) he only asked for two things; some mango yoghurt and a bulk pack of steak meat. He was very handy working out the prices , getting the trolley and loading and unloading it. He then helped me carry the groceries up and cooked his own steak (slightly too much!). We did ordinary things together, out of his fantasy world. He knows how to communicate to get a task done. The task of buying food also with its own rules; the trolley, the choosing (not so hard with the limited choice of ALDI) the queuing, the vigilant placing of the divider between people’s shopping loads. He is so good at following rules in his 30 by 20 world, but in there he buys gems and armour, not mundane tins of baked beans. I like him going shopping with me. I do not want to separate him from ordinary grocery shopping and tasks.