Sunday, February 25 , 2018, 5:48 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 

She Said, Z Said: What Vidiot Got My Kid Hooked on StarCraft II?

Whether you're game, or just lame, boring repetition gets added credits in an alternate reality

Z: My name is Zak, and my child has a problem with a video game.

She: Tell me about it.

Z: Who knew? He’s never had one before. He used to play a game for a little while, get bored with it, and go back to reading. Or, he’d watch a TV show for a while, get bored with it, and go back to reading.

She: The perfect child.

Z: Yes, but only because of perfect parenting.

She: Humility, darling. Humility.

Z: Sorry. Sometimes I forget. But now — he’s a StarCraft II junkie.

She: If he had to pay for it, I think he’d be knocking off liquor stores.

Z: If he could mainline it with a plug straight into his brain, he’d get the shunt installed.

She: I see his mouse finger twitching in the middle of the night, video fueled dreams of killing aliens.

Z: Protoss and Zerglings.

She: Excuse me?

Z: Not aliens — Protoss and Zerglings. Which, I suppose are aliens. But I’m not sure they’d like to be called that.

She: Uh-huh.

Z: You see, the StarCraft II universe is inhabited by humans, Protoss and Zerglings. Players can choose which race to be, and each of the different species offers different powers and abilities.

She: Gee, I wonder where Koss got his video game problem from?

Z: I’ll own it. Absolutely. I’ve had the video game monkey on my back. But I think the difference is that most of the games I’ve played have either had a clear ending, or they get boringly repetitive at some point.

She: Like when you press the start button.

Z: Says the Solitaire queen.

She: I took it off my computer six months ago.

Z: Wow. Is that why our income went up this year?

She: Sometimes a little game is a nice break. And sometimes you’ve just got to cut the cord.

Z: The thing that makes StarCraft II a little more insidious — along with all of the online games — is that there are other people involved, so that now the repetitive aspect doesn’t come into play for a much longer time.

She: Pressing the mouse button over and over again looks pretty repetitive to me. Between that and texting, I’m afraid our kid will grow up to be all thumbs.

Z: I don’t want to overstate it, but the online games become much more like chess. He plays this one game where there are five players in a battle with five other players. Strategy and teamwork become constantly changing variables.

She: I think he just likes shooting at things and making them go boom.

Z: There’s that.

She: This is the first piece of media that we’ve had to ration. It never used to be a problem if he watched some TV or played on the computer for a while, because he’d get over it and go back outside to shoot some baskets.

Z: Given my own appreciation for video games, I have a hard time saying no to them. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with moderation. Moderation is good.

She: So are conversation and sleep and homework and exercise.

Z: In moderation.

She: So is pulling the plug.

Z: Again, I like computer games. But I’m also struggling to find the value in them. I know that books, movies and TV are all called passive entertainment, but at least there are stories. I’m not sure what the value in interactive games is.

She: You get to learn lots of bad words and be called bad names by adult kids from around the world.

Z: I’ve seen that there are also plenty of nice people playing.

She: Please don’t tell me you’re playing StarCraft now.

Z: No. But there is some value to thinking strategically and learning to work in a team.

She: Perfect training for the next intergalactic war.

Z: I’m wondering if there are any other values or skills that come out of the game play itself?

She: I guess we’ll find out if we’re ever attacked by the Zertoss.

Z: Protoss.

She: Yes, dear.

— Share your video game views with She and Z at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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