The Education of Boys and Their Toys
I’ve got a theory. Actually, I’ve got a lot of theories. None of them are based on any solid facts or research, only my limited 25-year experience as a human.
The theory I will unveil today has to do with video games. You know, those little plastic boxes made in a Pacific Rim country that parents spend hundreds of dollars a year on and their children spend hundreds of hours playing.
I swear with this column as my testament; my children will not own video games. Although I’m sure by the time I do have children they will be able to telepathically play games online or during classes with their classmates. I don’t want these future children to argue ‘“one more round, mom’” or ‘“just until I die’….’” (That should seem like a bad thing, but I’ve heard it many times from my nephews).
And now at some institutions of higher education they are offering a major in electronic art and development (aka video game animation). What? I had some friends who majored in that in college, while earning a minor in partying and pizza. They didn’t last long and were soon continuing their ‘studies’ at home.
Emerging from the first generation of video game fiends I can see the social effects it is having, and more importantly, giving the male an unrealistic view of relationships. I’ve outlined four points to this theory. I’m not expecting it to be taught alongside Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, even though it is a theory of relativity on its own. It will be known as: Cartwright’s Theory of Relationshiptivity.
I am forced to have a sexist and biased opinion on these points because the male of the species is a more frequent user of the video game. And also this is my column so I can write what I want.
Point one: Video games teach boys that something better will always come along. First there was the Nintendo, then the Super Nintendo and then came the Nintendo 64. There is always something better, faster, more graphically enhanced to come along. When Sony’s PlayStation 2 hit America’s shores there was already talk of a PlayStation 3. My question is: Are we teaching the boys to never be satisfied? If ‘Jane’ is cool, then there will be a ‘Jill’ coming by in a few seconds that’s 10 times better, faster, more graphically enhanced (if you know what I mean).
Point 2: The game of life has no reset. Did your car wreck in this round of Gran Turismo? Oh well, just hit reset. You never have to lose anything, your record’s never tarnished. Will they be lead to believe relationships never end, they are only reset? No, that doesn’t work here in the real world.
Point 3: Video game chicks are always total babes. Did you notice Lara Croft’s combat boots in the Tomb Raider games? Of course not, we were all checking out those Spandex shorts and T-shirt. Personally, I’ve always wondered how many outfits like that a superhero has to have in order to always keep one clean in case the world needs saving. But back to point 3. Very few women actually look like the computer-animated characters in the games, and that could be very disappointing to a young man.
Point 4: He who holds the controller controls the game. Not the same as real life. A relationship is a two-way street. Like the hooker in Grand Theft Auto women will not always sleep with you. Lara Croft will not always kick somebody’s butt for you in the real world. The real-life girl is not going to do whatever her man says.
Next time you are in the electronic section of the local discount chain, don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to the pleading offspring locked around your leg. Steer them toward a book or the sporting equipment and do yourselves both a favor.