Sunday, 28 July 2013

It's not all bad.....

I've just found myself daydreaming. I do this quite often when I'm not doing anything in particular. I sit for a few minutes and just lose myself in the make-believe land in my mind. Each time it's different than the last. For those of you who have read Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree, it's a bit like the magical land at the top of the tree. You never know what you're going to see up there!

What was I seeing this time? My 3 eldest children playing on the Xbox. To be more precise, playing Minecraft on the Xbox. Hang on, I'll be even more precise, they were building magnificent castles, fortresses, houses on Minecraft, on the Xbox.

Rewind back to the real world a moment. Minecraft is their favourite game at the moment. I'll guess that it'll be Baby B's as soon as he's old enough to understand too! In Minecraft they can do as they please. They can build things, break things, the girls like building houses, decorating and furnishing them. J just likes setting their houses on fire, or spawning animals inside! Yes, he's mean!

So many people are quick to blast video games. I remember a report a while back about the violence in games like Grand Theft Auto saying that the games were to blame for a high number of crimes. I have never heard so much rubbish in my life! I love the Grand Theft Auto series and have been known to play it to release my "stress"! But just because I like bashing a few cars about, or smashing some things up with a baseball bat DOES NOT mean I want to do it in real life!

However, one thing in this report that I did agree with was the age limits of these games! Take Saints Row 3 (I won't link up just in case, but feel free to do your own research) - a game similar to GTA, you can pinch and ride around in cars, beating and smashing things on your journey. Except, this one has something different. It's called "The Penetrator" - and, as I did, you only have to guess at what it is by the name. It's a weapon at least. Back in December, I was sat in our local Sainsbury's cafe with my girls when a family walked in at sat at the table next to us. The little boy, couldn't have been any older than 9, had a copy of SR3 in his hand and was excitingly inspecting the case and telling his sister, who looked about 5, about what he was going to do when he got home to play on it.

I was sat gobsmacked and amazed that his parents had bought this game for him. The age restriction is clearly shown on the front as 18+ so why did they buy this for him? I couldn't understand, so asked his mother if she realised what the game contained. Her reply? "It's what he likes to play on so it's fine by us." Here I am, sat in the middle of the cafe, with my mouth wide open. Kind of an " :O " moment. I couldn't believe my ears! Was she serious?! So I told her again. Then I proceeded to telling the sales assistant at the customer services desk. They informed me there was nothing they could do because his mum had bought it!

This has to be a joke! But what could I do? I went home that day hoping that his mother would see some sense!

Every game the kids play on, I make sure I know what it contains. This normally means I have to play a few hours of it first, but I'm not complaining! I call myself a "Gamer" and, although I haven't much time for it anymore, I love getting the Kinect on and doing some "exercise" with Just Dance or rocking out on Guitar Hero! But at least I know my kids are safe.

Anyway, back to Minecraft. In my daydream the girls were building a huge mansion. A bedroom each for everyone, a playroom for each of them and the boys, a bathroom each so J couldn't run it while they were having a shower (told you he was mean!), a big room for daddy so he can watch Game of Thrones in peace whilst kicking other people's butts on Fifa, and lastly - a huge kitchen for mum. (Umm, thanks kids, dad gets to relax, mum gets to cook? Story of my life!)

But, it got me thinking, well daydreaming. Even J is pretty good at building things - he specialises in Angry Bird models at the moment and has been trying to do Moshi Monsters too. He has mentioned doing some Skylanders but gave up after spending hours working on a portal for T to come along and destroy it (she called it payback!).

So, not only does it keep the kids from almost killing each other when they're bored, it make them use their creative part of their brains!

Here we have J in the top left corner, C in the top right and T in the bottom left. I especially like the treehouse C has made although it's not a very good picture. But it goes to show what you can do on there.

Do you let your children play video games? Which ones do they like? And what are your opinions on Age Restrictions?


  1. My kids play games...some games. And I do believe in using a bit of commonsense in what they should and shouldn't play for instance I had no issue with my kids mining or fishing for me UO if they wanted to (wow that was back in the day!) even though the age restriction was higher because it WASN'T REALISTIC. I would never dream of letting a young one play GTA or Saints Row to me that is just ridiculous! As it is they have never wanted to anyway - my lad, now 17, was far more interested in sci-fi'y types on the xbox and we made sure they weren't too gorey by doing a bit of research first, only now wanting to play Rift with us. My girls (12 and 14) adore minecraft too. The eldest (21) has never shown the slightest interest in games at all!

    These parents that totally ignore age restrictions and don't do their research will be the first to complain when they realise just what they have been letting Little Jonny and Jane play!

  2. I need to get to grips with age restrictions on games. I was looking at a game for my daughter and she said to me, Mum you can't buy me that it is a 15. It was news to me !!! I now know to check