Monday, June 22, 2009

Taking A Mental Break From Urban Dystopia... (Summer Visitation 2009)

Photo By John Hoff

So maybe I let my son play any kind of video games he wants, especially the ones rated "M for Mature," precisely because he's NOT allowed to play these games at his mother's house where he spends most of his life.

I believe in moderation....which, in this case, means during summer visitation my son is allowed to exterminate zombies, kill gang members in cold blood, repeatedly jack cars, and generally create mayhem in the video world. Sometimes my son and I go through a little verbal ritual after he gets done with his gaming.

"What would happen if you did that kind of thing in the REAL world?" I ask.

He answers...

"I'd probably get killed. No replays in real life, you're just dead. That or the police would lock me up and throw away the key."

So, I figure, he's fine. He can go back to killing rival gangs, now.

But often enough video games have to stop in favor of (as I put it) "doing something real" like watching the Lowry Bridge blow up, watering newly-planted flowers, or (as pictured above) taking a break on the front porch to enjoy cookies and milk together.

"OK, Alex," I say, insistently. "Time to take a mental break from that urban dystopia s**t." (By which I mean the infamous "Saints Row Two.") 

Later, I asked him, "Alex, what does 'urban' mean?"

" the city," he answered.

"Good," I said. "What does 'dystopia' mean?"

"Is it like the opposite of utopia?" he asked.

"Yes, very good!" I told him. I reviewed the definition of "utopia" with him, then started to describe dystopia. Buildings boarded up. Graffiti. Rampant crime on the streets. Everything just falling apart.

"Kind of like the world in your video game," I explained. "That's dystopia."

So, yeah, I let him enjoy his video games, maybe even a little too much. But he can't spend FOREVER in the urban dystopia world of Saints Row Two. Sometimes my son has to hang out on my front porch in NoMi (North Minneapolis) and enjoy cookies and milk.

Ah, NoMi, where the housing is ultra-affordable for a divorced daddy, the living is easy, and every day we move closer to urban utopia.


Katie said...

Frankly, if I were in a zombie infested situation in real life, I'd probably not die by hitting the button that makes me crouch instead of reloading.

Stupid controls.

Johnny Northside said...

If that's your sweet way of telling me I need to show my son how to make expert zobmie-killing head shots with real firearms instead of letting him play too many video games, I'm sure you're right.