games that children play


let the children play

I often encounter kids barely able to reach the keyboard on the cubicle beside mine playing a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) and he seemed to be lost in his fantasy world unmindful of the rest of the outside world had his time not run out for lack of credits.

Another time while waiting for my take out order I noticed a family contemplating on getting their share of calorie laden and cholesterol fortified burgers with their super sized fries and drinks, while the kids couldn’t care less. At the age when kids (at least during my time) are starting to learn about their ABC’s he is already adept at manipulating his Playstation Portable and nary a care in the world.

Sadly, I observe in the society that we live upon that this is becoming more and more the norm rather than the exception.

I remember when I was a kid, in kindergarten, there was this new rave back then and it was the ultimate must have gadget: a digital wristwatch that transforms into a miniature robot. To the glossy eyes of any kid, it was cool beyond imagination. It would also be one of many reality checks to come my way. It was in a way, my first introduction to the concept of those who have and those who have not. I belonged to the latter group I was told. My elders would chide me and tell me that I didn’t need it anyway. I was about 5 years old then, the concepts of “wants” versus “needs” was definitely not in my limited vocabulary yet.

As the kids grew older, their toys just got bigger,cooler and more expensive than the last. From Atari to Sega Genesis and Super NES, the archaic predecessors of today’s Nintendo Wii, Xbox360 and PS 3, they also had to have the latest games and consoles. Growing up, I never did have the privilege to have such machines and that I why I probably do not have excellent eye hand coordination. Of course, the television sets where the consoles were hooked up would be free Saturday mornings to make way for the early morning cartoons.

Even then, with all the contraptions that we owned (or wish we had) we’d still have time to come out and play. There was no need for virtual interactions because the interactions were all too real. And even if I really didn’t get to have all those stuff as a kid in the very least I lived and grew up in a community where kids were treated as kids and had the opportunity to play and laugh and not labor under the sun as a farm help or work in factories as cheap sources of labor.

Then the kids of my generation grew up. They became less inclined to doing what they call kid stuff because they now think of themselves young adults full of idealism ready to take on the brave new world. By this time, the newer generation of kids who took our place had access to newer but not necessarily better stuff. Now the tables have also turned, as boys who used to chase away girls away before now chase after them now that they are kids no more.

Now in the present time, the kids have all grown up and some already even have kids of their own as well, those who once shunned their toys and their childhood games now engage themselves in more complicated, more expensive gadgets and more mature and sometimes dangerous games.

As for me, it may have taken a long time for the lessons to sink in but somehow I can now discern my wants from my needs. Still every so often I just set the inner child in me free and have some good clean fun.

~ by allen mallari on June 24, 2008.

3 Responses to “games that children play”

  1. remember the time Tamagotchi took the world by storm? Or how about Pokemon? Or those race car from Japan called Tamiya and the Spinning Tops that took in the pesos during the height of its popularity…

    I remember when we were kids, we were given this huge table with tiles you can spin and match with other tiles. It was a memory game. I don’t remember what it’s called and how I wish we took great care of it…

    Youth is truly different today.

  2. I think there’s a tremendous amount of maturity needed to tell the difference between something you want and something you need. If you tell an 11 year old child that he doesn’t need something, he might see it a completely different way – he may need a certain toy or gadget to fit in, to comply with peer pressure and the inability to have that product, he may feel, could contibute to bullying. But on the other hand I myself buy gadget magazines and say to my partner that I definately need half the products in there, before he tells me that I can quite happily live without them – and I do.

    I used to have a watch which turned into an Aeroplane. For about 5 minutes it was the greatest thing in the world. And then I realised I couldn’t fit my knitted jumper over it…

  3. Thank you for sharing your insights with me. I agree with both of you and even if I can’t take back the time I have already lost in my own childhood, in the very least I hope to enlighten a few innocent minds before they become corrupted by this materialistic world.

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