Yes we are the last people on the planet to get a Wii. I resisted not because I was afraid that my 7-year-old daughters would be hooked and play video games at the expense of their insane imaginations. No, I resisted because I am a recovering addict. I have fallen down the deep dark hole where Tetris blocks rain down on your head and I didn’t want to tempt myself again. But, as often happens in the journey of parenthood my husband and I caved in to the incredibly urgent requests for the Wii as a seventh birthday present for my daughters. And, we had grandparents who generously obliged.
My daughters immediately began to set up their Miis. They are unbelievably cute and fun it’s true. Couple that with American Idol and High School Musical 3 Sing It, and seriously I could video tape my girls performing at full blast all day. It’s so interactive! It’s so engaging! It’s nothing like the video games of my past that sucked you in, dried out your eyes and invaded your dreams. Yeah right. The Wii may have my daughters up on their feet dance, dance revolutionizing or swinging their faux tennis racquets with gusto, but I have seen the subtler obsession begin. One daughter wants to talk about her Miis at length, planning the new ones and creating worlds for them. My other daughter is fixated on unlocking more sports, more exercises – anything that means “more.”
I guess I passed on the video game gene to my girls just like their brown eyes and voracious reading habit. Though I won’t take all the blame. My husband is a screen junkie, and makes his living in technology, so I guess my daughters were doomed from the start. As their mom I can set boundaries and time limits so that the Wii is part of their “screen time” choices, not something in addition to the allotted TV and/or computer time on the weekends. But, who is going to set those limits for me? In college I had to take Tetris off of my computer ultimately or risk never getting my final papers finished. Now, as a stay at home mom/writer I have to ignore that glowing Wii console that beckons to me as I sit at my computer.
For now I am safe – we don’t have any true old school games for the Wii, but I know that day is coming when Frogger or Ms. Pacman will present itself – or God forbid Tetris my old poison – and I will be have to be brave. We might be a family with a weakness for gaming, but Wii can’t let that take over our lives. (Though maybe just one game won’t hurt…)