A bold new experiment has been launched at our house. The firstborn is playing video games. The contingency being the rest of the day is electronics free. Half an hour of Lego Harry Potter is proving to be the greatest motivator ever conceived.
When the kids are awake, my wife and I do not usually play video games. I played a soccer game in front of the oldest kiddo once and he thought we were watching live TV (graphics!). There was the time the firstborn watched my brother play XCom and spent a week pouncing from around corners pretending to destroy aliens. We do commonly play Mario Kart. Both kids love Rainbow Road. I fear they are sociopaths for making us play that track to completion.
For the firstborn being able to play a real video game and tell the avatar where to walk, when to cast a spell, how many times in a row it needs to jump (35 on average) is akin to a 16 year old getting a license. He’s a real big kid now, and nothing can stop him.
Which is all too true. The co-op nature of Lego Harry Potter allows for either player to make decisions or direct game flow. He loves the power in that. So far game play has been walking in and out of the shops in Diagon Alley to uproarious laughter.
He’ll guide Harry through the street just casting spells. Giggling. He jumps on things and snort laughs. He takes to and from Knockturn Alley and can barely catch his breath through the laughter. He jumps around the room belly laughing all because he is guiding the story.
As a reward, the game has been amazing. He is listening well, keeping himself on task and using his manners like they are going out of style. My wife went to turn on Pandora for background music following nap time today and he tried to stop her. “No electronics or I can’t play Harry Potter Lego!” He said. He’s keeping things honest. She eventually convinced him Pandora was permissible as they would not be watching anything, just using a tool.
Video games also help his eyes, and frankly anything to help with those pesky devils is welcome in this house. Really, the whole thing is a win all around. He doesn’t rot his brain on TV, he behaves better, his eyes get a workout and during gameplay the baby giggles along too. The baby laughs because his brother laughs and it is pretty much perfect.
What has really surprised me is the instant command of the controller the firstborn has. He picked it up, I showed him how to move the thumb stick and he went to work. Before long we was running around saying “expelliarmus” (or however that is spelled) in his best Snape voice.
He’s pretty much a wizard now. And loving every minute of it.