Friday, June 15, 2007

Video games are bad for my health

I have a problem. How do you stop someone who is addicted to video games from spending half their time on the sofa, clicking away at a handset. "Get out and have some fresh air, take a nice walk" I tell her to no avail.

Some of you are probably already thinking that I should be firm; exercise discipline and set rules and boundaries. I would if it were my child - but this is my 75 year old mum I'm talking about! I must admit, playing the game has increased her vocabulary, although none of the words she has added to her repertoire seem to have more than four letters.

In her defence, she is not addicted to all video games - just one in particular. Spyro the Dragon, on Playstation One. She sits there clicking away, waving the handset in the air as though by doing so, it will somehow make the little bugger fly higher and faster. She talks to him too. "Get him - shoot him - flame him," but Spyro appears to take the same amount of notice as I did when I was a young dragon under her control.

When she comes to a difficult part, she has a strategy. She tries once, tries twice, then knocks on my office door. "If you've got a minute, can you get me past one little part?" Being a good son, I oblige.

I sit down, take control of the game and start to play. That's when it starts -

" your, not that, you're going the wrong way." I smile sweetly and suggest she may like to go and make herself a cup of tea. She is old enough and wise enough to know I really mean, "Mum - piss off and let me do it my way". I could of course be that direct, but I like my ears to be normal size. Once she is out of the way, I complete the task, return to my office and wait for the next knock.

She talks about the game too, filling me in on the latest developments, the trickery of certain stages, the craftiness of the "baddies". Trust me, there is a limit to the number of original responses I can come up with now! She must have felt the same when I used to come home from school and tell her what John said to Bill after what David did to Jack, who is no longer friends with Susan.

I know what it is - it's payback time for her!

Before Spyro The Dragon, it was Crash Bandicoot, and before that, a game on the Sega Master System. She even bought herself a Playstation 2 a few weeks ago, but for some reason, didn't like the console and took it back telling the assistant it was a "daft design". Luckily she still has a fair way to go, (did I really say that!) as there are very few Playstation games now available.

I can see the day coming when she sits on the bus in her hoodie, clicking away at a portable playstation and an MP3 player blasting out Al Martino Unplugged.