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This Year’s Champion 6th Birthday Present Is…

The Lego Star Wars video game. That’s right, not just a Star Wars video game, but a Lego Star Wars video game. I believe it is technically called Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. The characters are all made of Legos and they don’t die when they get shot, they just fall into their Lego pieces, reassemble and keep on going. There are piles of Legos lying around and they characters have to put them together to make things they need to continue the game. The game loosely follows the narrative of the first three movies and periodically the Lego characters act out scene (my boys’ favorite is when Obi Wan is looking for Luke’s light saber in his junk bin – it never fails to put them in hysterics).

I would like to admit something to you. I am not a video game person, I never have been. As a kid I couldn’t get past the three alligators in a row in pitfall and there ended my interest in video games forever. In college I tried to humor my engineer friends and get into Civilization, but I just couldn’t see the point. Well, as video games go, in this non-video game person’s opinion, this one is pretty darn cool.

It is full of amusing details (like you choose disguise mode and suddenly all the characters are wearing Groucho Glasses). I also like that there are always other friend characters following along with you (and helping you) and if someone else wants to play you can just hand them a controller and they start playing one of the other characters, no waiting to finish a level and then switching, everyone can play. We haven’t yet purchased a second controller so there was much turn taking this weekend. It was OK though, as there were plenty of actual Legos to be put together when taking a break from the virtual ones. (It turns out that when you tell all the grandparents that all their grandchildren want for their birthday is Star Wars Legos you end up with a lot of Star Wars Lego Kits).

We pretty much let them play as much as they wanted this weekend, as it was a long rainy holiday weekend and it is new and exciting. But we can’t go on like this, with every waking moment spend either playing or discussing the game. School starts again tomorrow and we will have to resume our normal life. I am planning to restrict the game to week end playing only because I think that letting them play for only a little while on school days will actually be harder than not playing at all. I’ll try it for a couple weeks and see if it works. Any suggestions on limiting video game use?

I have tried to keep us a video game free house as long as possible, but I opened the door by asking for Dance Dance Revolution for my birthday last year (which, by the way is Awesome and I Love it!). But DDR is completely a gateway video game. It’s dancing, it’s fun, it is nothing like a video game, and yet it requires a system on which other more traditional video games can be played. Sneaky. I am not morally opposed to the video game as a concept, I just don’t want my kids to be those kids I always see on the beach ignoring the water and sand and staring at a game boy in lieu of actually playing. OK, I’m done with my philosophical musings on the role of the Lego Star Wars in our lives. I guess I will do what I generally do when faced with a parenting dilemma, my patented and very complicated Make It Up As I Go Along system. In the immortal words of Annette Funicello, “I just think everything will turn out all right.”

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