OWTK Gaming / Parenting Blog

When A Nintendo 3DS Is More Than Just Another Gaming Console

The 3DS my oldest daughter will be getting for Christmas this year is far more than just a 3DS. I mean, it IS just a 3DS, same box and capabilities as the one Santa will drop off for your son or daughter, but her’s will be different. This is a statement about me and also about her, and one more still about our evolving dad & daughter relationship — where it is and where it will go. Lemme explain.

The Bear was, I found out later, crying as she confessed her Christmas wish to the Mrs. while I was out the other night seeing David Wax Museum in concert. She was convinced that I was going to be mad at her for wanting one. Hence the sobbing.  Such is the life of A Highly Sensitive Child. Her calculated-guessed-reaction is not entirely surprising or unwarranted, as she has heard me be quite vocal on a number of occasions about parents who let their kids play handheld video games at restaurants, in the car on road trips, during live professional baseball games (I still want to punch that dad in the face), and during family functions. But the thing she was missing, and it is a big one, is that I don’t dislike the idea of the consoles themselves, we do, after all, own a pair of iPhones, an iPad, two laptops, and a Wii, all of which the girls can play on/with pretty much whenever they ask.  What the Bear didn’t understand enough, and maybe because my outrage clouded the issue for her, is that I dislike the way that portable devices are used.  Basically, the way I observe it, they are just another way for parents to not interact or engage their children, and just another distraction in a world full of them for the modern child.  Generally, I dislike distractions.  I prefer observations and living life with my head up, both literally and figuratively.  I try my damnedest to instill a passion for the same in my kids too.

Another point she didn’t consider is that OWTK publishes DS game reviews, I attend gaming summits, and cover toy fairs (much of which, these days, revolves around games or characters from games), so clearly I am not a total fascist about the existence of the Nintendo 3DS in the world.

All that brings us back to current day.  She and I have discussed her wish, with her telling me why she wants one.  Mainly I wanted to hear something other than “because so and so has one” and that is exactly what I got.  Maybe she’s been condition to provide an alternative to that soul-sucking retort, but I think not. I think her response, and the way she expressed a childlike curiosity about the console and added enthusiastically that “it looks like so much fun,” came from an honest place.  I was pretty much ready to run out to the store on the spot, before the words had completely drifted out of her smiling mouth.

When she peels back the Christmas paper on that gorgeous midnight purple 3DS and makes I contact with me, which I reckon will be the first thing she does, I am going to be as aglow as she, to let her know that I am aware of the time in which we live, that I have much respect for her curiosity and enthusiasm about such devices, that I love her dearly, and that I trust her enough to know that she will be responsible in how and when she uses her new digital toy. Meaning, she will never once bring her 3DS to a baseball game, or I will punch myself in the face.

*I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the the Nintendo 3DS consoles are on sale right now at Target for $129.99, a cool $40 off the regular price.

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