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August 12, 2008

Dissing the DS

Guitarheroontour150 The great big blogosphere being something of a mystery to publicists, bloggers like me sometimes get lucky. People with really cool things they want to promote will send us said really cool things in the hopes that we will write about/review them.

We're under no obligation, mind you, and though I absolutely LOVE the Pajamagram I got ( soooo comfy and cute) I couldn't really think of anything much to say about it, so the Pajamagram publicists lost out. TNT snd TBSs publicist sent me loads of episodes of their original shows, like Saving Grace and The Closer, The Bill Engvall Show, and My Boys. And though I keep looking at the DVDs and thinking - I know there's a post in there somewhere, about women over the age of not-yet-thirty being allowed to star in shows, being successful in shows, and looking damn good doing it -- I still haven't written that post.

But sometimes, a thing is so cool, I can't help but write about it.  Like my Wii Fit.It was amazing -- cool technology, fun for the kids, exercise for me:  I had to write about it.  Then,  what I wrote ended up syndicated on newspaper websites around the country. The publicist who sent me the Wii and Wii Fit, therefore, was very happy, and he has expressed his happiness by sending me MORE cool stuff, namely a Nintendo DS Lite.

The only trouble is, I still haven't opened the box.

Honestly, the thing scares me. I can waste hours playing Spider Solitaire, for God's sake. Imagine what might happen if I had something GOOD to play with! Because by all accounts, the thing is good. It's slim, it has an easy user interface, and there are about a gazillion games you can play on it.

Yeah.  Not opening the box any time soon.

But, (you knew there'd be a but, didn't you?) the other day, another publicist sent me Guitar Hero On Tour.  The Nintendo DS version of the game.  Reviews call it "a blast to play" and "an unexpectedly cool experience." Damn you, publicist. What do I do now?

First of all, I know one of the inventors of Guitar Hero, a guy (about my age) who played in bands forever, then developed games for years, all while just eking out a living until he hit it big with Guitar Hero. I met him on his first family vacation since he hit it big.  Great story, great guy, but I still haven't played the game. I've been feeling a little guilty about it, but until now, I didn't have any way to play it. I live in an almost electronic-game-free zone. No Playstation, no Gameboy, no XBox. I'm not even sure what all of that is. But now that I have the means to play, and the portable version of Guitar Hero to play on it, he'd want me open the box, right?

It isn't only about me, either. (Go figure!) It's also about my son, or as his Native American friends like to call him: He who cannot be Torn Away from the Screen. Once I open the DS Box, it's all over. Sure, I'll have a great disciplinary tool: "If you don't (fill in the blank ) right now, I'm taking away your DS" does have a nice ring to it. But I'll also have endless battles over when he can play, and where and how much. It's a slippery slope, this electronic game thing. I need more traction before I start down it.  Because I know that eventually I'll give in and get him some electronic toy (I don't want him to be a social outcast); I'm just not sure I've hit eventually yet.

Sometimes I think: what could be the harm? Maybe they call it "Lite" because it's less damaging. Like Diet Coke or Lite Cream Cheese. The thing is so light it doesn't even need that cumbersome gh combo (is it silent? an "f" sound? what?)

But then I get back to reality, Diet Coke is still just chemicals and food coloring, Lite Cream Cheese tastes like glue made from cow hooves, and Nintendo DS Lite, however much fun to play, however many great games it has, is still a video game, and once I've started with those -- once my kid has -- there's no going back.

And I don't want him to go too forward too fast. I want him to still want to hold my hand, and sit on my lap, and hear a lullaby. He's too little to turn into an eye-rolling, chronic-ear-bud-wearing, forever thumb wiggling on a handheld console pre-teen.

So for now, I'm still dissing the DS. I'm not opening it. I'm not tempting myself or my son. He'll read books, he'll paint a masterpiece, he'll end up resenting me forever for not letting him have even one lousy video game.

Yet I know the box is there. I know I can open it if I want to. When I want to. If I want to.


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