Thursday, March 15, 2012


We went to visit my daughter and her family recently for her birthday. She has two sons,  Cy and Dex, they are nine and seven years old, respectively. For Christmas, they got a game system, a Wii, that hooks to the TV monitor and is operated either with a wand or by leaping about madly and waving one's arms and legs.

Not my thing, digital games. "Watch this, Grampa! You see what I did?"

Not really, he might as well be speaking in Greek, but I can smile and go, "Wow! Cool!"

Both of these children are on the autistic-spectrum, and fortunately, high-functioning. 

Cy learned to read when he was three and has a memory like a steel trap. I rattled off the old nursery rhyme riddle: "As I was going to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives; and every wife had seven sacks; and every sack had seven cats; and every cat had seven kits; kits, cats, sacks, wives–how many were going to St. Ives?"

"One," Cy said, not bothering to look away from the monitor.


Dex, at seven, is a math genius starting to study algebra, having mastered multiplication and such: Say, Dex, what is two to the fifth power? Thirty-two? That's right. 

I think.

So Cy played some complicated game on the Wii. He told me what it was, and it sailed through my head unimpeded, but I think it had Mario in it. The system was connected to the internet and logged online, so that players can track how they are doing compared to other players. Shows your rank, other players' ranks, and where in the world they are, on a big map with flags. Which is kinda spooky in itself, but there you go.

How are you doing, Cy?

Second in the world, as it turns out. And apparently consistently so.

Really? Wow ...

Did I mention he was nine years old? And that he has figured out how to crack the code to get the game cheats, but didn't, because if Wii catches you doing so, you get banned?



Brett said...

Although I'm seeing bad habits/behaviors being trained into the video game generation (attention spans, priority management and lack of exercise to name a few), I am thinking that the trend that the Wii started and many of the others are following, developing physically interactive games to play is a good direction for these games to be going in, since we are highly unlikely to get rid of them and go back to actual physical games.
I mean, if you had a chance to "actually" kill a dragon when you were a kid instead of just pretending the stick you picked up was a sword and that neighbor's ugly tree was the dragon, don't you think you would have done it? I can envision that this technology will become so immersive that we will not only game with it, it will be our entertainment, education, maybe even how we do our jobs in the future. I'm thinking your grandson may have a leg up in the coming world.

William Adams said...

Yeah, but I'm still disappointed that on Sunday, when my son had a choice he chose to stay home and play video games rather than come out to the range w/ me for archery practice (I did get him out there on Saturday when I didn't afford him a choice though).

That said, I did _really_ enjoy Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and Red Steel 2 --- I just wish that there were more games which used Wii Motion Plus technology.