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.
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?