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How To Get Your Kids To Stop Playing Online Video Games

Call Of Duty Black Ops

My 4 year old son loves his Super Mario Bros video game. Some days it borders on an unhealthy amount of love and I have recently started taking measures to cut back the amount of time he is allowed to spend on it. I realize that it is a non-violent video game for kids, but I really don’t want him to be so dependent on video games for entertainment. I mean, that’s why I bought him all those toys, right??

While doing my daily rounds on the internet yesterday, I came across another reason why I want to cut down on his video game time. That reason came from this article on Kotaku.com, which describes how far one father was willing to go in order to deter his 23 year old son from playing video games.

The father of 23 year old, Xiao Feng, didn’t like how much time his son was spending playing online video games, so he took matters into his own hands. In an effort to discourage his son from gaming and to get him to focus more on finding a job, Mr. Feng decided to hire in-game assassins to kill his son’s character every time he logged into his game.

As a former (mediocre) online gamer and as someone who has been killed in Call of Duty more times than I care to admit, I can sympathize with the frustration the boy must have felt. The son probably won’t admit it but the planning that must have gone into hiring in-game hitmen is most impressive. I wouldn’t even know where to start in contacting the top players of a specific game. It’s not like they use their real names and openly publish all of their contact info. Although, they may begin now that a new “Hitman For Hire” business opportunity has opened up!

I’m not sure how effective this strategy would be with other kids but it seems to have had the desired effect with Xiao Feng, who said “I want to take some time to find one (a job) that suits me.” I’ll be keeping this one in my back pocket for future use. Secretly, I hope it’s something I get to use someday. Talk about being a Bad-Ass Dad! Way to go, Mr. Feng!

Cheers!

My Son Schooled Me At Mario Kart And All I Got Was A Lousy T-Shirt

Yeah, I said it! In fact, I didn’t even get a T-Shirt because my son took it right off my back! Never have I been as humiliated as I was this past weekend when my 4 year old son asked if I would play Mario Kart on the Wii with him, and then he proceeded to teach me just how old I am getting.

Oddly enough, my first thought when he asked me to play was if he was old enough for me to not let him win. After all, I am very serious about my gaming, just look at the photo above. It had never occurred to me that he could possibly be in a totally different league than I was. A much, much higher league, in fact.

I should have known things weren’t going to go as planned when I couldn’t get the Wii to recognize the 2nd remote, prompting my ever so funny wife to quip, “Haha, you’re like the old guy who can’t figure out the electronics”. Very funny, dear. Now go ahead and sleep and don’t worry about why I have a bucket of warm water next to the bed…

After getting the controller issue sorted out, which was totally a Nintendo Wii issue and NOT an old man issue, I set out to let my son take an early lead in the race before I would pounce on the final lap and take him down. After all, kids need to learn about winning and losing at an early age to help them deal with it later on in life, right?

Here’s the problem with my game plan, not only did he take an early lead, but I felt like my driver was stuck in quick sand the entire race! I couldn’t make a move without hitting a banana or driving off a cliff and finished in last place in 3 of our 4 races. I am mortified to even be admitting to this, but at one point I even glanced over at my son’s remote to see what he was doing differently that I was. It was hopeless and it certainly didn’t help to hear the continuous chuckles from the peanut gallery! Ahem, Wifey!

The tipping point came when I calmly stated to my driver, Luigi, that maybe he should have spent more time training like his brother, Mario, and less time goofing around. My son then answered, “Its okay Daddy, just do the best you can”, which gave me pause and perspective on what was going on here.

I realized two things in that moment. First, that I was actually getting frustrated at a video game, which means I’m not as old as I thought I was. The second thing is that my son is actually learning from the lessons we teach him, such as “Always try your best” and “Practice makes perfect”.

It was an eye opening experience for me and a very cool moment of clarity to see your parenting lessons come full circle.

There is one more thing I’d like to point out. Just because I lost to my son, badly, on this day, it doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on the game altogether. I’ll pull all nighters if I have to but I’ll get back to the Mario Kart dominance of my early 20′s and that’s a guarantee! The next time he meets me on the battlefield basement couch, he will see a whole new attitude and a very different looking Luigi!

Watch out, son of mine, Daddy’s coming for that trophy!!!

Cheers!

Super Mario For A Day Courtesy Of Costume Discounters

I was thrilled to be contacted by the fine people from CostumeDiscounters.com to see if I’d like to review one of their products.

Clearly, as a Dad blogger and the owner of adorably cute children, they knew that my kids would look great in any of their costumes.

Unfortunately, they didn’t know that I am also a lover of wearing costumes, so I threw them a curve ball and ordered one for myself! Here’s the proof:

I have to say, the costume showed up in record time and all in one piece. My dealings with the fine folks at Costume Discounters were nothing but spectacular and I absolutely recommend them for all your costume needs!

Back to me for a minute though….I wanted to really test out the costume so that my review reflected the product and wasn’t just lip service to a client. I decided to test it out to see how it worked in real life situations.

You know, things like pretending to drive while playing MarioKart on the Nintendo Wii:

I also put it to the ultimate test by making dinner for my family. Spaghetti, a Mario specialty! From scratch too!

The costume passed all other tests it was given and is still in tip top shape and ready for my son’s Mario party next weekend. Seriously, I’m using it to entertain all the children at my son’s birthday party. Don’t worry, I’ll post videos!

In all seriousness, everything at CostumeDiscounters.com is of the highest quality and I dare you to find a place to get your costumes for a cheaper price (making your own doesn’t count!). For real, if you find an identical costume for less on the net, they will match the price AND give you an additional 20% off!!

Make sure to check out their Facebook Page for more great deals and information.

Thanks to the staff at CostumeDiscounters.com for providing me with the costume in order to facilitate this review.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a long day of plumbing ahead of me and I’m out of here! (I think that’s still Mario’s profession…)

Cheers!!

Dads, Kids, Video Games and Animal Awareness

There’s something about being a man that instills in me a need to excel at video games. I’m not talking about a specific genre of video game or gaming system, I mean that I feel the need to excel at EVERY video game I play.

So it was no surprise that I found myself wanting the same for my children, especially my son, who is now at the age where he is showing a lot of interest in them.

It began with some iPhone puzzle games and then evolved into an Angry Birds obsession that was beyond comprehension. My daughter started wanting to play too but she mostly just stares at the birds on the screen and laughs when they make noises. I have no expectations for her as far as gaming goes, it’s stereotypically a male thing anyway.

Now before I continue, I want to point out to all the parents who think letting your kids play with electronics is bad, that I am a dedicated father who loves to play things with my kids other that video games. We are an outdoor family who loves sunshine and snow alike but sometimes we also like to enjoy a good video game too, so back off!! LOL.

Back to my son, he recently saw a friend playing Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii and decided that he wanted to play too. He’d seen the Mario box at our house but never knew what it was until that day. He started asking about it but I figured at 3 years old, he probably wasn’t ready yet. I lasted about 2 months before caving the other night and on went the Wii.

Had I known the reaction this monumental event was going to get, I would have started videotaping sooner but better late than never I guess. When I said yes, Luke began running around in circles like a maniac, shouting “Mario, Mario, Mario!!!!” His sister followed suit except her shrieks sounded more like “Mayo, Mayo, Mayo!!”, of course we knew better than to give her a cup of mayo. Even trying to explain the chaotic scene, there’s no way to properly do it justice.

Now, I understand that Luke is only 3 years old but when a video game starts, a man tends to lose control of his regular brain functions and turns into a modified version of a young boy. Common sense doesn’t apply and the competitive side comes out in full force. So on day 2 of playing Mario Kart, I fully expected my son to have figured it all out and to be crushing the computer Princess in every race. This was not the case.

The reality of it is that he has no idea what he’s supposed to do and just likes playing with the Wii steering wheel that came with the game. I think the fact the he has his serious face on is what throws me off, as it looks like he ‘IS’ Mario and wants to win at all costs. In reality, that’s the type of focus kids portray with most things they do and it took everything in my power to not yell “You have to turn there man!!” or “”Shoot the Banana at that guy!!”.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and I took some time to enjoy watching the gaming experience through his eyes. I even found out that we must be doing something right as parents because Luke stopped driving the Kart at one point to let the cartoon cows cross the road, explaining that he didn’t want to hurt them.

Point is, when he eventually figures out that he’s losing the game, he’ll probably get upset about it and I’ll lie and tell him it’s just a game. For an adult male, playing video games, there’s no such thing as “Just a game” because if it was in fact just a game, we wouldn’t be playing it. We eventually to get too old or too fat to do anything else well and this becomes a place where we can excel at something into our later years.

Don’t believe me? Ask my wife about my journey through all the Call of Duty games. Ask my Mom about her experience living with my gamer brother. As the saying goes, “You can’t take the boy out of the man”.

Do you have a funny gaming story? Share it below in the comments and don’t forget to do the Facebook/Twitter thing if you liked this post. Thanks for your continued support!!

Cheers!!