Perhaps the best epitaph for my failed attempt at introducing my daughters to video games through the purchase of a Nintendo Gamecube was my five year old's question: "But Daddy - is it a Nintendo DS?". Now this beautiful smart five year old doesn't know one end of a gamepad from the other and has resisted all attempts at introducing her to one but she is sufficiently plugged into the all pervaisve consumerist zeitgeist to know that a Nintendo DS is cool while the second hand box of junk her daddy has bought is not. Guess who felt like the most out of touch (not to mention stingy) Daddy that day?
However from the ashes of failure rises the phoenix of hope. Quite independently of my efforts my daughters were introduced to an online site called Club Penguin by one of their friends. I checked this out to see that all was safe and well and imagine my amazement to discover that it is in fact an MMORPG. There aren't too many dragons to kill but it is an online world where players interact and play games to earn cash to buy rewards. It even has player housing. The environment seems safe enough although I am still keeping an eye on them. Just yesterday my seven year old asked if she could upgrade from a limited account to a subscription account. My daughter has asked for a subscription to an mmorpg! Now my wife was with us and I did my best to act like a responsible parent, pointing out that her birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and that we could consider it then if she is still interested but inside I shouted "Hell, yes!"
I grant you that many parents would consider introducing a child to the time sink world of MMORPGs to be one step above feeding them crack cocaine. I cannot see my girls ever getting sucked in to that extent however. For one thing they have the good influence of their mother who's attention span for gaming extends to about half an hour every six months or so. For another they have many other things going on in their lives. Also they have me and I am not such a reprobate as to let that happen. It would however be so wonderful to be able to share with my daughters just a little bit of a hobby that means so much to me.