Last weekend, my kids picked up an Xbox 360 in a post-Christmas sale. With it came a copy of Halo 4. As a rule, we don’t let our kids play first-person shooter games. However, I will admit to having a weakness for them, even though I have not indulged that weakness for nearly a decade due in large part to the motion sickness such games tend to generate in me. Nevertheless, with Halo 4 in hand, I couldn’t resist at least giving it a try, if only to discover what all the fuss was about and why such games have become a multi-billion dollar industry.
I should pause to note that I also have a moral issue with first-person shooter games. For starters, they’re terribly addictive. I learned that lesson while playing one of the first Medal of Honor games over the Christmas holidays back in 2006. I actually got rid of the game once I realized I was sneaking away from the family to get in a round–like an alcoholic sneaking away to sip from a bottle hidden in a light fixture. And who has time to play video games when my bookshelves and iPad are crammed full of books I have yet to read? (For the record, we restrict our kids to 60 minutes of video games/day, and we strongly encourage bedtime reading.)
Our behavior shapes our brains. Children’s brains are especially malleable in this regard. If we and/or our children have 10,000 hours to spare, perhaps it would be better spent becoming an expert in something other than killing.
As for my copy of Halo 4? I know I can get get $6 for it at EB Games. And I think I’ll spend that money on another book.