Category Archives: Parenting

Re-Unboxing my Dreamcast

dreamcast daddygamer365I got a little nostalgic last night after playing some old Nintendo NES and Playstation puzzle games with my wife and kids.  For some reason, I was craving to play my Dreamcast again.  I think it’s because it’s momentum was cut short and had a lot of promise and potential.  The graphics and games were ahead of its time in ’99.  It had a built-in modem; the first of any console.  And the games were incredibly fun and I had all of them; perks of a TV video game show producer.

The fondest memory, and maybe the reason why the Dreamcast hold a special place with me, is playing Samba De Amigo with my entire family and relatives.  My kids and little nephews couldn’t get enough of it.  You have to imagine this was before Dance Central, Just Dance, the Kinect, the Wiimotes and the Move.  Samba De Amigo made us get off our butts, dance, pose and look goofy.

I’m not really surprise that many people wish for a Dreamcast return.  Titles like Shenmue, NFL2K, Skies of Arcadia and Soul Calibur made gamers wish for more but they never came.  I just got through playing Ready to Rumble 2 and Jet Grind Radio.  I even searched YouTube to find the Dreamcast Special I produced:

Advertisements

Got my butt whooped by girls! Life is great.

I knew this day would come.  I was looking forward to it.  The day when my girls realized that they were good enough to take on their dad in a no-holds-barred game of Mario Kart on the Wii.  There was a lot of screaming and whining but this time it was coming from me.  I couldn’t figure out how they were able to maneuver so fast and quick around obstacles.  Of course, like any good gamer will tell you; they practiced and learned the secrets of the game.  I couldn’t come close.  The best I can do was finish 5th.  They were either first or second.  I’m a proud Daddy Gamer.

This, I thought to myself, is what gaming is all about.  It’s about having fun, being silly and competing.  I just wished we could do this more often.  I have a feeling that we will.  Now, that they know that they can beat Daddy at video games.  Of course, I will take a beating like this any day if it means I can spend a couple of hours being together and laughing with them.


PB&J sandwich: Level 2

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich is my go-to backup food.  It’s quick and easy to make and durable in the backpack or lunch bag for the kids and myself.  I somehow feel less guilty if I make PB&J as opposed to going to a fast food restaurant.

I was feeling adventurous today and decided to take it up a notch.  I found a recipe for… wait for it… Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich!  I’m hoping that my limited cooking skills can handle this : )

I found the recipe on Chow.com by Lisa Lavery.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (1/2-inch-thick, 4-by-5-inch-long) slices white sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Place the bread slices on a work surface and spread the peanut butter on 1 slice of bread and the jam on the other; set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the 2 slices of bread filling-side up and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and the filling is warmed through, about 6 minutes.
  3. Using a flat spatula, flip 1 slice of bread onto the other to close the sandwich. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

Preparing for the Xbox720PS4 Christmas!

This could be either a good thing or a disaster.  I decided to take a stab at pod casting on Spreaker.  As a dad and a gamer with limited funds, I decided to share my thoughts and share some tips on how to prepare for this year’s Christmas gaming season.  I’d appreciate some feedback.  Thanks for watching and listening.


Do you know what your kids endure in first-person shooter lobbies?

Do yourself a favor.  The next time your eight year old or teen is playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 take off the headset connection and listen to the player banter via the TV speaker.  I will bet that you’ll hear vigorous racial slurs, derogatory comments and wall-to-wall expletives.  This applies to other shooter lobbies as well and not just Black Ops 2.  Actually, it’s in many online multiplayer games including League of Legends but the offensive language does not come in the rapid fire level as shooter lobbies.

blackops2And unlike the regular media coverage, which is a joke by the way, I actually play more than I care to admit. Let’s just say, I’ve played so much that I can tell you the nuances of each map, player tendencies and what weapon is being used simply by listening.  Violent?  Yes.  Shooters are violent.  I can’t argue there.  But I’m also a 40 year old adult.  I think I’m better prepared to handle the sensory barrage in addition to the auditory violence I’m exposed to while playing.

You see that’s where I draw the line when it comes to kids playing these shooters.  The violence that they see is really no big deal anymore.  Today’s kids can switch between virtual and reality like you won’t believe.  But the violence that they hear and feel from other real players is a different story.  If you’re a 10 year old and have played a shooter over two hours straight, the amount of nonsense that you hear doesn’t carry well when you unplug to live in reality.  As an adult, I get worked-up from time to time.  Sometimes I feel that all this ADHD talk is more like PTSD from playing a multiplayer shooter.  (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)  But I’m a gamer; not a doctor.  I just like to play one on TV.

Abuse reporting: A joke

Games try to quell player-to-player personal attacks by putting in “Report Abuse” features in the game.  It’s a joke.  You’d feel good reporting but nothing really happens.  Oh. Sorry.  If they get enough, they get banned for playing for 10 minutes.  Yup.  That will teach them. (insert sarcasm here.)

Rather than these “Report Abuse” buttons, why not have actual live monitors. They can do random invisible checks during the game and lay down the law.  Several games and multiplayer services have used this type of deterrent in the 90’s and it worked.  I would think that with today’s advance networking and multiplayer technology, this type of deterrent should be a cinch to implement.  Why aren’t they?

Do you have any thoughts or ideas on this?

 


Avoid Lazy Tech-Parenting

teen-texting-2I get royally annoyed when I see kids in public with an iPhone, iPod or some kind of tablet on their faces while in public.  Really?  You can’t discipline your children to behave in public and interact like normal human beings?  My favorite is seeing teens in the restaurants with their parents.  Mom and dad are chatting while the teenager is busy texting or playing a game.  Wow.  I always have to stop myself from getting up and telling the kids to put their gadgets away.  I know that the parents won’t appreciate that and that approach is socially unacceptable.

Why the heck are they called “social media?”  I swear that all these apps and gadgets do that opposite and make today’s kids antisocial; incapable of face to face communication and interaction.  I deal with the public everyday and I do see the effect of all these tech.  The eye-to-eye contact during a conversation is more and more becoming a loss art.  It seems that it has been acceptable to look at somebody’s foot or knees to carry on a conversation.  I tend to stop mid-sentence and pause to have them look at my face.  This happens with adults too but more so with teens and kids in my experience.

Be the parent

Too many parents, dads specifically, want to be on their kids’ good side.  Tell you what.  You’re hurting your child for not providing some form of discipline and structure when you let them consume tech without restrictions.  Put a time-limit on their computer, phone and gaming.  I love hearing, “I’m bored.”  Guess what?  There are a ton of things to do to make the house, yard and rooms nice and shiny.

Start at home

The home is a nice, safe and private place to start implementing your tech rules.  The last thing you want to embarrass your kids in public.  This will not help.  Put yourself in their shoes and think, “My dad just yelled at me in front of my friends.”  It doesn’t feel good.  Does it?  Again, establish the rules and guidelines at home and communicate with your kids what you expect in public.  An example would be, “No phones while in the restaurants.”  Don’t overwhelm kids with rules either; specially the young ones.  The more you throw at them, the less will stick to their memory.

Repercussions and follow through

Parents fail with the promise that something will happen if the rules are broken.  Please don’t expect to have your kids take you seriously if you’re a softy when it comes to repercussions.  Do it.  No gaming means no gaming if rules are broken.  Phones go away means they won’t see their valuable device for a while.  The crying, pouting and tantrums will stop eventually.  They’ll have to eat, poop or pee at some given point.  Right?

I guess what I’m getting at here is to stop relying on tech to be the baby-sitter.  Be involved with your kids and put forth the effort.  They will reject it in the beginning.  I will guarantee that.  But you will find that they will start adopting your guidance unknowingly and will find better, more productive use of their time.  Please, don’t point it out either.  Just enjoy raising a well-rounded, tech-savvy child.


%d bloggers like this: