Donncha posted about Babysitting Mama on his blog, another virtual creature simulation game where you get to do everything in game that you would get to do in real life! If real life was like a sanitised computer game. Admittedly I had Nintendogs when the DS first came out and it was pretty cool, but it missed great swathes of reality – like the rolling in horse shit and then jumping all over the sofa animation (the dog, not me).
These virtual games, I fear, are going to produce a whole generation of responsibility retardation and common sense failures. Game simulations are nothing like the real thing – otherwise Rollercoaster Tycoon would have a culpable homicide side game where your character gets sent to prison for fifty years:
And Zoo Tycoon would change the penguins status to “Lunch” rather than 😦 when you put them in the lion enclosure.
Although I’m not keen on drawing comparisons between ingame behaviour influencing real life behaviour, these types of games present an idealised version of reality to which some people fail to comprehend the distinction. Similar to people who think it’s all white picket fences and roses around the door when you get married. These ideals are nowhere near the reality. The ‘ideal moments’ are literal punctuations in the toil, effort, frustrations and sheer hard work that is required for real life.
I shudder to think of the effect on the psyche of kids who are playing these baby maintenance games. Currently it seems as though hardly a week can go by without a child abuse/neglect case hitting the news, and although you can’t point the finger at simulator games (yet) I think it’s only a matter of time before the ‘Sims Defense’ is rolled out.
Luckily, my daughter is old enough to know that virtual pet games and virtual children are complete fantasy as she is ten years older than her little brother, and the fact we have numerous pets including a mentally deficient hound. We also drum in to her that what she sees on TV and does in game are not reality, and in most cases quite far from reality. But what of the kids who grow up with computer games and the TV as their babysitter, moral compass, and role model? Are they the people who grow up like this pair?
Peas and loaves.
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