… from watching your kid play Minecraft on a 48” flat-screen TV.
I discovered this baleful fact on Sunday. Asher, my middle son, has fallen in love with that game. Due to the fact that my wife (and I, I must admit) wanted to be able to stream Netflix movies to our big flat-screen TV in our bedroom, we purchased our used Xbox 360 unit from our daughter, Natalie, and installed it next to the TV facing our bed. This is great for watching movies. It is a little less great, however, because it makes our bedroom the only spot in which our kids (and their visiting friends) can play Minecraft.
Until very recently (before Sunday, in fact), this did not pose any great problem for me. The Minecraft background music is soothing, generally. If I want to be in my bedroom, on my bed, taking a nap, I simply had to direct the kids (usually Asher) to turn the volume all the way down.
However… and this is a big “however”… Asher has become steadily more proficient with playing the game. He has speeded up his rate of play dramatically. In fact, as I discovered to my regret (and nausea), he has speeded up his rate of play and movement to the extent that watching him play for more than two or three minutes causes me to suffer motion sickness.
“Oh, just close your eyes, then!” you may find yourself saying about now.
I did. After I got nauseous. It took me a full twenty minutes to start feeling close to normal again. I also discovered that it isn’t easy to keep your eyes continually shut for twenty minutes when you aren’t sleeping. And it is virtually impossible not to watch whatever is showing up on that 48” flat-screen TV if your eyes happen to be open.
“Oh, just send the kids out of your room, then!” you may find yourself saying about now.
Well, I try. But they are addicted. I don’t know if they are literally addicted, but they act like they are. My commanding them to shut down the game and leave the room results in paroxysms of protest and howls of hurt feelings.
Solution? (Is there ever a long-lasting, “one use fits all” solution to problems which arise between parents and children?)
Well, I could retreat from my own bedroom. Later in the day, once the boys had crept back into my room and ensconced themselves on my bed to play Minecraft once again (after I had banished them the first time), I did opt for taking shelter in my son Levi’s room to read my Captain Britain collection in a semblance of peace (and with a non-upset stomach).
I suppose my newfound ability to get motion sickness from watching a video game being played at high speed is just another sign of aging. When I was a lad, I could spend hours riding such carnival thrillers as the Octopus, the Zipper, the Round-Up, and the Himalaya; now, five minutes on the Flying Swings makes me want to ralph. I’m not alone in this – my seven-years-younger brother admitted to me last night that motion simulation machines get him sick, that he can’t ride any of the “scary” rides at Disneyworld anymore, and that seeing Avatar on an Imax screen made him stare down at the floor and clutch his stomach. That makes me feel just a bit better. (And at least I didn’t get sick during my viewing of the 3-D version of The Lego Movie this weekend.)