Jesus better have Halo and Halo 2 for His X-Box, or my son will bail on that shit so fast
One day I received a package in the mail containing several X-Box games to which my friend Tom had become desensitized. Off to score a stronger anesthetic for his own higher brain functions, he was thoughtful enough to pass those gateway home lobotomizers on to my son. Thanks, pal!
Actually, I don't have a problem with gaming. I remember when arcade games were the Threat To Our Children; when my sister and I were in grade school our town required that businesses keep all video games unplugged during school hours upon threat of hefty fines. Otherwise those devilish video games lured us away from learning, you see, because no child ever found a reason to ditch before Space Invaders landed in the lobby of Mama's Pizza.
Unfortunately, I am such an old bag, such an utter LOSER, that I can't play these newfangled X-Box and PC games because they make me feel pregnant; i.e., they give me motion sickness. I know--don't even start. It's mortifying. When I do want to play my Buffy the Vampire Slayer X-Box game I have to take Dramamine first, which kills the spontaneity on the front end and then eviscerates my (already shaky) hand-eye coordination on the back end when the shit starts putting me to sleep.
Anyway, at the time when Tom's Box-O-Truancy arrived, my son was still floating in the protected realm of "kiddie" games. He loves anything mathematical, so he has lots of puzzle games, and we have every incarnation of Crash Bandicoot in the known world, stuff like that. All very cute and unlikely to make me the mother of a serial killer. In the Tom box: a Spongebob Squarepants game that turned out to be pretty damned awesome; the second Buffy game for me to try even though I hadn't been able to stay awake long enough to finish the first one; and Halo, a game I had heard of (I work with teenagers, after all) but not seen.
Like the over-protective mother that I am, I took one look at the "M for Mature" rating on the front of Halo and nixed it outright. It sat around the house for months, unplayed, until one afternoon when I was packing my son's things for a visit with my parents. I stuck the Halo game in his bag and told him to "see if Pawpaw wants to try it since it's rated M."
I really believed my meaning there to be clear (did you understand what I meant?) but two days later I listened to my giddy son over the phone, absolutely babbling in his glee: "OHMYGOD PAWPAW AND I HAVE BEEN PLAYING HALO AND IT'S SOOOOOO AWESOME! THERE'S ALIENS AND EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE A GUN YOU CAN SNEAK UP AND KILL THEM JUST BY HITTING THEM IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD! PAWPAW SAID NOT TO TELL YOU BUT I HAD TO TELL YOU CUZ IT'S AWESOME!!1!!11!"
(Um. That's real nice, punkin. Could you put Pawpaw on the phone, please?)
Predictably, there was no getting that horse back into the barn, and now we have Halo 2 as well. All of my son's friends seem to have this thing, too, and I admit it's really not that gory. It also provides some amusing moments. A couple of weeks ago we were down at the folks' and I happened to overhear the following from another room:
Kid: Ugh! I'm toast.
Pawpaw: I'll get him!
[gunfire, growling, screaming, mostly from the game]
Kid: [sigh] There's my body.
Pawpaw: Well get up, boy! You're supposed to be a Marine!