My 12â€“year-old recently informed me that our gaming system isnâ€™t very cool. Before I give too much credence to this middle-school-hipness angst, I want to point out that Iâ€™m on the press list at most of the game publishers and we often receive games before they get to the stores. Cole has a signed-by-Will-Wright poster of Spore on his wall! (Thank you EA.com PR!) Cole was deep in gamer self-doubt but I pointed all this out.
â€œBut everyone else has XBOX 360 and I donâ€™t,â€ he moped.
This is true. We had a review unit for a while. But we all hated itâ€”though it might have been the lame games they sent with it that we hatedâ€”and Microsoft wanted it back.
â€œWe have a Wii,â€ I offered, thinking there is no way Iâ€™m spending $350 on a gaming system for a kid who only ever plays massively multiple player online role playing gamesÂ (MMORPG, said really fast in a voice like the Comic Book Guy in the Simpsons). Sure we have a stack of XBOX 360 games we canâ€™t play. But he needs more exercise not more gaming opportunities.
â€œThe Wii isnâ€™t cool anymore,â€ he sulked. IÂ told him that the Wii is very cool and that his friends at the middle school in our small town may not be exactly the cutting edge of the gaming community.
â€œYou canâ€™t play Halo 3 on the Wii.â€ He countered.
I could tell this issue was not going away. He is a gaming demi-god at school and this hole in his skill set was seriously bringing down his street cred.
Then I got a press release from Blockbuster announcing they are beefing up the gaming section in their stores. We never go to Blockbuster for movies because we are Netflix! devotees. But games? Thatâ€™s another matter. Would they also rent the gaming systems so that I could satisfy Coleâ€™s XBOX 360 angst without dropping all that cabbage? No. They are only renting games. Though they will be selling gaming systems and game accessories and offering trade-in on used games. That last part got Coleâ€™s interest.
â€œExcellent!â€Â Cole smiled, reading the press release and eyeing a stack of old games with dollar signs in his eyes.
â€œSo can I have an XBOX 360 for my birthday?â€ He gave me his best charming smile, clearly sensing a chink in my armour.
But I have the ultimate trump card. â€œSure!â€ I said. â€œIf you get straight Aâ€™s on your next report card.â€
I had won this round. But only because I studied the best parenting movie ever made (The Negotiator starring Sam Jackson; seriously check it out) very carefully.