More on Boys and Video Games

Wal-Mart de Chicoutimi, dans l'ancien édifice ...

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If you didn’t notice it, you missed your chance. No I am not talking about the giant asteroid that missed the earth by a mere 200,00 miles. I am referring to the release date of COD: MW3. For those of you who don’t have teenage boys, that stands for Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 3. It is another installment of this video game, rated M for 17+ and was released in stores at 12:01 am November 8.

My thirteen year-old has an earlier version of the game and wanted to be one of the first to get the new one. One of his friends suggested they go to the store and camp out until it is released at midnight. That sounded like a fun idea to them, but they couldn’t get a single parent to agree to drive them. My son does not usually ask for things or stage protests, but he spent the weekend begging me to drive him and his friend to the store Monday night. When I refused to do so, he went on strike- refusing to participate in chores until I pointed out that the two issues were not related and I wouldn’t even consider another option until his chores were done.

When we finally tried to work out a solution,  I still wasn’t sure why he needed it immediately when he could ask for it for Christmas. He was worried they would run out of copies. He figured all his friends would have it and he would be left out. He wanted to experience the thrill of being one of the first to play the new version. Even though he could have preordered it online, he didn’t want to wait a week for it to get here. These seemed like valid reasons to me, and at least gave me a sense of why this was so important in his mind.

Then he came up with a compromise, which was actually very clever. He asked if his friend could sleep over and I could then take them shopping in the morning. I agreed to take them any time after 7am. So Monday night came around, his friend came with his sleeping bag, game controller and wallet. They didn’t stay up too late since they wanted to get an early start. We didn’t actually leave the house until 8, so I had time for my much needed coffee.

The first place we drove was Wal-Mart. There were two men in line ahead of them, in pursuit of the same game. I joked with one of them, dressed in a suit and headed to work, when he mentioned that here he was 35 years old and still playing video games. When it was the boys’ turn, they decided they wanted the “hardened” version. I asked them what the difference was (what do I know, I’m just the chauffeur). They told me the regular version did not have all the add-ons, extra maps and other perks which were included in the “hardened” game. It was $30 extra, but they rationalized that to buy the extras separately would cost them $120, so in the end they would be saving $90. I guess that’s using your head, if you were planning to do that anyway.

Unfortunately, the people at Wal-Mart had no clue what they were talking about. They had plenty of regular copies, but the boys were not interested. So off we went to the nearest Game Stop. It didn’t open until 10 and it was only 8:30 so we went to the mall, searching out Best Buy. Again nothing was open yet. I suppose selling games at the crack of dawn was not in their business plan. So we drove over to the Supersize Wal-Mart, which did not carry the hardened version of COD:MW3 either. We decided to go back to the mall, get a bite to eat and wait for the stores to open.

When we got there, the Game Stop was just throwing open its door. It was only 9:30, but I guess they felt there were enough customers around to do business. Two other men, probably in their 20’s, walked in ahead of us. By the time the boys asked for their hardened version, there were only 4 left. They pulled out their cash and counted it out for the cashier. He would not sell it to them until he read me the riot act. He wanted to know if I was aware that this was rated M. Then he read a graphic description of the blood, gore and violence in the game. I nodded my head in agreement, giving my permission and adding that I must be a terrible parent for allowing this.

The boys walked out of the store with their games in their hands. They were no longer hungry and just wanted to get home and start playing. On the drive back, they read the description on their boxes excitedly. They thanked me for taking the time to drive them around. They were pleased they had held out for this version, rather than settle for the first one they saw. And (this was the best news to me) they agreed it would have been so disappointing to stake out at Wal-Mart in the middle of the night, only to discover they had wasted their time. That’s about as close to a “You were right, Mom” as you can get. Hopefully they’ll remember that when COD:MW4 comes out.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mortar and Pistol
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 12:36:31

    Fascinating that they read you the riot act about buying this game. I do articles some times on the ESRB and violence in video games, and from what I’ve read, most retailers won’t even bother worrying about the age of the purchaser, especially when a parent is present.



  2. themiddlegeneration
    Nov 09, 2011 @ 13:38:12

    I see you lined up at midnight to get your version. I suppose when my son is your age, he will too. But at least I won’t have to drive him.



    • Mortar and Pistol
      Nov 09, 2011 @ 14:14:58

      Well, I got down there at 8 to pay for it, and planned on coming back at like 11:45 to pick it up, but when I got there the line was wrapped around the block. It was a madhouse, so I just got it on my lunch break the next day, and there was no line, took 5 minutes. The midnight release would have been awful, waiting for hours on end, outside, for no real reason because I had to get up the next morning anyway lol



  3. Susan
    Nov 15, 2011 @ 22:04:38

    I guess I’m lucky that my son’s coveted games are still rated E. Today he got a new game, Fossil Fighters Champions. He has been waiting for this game for weeks – preordered it from Game Stop and put down a few dollars every week. (He is terrible about saving money, so this was a good plan for him.) This is also the day he got the most recent Wimpy Kid book, also preordered. I’m surprised COD couldn’t be preordered at game stop for pick up on the release date. But, like you, what do I know – just the chauffeur.



    • themiddlegeneration
      Nov 16, 2011 @ 11:24:47

      He could have preordered it, but he wanted it sooner. Again, the instant gratification that I mentioned before. I would have preferred to wait even longer and get it for Christmas. He used his birthday money, so I guess he was entitled to get it when he wanted. At least he waited until a decent hour, unlike some of his friends who were out at midnight.



  4. stmarco7
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 01:47:57

    This is a tough one. I’m still wondering if you gained any nuggets from that book you were reading re technology and kids?



  5. themiddlegeneration
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 11:32:07

    In a nutshell, technology is here to stay. It gave suggestions on how to work with it rather than against it. There still need to be limits set, but this is the way of the future.



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