My moment has come. It’s my time to select a Skylander and place it on the portal of power. Video games with my son are a far cry from the Atari joystick of my childhood when up was up. Left was left. Right was right and down was down.
“Are there any girls?” I ask.
Stealth Elf. Good enough. She’s silent but deadly.
Oh sure. I can remember the two-handed joystick combinations that bring on the attacks of stealth, blade smash, dragonfang daggers, arboreal acrobatics, and elf jitsu. AA press B, hold Z. The list goes on.
Meanwhile, as I’m trying to recall the 27 sequences I learned in my son’s 10-minute overview, he is playing Dino-Rang and killing me as I run for my life.
After a while, a very short while, it is evident that Dino-Rang has served me up a big K.O. I’m dead. My son smiles, victorious.
“You might wanna try Warnado”.
For himself, he picks Double Trouble.
I don’t always lose. Sometimes I win if I just close my eyes and press A, B, and Z with rapid fire power while moving forward. My strategy: either fight like crazy or run like hell. But even with Mama’s magic formula, nobody, and I mean nobody, beats Double Trouble.
Days pass. I begin to notice a pattern.
Just for once I would like to be the Skylander that can throw something. Innocent. Naive, I’ve trusted my son to suggest my characters for me. While his characters seem to have attacks that include grenades, balls of fire, ability to freeze someone with a single ray, mine are more like Daffy Duck: Dodge, parry, spin, ha! All dressed with some purple haze or sparkly protective cloud. Protective, my eye.
I call him on it at the dinner table. The gig is up.
Now, you should know that thirty something Skylanders are not enough to keep us occupied. We eagerly await the release of Skylanders Giants this October, counting down the days. My son never thinks it’s quite as funny as I do when I say that I have heard somewhere that the release of Skylanders Pink may cause a possible delay.
I can think of a thousand reasons to hate video games. They are expensive. I could invest in a mutual fund instead. They snag my child into a virtual world every day. They are a mindless activity….that is, unless you consider all the math a Mama has to do in her head just to unlock a desired element of power.
But, when I sit on my son’s bed and step into his virtual world with him for a brief part of my day, I know that I’ve gained a little more understanding of the things he likes. These times yield much more fruitful talks than any of my usual how was your day today discussions.
After being a part of Spyro’s Adventure with him, I’m privy to the details of an adventure of the little one I am called to lead. That’s reason enough for me.
Read Brandi's column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper.