As a father of fifteen children, nothing was more precious to me than family reading time. Family is important, more important than anything in the world, and reading stories to my precious kids helped me connect with my own family in a meaningful and entertaining way.
Then an irresponsible psychopath ruined reading for everyone by turning it into a world of violence and brutality, unfit for innocent eyes. That maniac's name was Michael Crichton, and the book was Jurassic Park. Ever since his vicious and disturbing novel was unleashed on an unsuspecting world, I have never been able to read to my children again. Books had been ruined because one of them personally offended me once, and now all forms of written language are banned in my house on pain of excommunication.
It was then that I turned to videogames as a means of finding other people to come up with parenting ideas for me, and ultimately Nintendo's Wii. "At last," I thought. "This will be the salvation we seek. A family friendly console. Why, I can bulldoze my way into an established medium, carve myself off a nice big niche of it, and then exclusively claim sole rights to it because I'm an American parent, and that means I get to have things all to myself that nobody else is allowed to enjoy."
How disgusted I was when I found out that the Wii, far from being a sanctuary from violence and swearing and everything else that upsets me, actually had some videogames on it that were not suitable for children. Et tu, Nintendo? Have you also abandoned the only audience you have ever had? Poring through the Wii's library of games, I was shocked to see that the grisly work Michael Crichton had started was being allowed to run amok. Jurassic Park was only the beginning -- violent videogames exist ... and I CAN'T TAKE IT!
Nintendo was a company first formed in 2006 where it created a brand new form of gaming -- family games. Before Nintendo came along with its debut Wii console, we only had the likes of Microsoft and Sony, who first invented videogames with the Playing Station and GameCube respectively. When it was just Microsoft and Sony, gaming was a violent past time enjoyed exclusively by psychopaths and rapists. Did you know that the Columbine Massacre happened because of videogames? My research found this out, when Martha who lives next door told me that she saw someone on TV once say that videogames made Columbine happen. The evidence is astounding.
Obviously my children were not allowed near such sick videogames as Grandia Theft Auto, where you score points for eating prostitutes alive. As a loving parent, I believe that the only way to prepare children for the adulthood is to completely shield them from reality. The best way for a young person to survive in a world rife with violence, crime and tragedy is to be thrown out of the house at age eighteen, completely naive and possessing the emotional development of a five-year-old. This is why my kids will always be raised in a societal bubble, oblivious of the fact that violence exists until they've actually got a knife pressed against their throats.
After seeing the Nintendo Wii on television, however, I decided I might take a chance. Mainly because some celebrities said they enjoyed it, and I in turn enjoy copying celebrities and trying to be like them. The final push came when I realized that families all over America were buying them, and even though I'd never played a videogame before in my life and only heard about the Wii that morning, I'd decided there and then that it was my favorite thing in the world and I was now a gamer. Being influenced by videogames is wrong, but being influenced by television and celebrities who I don't know is fine.
When my family saw that their father had secured for them a bonafide Nintendo Wii, they were ecstatic. I was popular with my children, which is important because trying to be their friend is much better than trying to be their parent. This is why I always make sure to blame other things when my kids act up, rather than blame the children themselves. If I told them off, they might not like me for a few hours, and we can't have that.
Finally, I had found something to enjoy with my kids during family time, and for the twenty-three-hours-fifty-six minutes of the day that I DON'T want to spend with the children, Nintendo's console also acted as a brilliant surrogate parent. I could safely sit them in front of the Wii all day, without having to do extremely difficult things like watch them or use my brain to think about them, safe in the knowledge that the Wii and its non-threatening library of videogames was doing all the work for me. After all, it's not like in the old days. When I was a child we watched totally nonviolent and morally upright cartoons such as Tom & Jerry. Nowadays it's just sadistic cruelty on TV. Parents nowadays just can't rely on television like my parents did. Times are hard.
Unfortunately, it all turned sour on a dreadful, dark and dismal day when one of my little boys, whose name I forget, brought home the one CD (games come on CDs, right?) that would ruin videogames for EVERYONE. Just like Crichton had done with Jurassic Park, Nintendo had seen fit to drive a knife through my back and turn the peviously safe Wii into a hotbed of slaughter and pure, Satantic evil. A VIOLENT VIDEOGAME was on the Wii, and my family safe haven had been destroyed. The game's name?
Super Mario Galaxy.
At first it looked innocent enough. The unfamiliar character on the box looked charming, if slightly pedophilic, and I was mesmerized as I so often am by the bright colors and fascinating shapes. However, upon putting the game into the Wii's disc-hole-thing, I had unwittingly opened the floodgates and let a stream of filth into my once unsullied and beautiful homestead.
I witnessed with horror as main character "Mario" abused animals, stamped on the heads of his enemies and used nothing but sheer, unadulterated violence to solve his problems. A far cry from the games that had made Nintendo famous such as Wii Sports and Wii Play, this new character was just like the vicious thugs that Sony and Microsoft had glorified with Master Grief and Smash Brandycot. Who the heck was this Mario? This was not what Nintendo was supposed to be about. Why had the company abandoned me?
With a queasy feeling in my stomach, I went back over the Wii's library of games and what I saw nearly made me sick onto my hands and shirt. Games like The Legend of Zelda, which uses realistic motion controls and forces children to re-enact stabbing with blades. Games like Super Smash Bros. in which unfamiliar characters beat each other to a pulp for no reason in particular. Zelda? Smash Bros.? Nintendo has never done anything like this before. Why would they suddenly start pandering to the remorseless thugs who buy such awful garbage?
I had no choice. In front of my children, I set upon the Wii, beating it with my shoe until it cracked and shattered. As its plastic pieces littered the floor, I explained to the children that the Wii had become tainted by some videogames that I did not approve of, and that meant we could never play it again or enjoy the games we used to play. HOW could we enjoy the family-friendly games knowing that VIOLENT ones also existed?
One of the children rolled his eyes and said "Not like the books, Dad." I had no choice but to kick the everloving fun out of that boy in front of his brothers and sisters to set an example. We'll not have violence in my house, and if anybody disagrees, they get kicked in the spine, tailbone and pelvic region until both of us are in tears.
How dare Nintendo forget the people that put it where it is? Introducing brand new concepts like a fat Italian who jumps on the heads of turtles has completely alienated those of us who grew up with traditional games like Wii Music. Now that I know violent videogames exist on the Wii, I could never trust it again and won't ever let it back into this place of rest. Just like I banned everyone in the house from eating food because I found out some food can be bad for you, or when I destroyed all the records we ever owned because I was told that a musician shot himself once and that would be a bad example to set my offspring.
The Wii's family image has been ruined forever. From now on, my children will only be allowed to play with a small brown box I found by some trashcans. Until of course I find a reason to be frightened of cardboard.
And trust me, I will.
What's Up? Our panel at PAX Prime 2014, Far Cry 4, Destiny Beta, Vietnam & a ferret
8:00 PM on 07.25.2014