Thursday, March 20, 2008

#15: Libraries and Gaming

Well, I tried Puzzle Pirates. I mean I really tried. I created an account and a pirate. Then I spent some time playing a game that was an awful lot like bedazzled, except simpler and with a water theme. I think I earned some kind of currency doing that, and then I went on the boat and traveled somewhere, landing on a dock. From there, I couldn't seem to do anything else. Anytime I tried to talk to someone, I got the message "Shiver me timbers. We can't expand that circle to make room for ye." I think somebody may have been talking to me at one point, but I wasn't sure and I had to answer the real phone, so by the time I got back, they were gone. I tried going to the the inn, but it was so crowded, I lost myself in a sea of people and couldn't find myself to get back out. As far as I could tell, everybody was talking, but nobody was listening. I give up! I think I'll see what Second Life is about....

Bummer. I downloaded the client, but am unable to install it on a work computer, since I'm not an administrator. I'll have to try from home. I got a little farther at home and was able to install the software, but it wouldn't run properly. I think my graphics card might not meet the system requirements. Too bad, because the little bit I saw looked like there was a flying option, which sounded pretty cool. Also, each time I logged in, somebody tried to talk to me, so it seemed a lot more welcoming and interactive, right away.

OK, I tried a third computer and finally was able to get into Second Life. I went through walking, driving, flying (fun!), communicating, and tried searching to get to Info Island. I found a teleport button, but it didn't seem to work. Maybe I need to be more functional before I can do that?

Anyway, I spent a LOT of time and mostly this reminded me of the SIMS game my kids played awhile ago. Honestly, I didn't get much out of this, but I suspect I didn't even begin to scratch the surface, as far as what's available here. It was fun, but there's just not enough time to go in-depth on all the Things, I guess.

I think anybody who's raised a son is probably pretty familiar with gaming. Around the time my son was 6, he was showing me how to play games, with my strategy being to run as fast as I could, until my turn was over (think Sonic the Hedgehog). His interests and skills grew so fast that I couldn't keep up with it all, plus I just didn't have the reaction time or dexterity (or free time) that gaming seemed to require.

But, it seems like lately, with Guitar Hero, DDR, and the Wii system, there are more games available that anybody can play. They don't all seem to require a great level of expertise anymore, in order to have some fun. Last summer, when extended family got together at the lake, we ended up having a Guitar Hero tournament. Turns out all the cousins had brought their guitars and games along, so there were three generations competing on fake guitars. Talk about entertaining! And I have to confess my husband and I were a little disappointed when our son took his Wii off to college - no more doubles tennis with the neighbors for us!

[Here's an interesting article that appeared in the New York Times on March 22nd: "Taking Play Seriously at the Public Library with Young Video Gamers"]

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