On Screen!

Our house must’ve been one of the few homes in America that did not have a gaming system.  Well, that’s not entirely true. Last Christmas, my husband gleefully brought home his circa 1992 Nintendo gaming console (complete with a vintage Street Fighter cartridge) that had been holed up in his parents’ basement in Ohio for the last 19+ years. Prior to that, our gaming was restricted to sporadic games of solitaire on the PC.

This weekend, all of that changed when my brother and sister bought us an Xbox Kinect.

Sweet heavenly mercy.

Upon opening the box on Christmas morning, my husband set about the business of getting his parents’ media room wired for the Kinect. I saw neither him nor my children for the remainder of the day, save for the 10 minutes they came into the kitchen requesting juice or a roll where I sat watching as many movies alone as I could. From the next room I heard gleeful squeals and doleful requests.

“Git ‘im Daddy!”

“Punch ‘im!”

“My turn!! My turn!!!”

“Can I have a turn please too?”

“How do I do this?”  

I have never been much of a gamer, so I was content to let Marshall and the girls have at it – and so they did…for 9 straight hours.

Yesterday, we left my in-law’s house and arrived in Atlanta after battling icy highway roads and dodging a carcass casserole of dead deer, foxes and dog bodies that littered the roads. It was a 9 hour ordeal.  An hour after we’d been home and gotten a little bit to eat, my kids asked if we could set up the Wii.

“It’s a Kinect,” I retorted. I was irritated from sitting behind a wheel with a water-logged bladder for the last 2 hours of our trip. “Ask your Daddy to set it up. I don’t know how.”

Marshall dutifully rewired all the pieces while I retired upstairs to watch Masterpiece Theater. My viewing was interrupted by thunderous sound effects and kindergarten giggles and screams of WHOA! Marshall trudged up the stairs 20 minutes later, inviting me to come see this game. Apparently, I didn’t move fast or reply enough, and he scurried off before I could say whether or not I’d be joining them. When I got to the living room, Nadjah was on her feet asking about map or some such nonsense. I watched her and Marshall play Kinect Adventures, their arms outstretched while they navigated a phantom row boat. They were both beaming.

“You wanna try, Mommy?”

“Sure. Why not.”

When I was a kid, we had a Nintendo too. My favorite games were Duck Hunt and Tetris. Incidentally, those were my parents’ favorite games as well. They couldn’t quite grasp Super Mario (it was ‘too fast’), and I was always happy to administer a shellacking to my elders, a rush coursing over my by body via an impressive high score.

Kinect is no Tetris.

By the end of the hour my heart rate was up and my biceps were sore. I was actually working out. Well, I would’ve been if I hadn’t popped a 250 calorie laden Ferrero Rocher in my mouth after every session. At 10:30, 2 hours after everyone’s bedtime, I found myself wired and thinking about the Kinect all night. What games would I purchase for it? When could I sneak in time to play? Who could I compete against?!? I see the beginning of compulsive behavior.

My siblings and I are geeks in cool kids clothing (although I’m far cooler). The one thing I’m looking forward to is kinecting with them via the TV with the chat option, just like that do on Star Trek. How frikkin’ cool is that? I have to get my burgundy Capt. Picard unitard, complete with a Star Fleet insignia. If I’m to parley with my peers and shout “On screen!” to my subordinates, it’s imperative to look the part, is it not?