he topic has been going in and out of public minds for
several years now. The two most recent occasions - Congress' picking on
Sega CD Night Trap and now the news media's picking on Doom II - both
essentially dealt with the same problem; are video games bad for your children?
As us NES children know, the answer is: Definitely!
Some of us with good memories might remember the news stories that came along
with the NES craze. I remember Philadelphia's NBC local news station running this wild
advertisement for its own "video scare" segment, showing a kid playing through world
8-3 of Super Mario Bros. while an announcer blared on about "The new
Nintendo mania! Your children are crazy about it - but is it safe for them? Find
out tonight at 11, only on KYW Eyyyyyye.. WITness News!" Guess what - I think
they used the same recording for "The new Internet craze" and "The new violent
computer games craze"...
But couldn't you see some of the ill effects on the kids you hung out with? Especially
if you were like me and went to a day camp with a few NESes set up in the rec-hall
building. The counselors all had a sheet of paper discussing the special needs of the
children in their domain.. and there would always be one child with the subheading
"No Nintendo - encourage outdoor play".
And you could guess what kind of kid he (always he) was. Short, wore tank tops or
Vision Street Wear, double chin, maybe a cool "buzz cut" that looked more like his
mother simply took a razor to his head, maybe some Jams that didn't match his
shirt. If everyone was playing soccer, he would always try to be goalie so he wouldn't
have to run around as much. And, of course, he would always be trying to sneak into
the rec hall to play some Nintendo.
Remember back when your toaster NES worked? None of the ones at this camp ever did -
you, the player, would have to do a big bad wolf impersonation on the cart connector to
even have a chance. Naturally, the camp had the same old games, year in year out -
Gotcha, Stinger, Star Voyager which no one could understand. But this kid, the kid who was supposed to be outside playing, would bring his own carts (I imagine he had his NES taken away at home). That's how I got introduced to games like Castlevania and, you know, WCW Wrestling, and other sports games that were taylor-made for that atmosphere. Even Major League Baseball is fun when playing it with 6 other screaming kids.
When camp ended, though, no noticeable effect could ever be seen on the No NES kid. If anything he seemed slightly pudgier as you never saw him in the pool and he always skipped out on canoeing trips and the like. And although no one such kid stayed another year - presumably his parents devised some other torture for him - there would be another of the breed to replace him next summer.
People in the US can talk about guns and crap being a major problem, but I think - and
this will probably be the NES' greatest legacy - the number one problem is that the kids of today are getting fat right from the start via video games and shit food. That's |tsr's One Point Advice for this column - While playing your NES, try to keep it to three slices of
pizza a night, OK?