My advice? Don’t start them. Ever.

Obviously I don’t take my own advice, because we are big into the video games. It all started on a trip from the States. I bought my son a Nintendo DS and a Mario Brothers game, hoping to keep him happy. It worked. Then….when we arrived in Japan, I took the Nintendo DS and hid it away. We didn’t get it back until the next trip to the States. This worked pretty well in the early years, but now my son is eleven….He found my hiding place long ago. Yes. We are a gaming family.

Here are my reviews.

Nintendo DS (DSi, 3DS) Great for travelling on airplanes. Not so great once you arrive. The child stares at that little screen and is lost in a world of his own. Another child’s brain sacrificed to the gods of Nintendo.

Wii, Wii U–I actually don’t mind the Wii. My son and I play together, so we converse a lot. It is a good bonding experience. And now I now more than I ever wanted to know about the world of Mario……

Club Penguin–Do not start this money sucker! It is crazy expensive. We started because my aunt gave my son a video game and it said, “Go to ClubPenguin.com” Um, so we did. Yeah, it is fun. But expensive. (And let’s face…nobody wants to play on the free level. You wanna be a member!) Plus I worry about penguins who are actually forty year old men who live in their basement and do gods knows what.

Minecraft–My son has just recently started playing this on the PC. He has been wanting to for a long, long time. I wouldn’t purchase the game for him, but finally (yes, I am a pushover!) I did. To be honest, I am pleased with it. As video games go, it’s cool and creative, and again inspires conversation between me and my son. And, honestly who does not love those retro graphics? 1982 all the way, man!

Ipad–I’ve found the Ipad to be a pain in the ass. We have one, but no more Wifi, so it just sort of sits there. Unloved.

Well, there you have it, folks. It looks like my son will join the computer club next year (starting April, the final year for him of elementary school.) I have forbidden it until now. But I figure sixth grade is the time to do what he really wants. And besides I peeked into the Computer club and it looked so much better than my son’s current club, the Science club. My son’s very interested in computers, so that is something that is good, right?! It worked for Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.