We enjoyed visiting relatives this weekend to celebrate a child’s tenth birthday. These relatives live far enough away that our visits are a big event for all of us.
This ten-year-old is computer aware, Internet enabled and shows the unmistakable signs of buyer sophistication that comes with access to the world of digitized information. He knows the prices and specifications of every new LEGO offering, along with every coupon, rebate, and money-saving package deal applying to the few LEGO models he doesn’t have.
When he receives a present, he knows exactly how much effort went into finding and purchasing it. As a result, he was duly appreciative of his gift from us because we had done our research well and found him the LEGO Viking ship which was not available anywhere in his local area.
It is only a matter of time before he starts dealing on EBay, trading some of his vast collection of older game cartridges and LEGO systems in order to purchase new games and LEGO models as they become available.
Like many youthful game players, he plays games of bewildering complexity that require incredibly fast reaction times. I watch him sit for hours, eyes intent on the screen, with fingers blurring as he controls the destiny of characters acting out violent dramas in one alternate reality after another.
He has memorized the combination of weaponry, charms and playing tips which will let him make his way through many levels of difficult video games. He will go on-line to seek out "cheats" and secret keys to make his way through those game levels which are not solvable by logic alone.
He may take weeks to solve certain difficult games and will be working on several of them during the same time period along with a continuous construction of complex LEGO figures.
I watch him fit this in with school and life in the real world and realize that he is actually in training for a career as a project manager, if not a game designer!
His creative activity is being enhanced by access to a vast world of related information. There is no telling what will happen when he discovers blogging. He will probably discover a universe of game bloggers or LEGO experts like himself.
The possibilities are endless. He is already interested in game design and mentioned reading about a college that offers courses in game design.
As I write this, he is playing Star Wars Battlefront II and is explaining the appeal and problems of this particular release to me as he plays. For example, your weapons can overheat, you can play on any team, and they have tons of new vehicles…