Last week, I had lunch with my friend, Hugh Spencer, a writer and designer of museum and public educational exhibitions. He told me an amazing story about his son and games, and I asked him to write it up for Boing Boing:
This is a picture of my amazing youngest son Evan. He's 13, he's
holding a game controller and looking at a glowing screen and he's
doing what he does a lot of — diving into digital realms of
His latest favourite game is Call of Duty – which he plays on-line
with his friends. Evan's wanting to play C of D was something of a
challenge for us. It's rated T and he's only just a teenager and
point and shoot first person games worry me some. Evan is
relentlessly reasonable sometimes — he outlined why he wanted to play
the game and he was pretty upfront why he knew my "parent-sense" would
start tingling. So I had to be reasonable too. I looked at the game.
I've done a lot of research for military museums so I could tell that
the content was accurate — but there was lots of shooting and blowing
things up. But there was a fair bit of that during World War II. So
it was undeniable that Evan was experiencing history and there was
this teamwork factor…
So we compromised. Well, sort of.
I asked Evan to google the Geneva Convention. Then he had to read it
and then we had to discuss it. This we did. So the deal is that Evan
has to fight according to the rules of the Geneva Convention. If his
team-mates violate the Convention then play stops and Call of Duty
goes away for a while.
We'll see how it goes, but Evan keeps his word. Especially about his games.