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DS Imagination Stagnation

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DS Imagination Stagnation Blog

DS Imagination Stagnation

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Jamie Collins

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In our journey into videogames from board games our first decision was not to get a DS. The main reason was the idea that the kids would disappear to their own bedrooms for solitary play.

Their bedrooms are naturally available for play - and tends to be the location of soft toys, glove puppets and dressing up - where imaginary play takes place. The soft toys currently hold daily sessions Parliament (on the top bunk, naturally), where the pre-ministers and prime ministers legislate on such matters as the design of the gold medals they will be awarding themselves (really, where do they get such ideas from?)

We don't really have mutually exclusive Grown up and Kid rooms in our house. When I was young I could either play in my bedroom or at the far end of the living room which strict instructions to tidy up immediately afterwards, with threats of Lego being vacuumed up as motivation.

For my kids, the only parts of our house deemed Out of Bounds as regards play are the parents' bedroom and doorways. We leave it to cold floors and spiders keep the kids away from the more inappropriate areas such as the W.C. and the storeroom.

We have a relatively large kitchen with dining area, which is essentially the Family Room. It has the largest uninterrupted area of floor space. When I cook, the area between the work surface, cooker, fridge and bin is a no-go zone: don't even try accessing the cutlery drawer uninvited. Yet I often have to negotiate a network of Brio railway, trying not to spill tomato sauce on the wooden track. I am totally fine with this. The chances are I helped build it - I hate unconnected loops.

The dining table is my preferred place for board games when playing with the whole family. Admittedly I'm a bit precious about my board games and will not tolerate lost or broken pieces and definitely no crumbs or spilled drinks. When playing with just adults, the ambiance of the lounge is to be preferred: all furniture pushed back, game in the middle of the rug, pull up a beanbag.

The space under the stairs is open and lined with shelves stuffed with the kids' toys, hence the hallway is de facto the kids' playroom. Stepping over Barbies, My Little Pony, Playmobil and the like is an everyday hazard. We are generally fine with this, as long as there is a semblance of a path through. Play will often spill through into the lounge, which is again fine put we need the room for adult time in the evening. Having the toys pushed back under the line of the stairs counts as 'put away' by bedtime (though a 'proper put away' will be required eventually, of course).

Both girls tend to play imaginary games together, something we want to enable for as long as possible. Typically both bedrooms will end up looking 'trashed' by then end of the day. Guitar practice and bedtime stories need to be accommodated, so a timely comprehensive tidy up is required and, as long as they get help, the parents don't mind helping out.

It only just struck me that we've never once played an organised game of Hide and Seek in the house (we often spontaneously hide just to freak each other out, of course). This needs rectifying.

So the consideration and bargaining continues as we try and find a comfortable way to enter the electronic age.

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Guest review by Jamie Collins

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Jamie Collins wrote this Board Gamer article under the watchful eye of Ed Stephens.

"In a world of ever advancing technology, where gaming is often synonymous with consoles, I'm here to take a different approach and look at board games."

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