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11/09/2007 Family Family Gamer Article
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Life in the modern family is a challenging experience at the best of times. It is often the furthest thing from the extreme sports ethic of Sony's 'this is living' or the serene collaboration of 'touch generations', or even the connected community of 'live anywhere'. These visions of perfection may work well in their advertising bubbles, but life on the ground in our various red-bricked semi's is a lot more hectic and messy.

Although this is true whatever stage of life you are at, it is more the case once you move towards a partner and a family. Once your other commitments and passions jostle for position, gaming time has to be found on the go and around the to the throw of everyday living. A wet summer's afternoon means the family all ends up in the same room. A bath time means you are sat waiting for your two year old to be ready to get out. Baking some bread means you have an hour while you prove the dough. All these little snippets of life are perfect for slotting in some gaming.

But surely this is what these games consumables are made for, to become part of life. We'll only really be able to tell how successful this generation is when they have been around a while. Once our PS3's have been battered and scratched by various two year olds, our Wii's have had all manner of thin items inserted in their slots and our stylus-less DS's are played with a cocktail stick, only then can we sit back and see how well this generation's gaming project has worked out.

Not long after I bought the Wii, I was banished from the house while there was a girl's night in.

The first step towards this messy utopia is introducing the hardware into the communal space. Although my other half didn't plan to play the Wii all that much, the rhetoric of playing games together in our lounge rather than locked away in bedrooms and studies turned out to be an easy argument to get the little white block under our TV. Nintendo have definitely both got their message right and managed to deliver what they had promised.

Not long after I bought the Wii, I was banished from the house while there was a girl's night in. Without any prompting, they had not only noticed the Wii but spent time taking turns to sculpt each of their Mii's. Obviously not being there myself this is second hand, but it sounded like they had great fun discovering how they saw each other and themselves. The results were pretty impressive, and quickly made their way around our friends Wii's ready for any impromptu gaming that might occur at a later date.

The next day we found that we could have just as much fun modelling Mii's with our kids. It was funny to discover what they thought they looked like, and how important just the right eye separation was to really nail a likeness. The youngest (2) was happy to watch and exclaim whilst his sister (4) quickly got to grips with the Wii-mote pointing as if this was just another one of those skills she needed to learn like writing with a pen or eating with cutlery.

This was one little step along this generation's road for our family, but one we enjoyed taking. Why not join me each week as I mull over the comings and goings in our little clan as we tip-toe towards a game enhanced existence. Listen-in each week as we wrestle with consoles in the lounge and handhelds in the kitchen and bathroom. This, I think you'll find, is really living. This, is playing anywhere, and this is a where the real touch generation is to be found.

Written by Andy Robertson

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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