The other day, Charmander said something odd to me:
“I love Angry Birds; I play it all the time. But sometimes, I play Plants Vs. Zombies.”
This is a lie. I have no idea why he would say that to me. It should be reversed. In this house, it’s PvZ on a schedule, and if for some reason the oldest has managed to tire out from it from an abnormally long screen time run, he might switch to Angry Birds for a few minutes. He does like playing real life Angry Birds with his brother, which involves removing all the cushions from the couch and hurling themselves into said cushions, but that game has kind of been completely banned. Real life play is more full of PvZ influence, anyway. But let’s back up a moment.
Husbachu and I are the ones who innocently introduced our children to the world of gardening against the undead. Some time in a distant, cloudy, memory, Husbachu had played the game on PC, although I don’t recall if he completed it. We both thought it was a cute and interesting game. Skip forward a few years, and a friend got us a copy for the PS3. As somewhat responsible parents, in terms of exposing our children to video games, we were happy that this was a game we felt was safe to play in front of the young ones. I mean, I guess it can be construed as dark, what with the brain eating and the plants are technically shooting the zombies, which is something you’re officially not supposed to let your kids see, but it’s with veggies, so what-evs. Charmander enjoyed watching us play occasionally on a non-fanatical level, and he loved the ending theme, as well he should. When we were done playing the game, we were done playing the game, and it seemed like we were all moving on with our lives.
Theeeeen, one day, (actually, one week), Plants Vs. Zombies was suddenly free to download on iOS, and if it’s free, then it’s for me! So I downloaded it; it had some new achievements to unlock; seemed like a good deal. Well, now it was on a device that was easy for Charmander to use. I even showed him it was there. And he learned to play it. Eventually, he even beat it. I did not beat any games when I was a 4 year old, so I was impressed. Plants Vs Zombies 2 came out, and I downloaded it, thinking I was going to play it, but he played it. He still plays it. Every. Day. Sometimes, he deletes the save file for the first game so he can start it all over and playit again. And at night, he watches YouTube videos of other people playing it(More on that another time. I actually kind of feel like it’s better than watching, say, Mickey Mouse Club. At least he’s learning strategy, instead of bad adventure game logic). It is always Plants Vs. Zombies in this house. It was the theme of his 5th birthday party, and he’s looking to have it be the theme of his 6th as well (But time will tell…) And it permeates his and Squirtle’s real world play waaaay more than Angry Birds does. And yes, I am clearly an enabler. They didn’t do these print-outs themselves:
I will talk more about that next time, though. Right now, my kids are doing something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES, and I have to go see it before it’s too late.