Sunday, December 27, 2009

Risks and Rewards

Sometimes I think life is nothing more than a series of gambles – and that really, no matter how “educated” your guess may be, push come to shove, the final outcome is just as random as a toss of the dice across a swatch of worn green felt in a seedy, smoky gambling den.

I made a gamble this Christmas. I bet my last-ditch shot at Mother of the Year that the Denizens would rather get a Wii (which nobody had asked for, because they knew it would be a waste of breath) than anything that was actually on their assorted lists.

It was an educated guess. After all, it had been pointed out many, many, many times that we did not, in fact, own a gaming system of any sort. (That Mommy Dearest had stolen the only computer capable of playing any video game produced after 1982 and locked it up in her own bedroom / office / video gaming den of iniquity was also pointed out, repeatedly, but unfortunately they kept mentioning this in my deaf ear so I couldn’t hear them.)

It had also been pointed out that Everybody Else© had one. A Playstation, or an Xbox, or a GameCube or a Something Awesome™ or a Wii or something. EVERYBODY else. Everybody. The entire world? Has them.

According to the Denizens, even the children you see on those commercials late at night, the ones who go to bed hungry wearing rags and no shoes in the snow…they go to bed after an hour or so of Playstation because, Everybody Else©?

They have one.

Only we, poor deprived souls that we are, still staggered on through life, gaming-system-less.

I’d looked at a lot of things and finally decided I liked two things about the Wii: It seemed to have more previously-owned games at Gamestop for $10, and it involves moving. Taking a golf swing, running, dancing, all that kind of stuff.

I figure that’s got to be better than the games where you sit on the couch fiddling with sixty-seven tiny buttons while the rest of your body sits tense and still for whackity-majillion hours while your mother is working upstairs. (I’d like to pretend that the Wii isn’t going to be my babysitter this week while the babysitter is taking time off I don’t get to take myself, but let’s not end this year lying to each other – I am totally relying on the Wii and am even going to move my our game-playing computer back out to the student center so whoever can’t play on the Wii can play Actual Video Games instead of the circa-1980-something educational stuff the other machines can play.)

So, what was the gamble here? Well, the Wii itself was a little over half my entire Christmas budget soooooooooo…everybody got a lot fewer things, and I don’t think anybody got anything that was actually on their list.

So Christmas morning came, and the Denizens collected their candy and knick-knacks from Santa, and then they turned their attention to the presents under the tree.

I think Boo Bug opened the first Wii game…which she assumed was a DS game.

“Oh, thank you, mommy! It’s Animal Crossing! Yay!”

Eldest peered at the box (trying to decide if she wanted to steal it from her little sister, who hasn’t yet cottoned on to her ways and still lets her “borrow just for a second” her games an awful lot) and said, “Oh, wait, mommy? This isn’t a DS game – it’s for a Wii.”

“Oh, ya?” I said innocently. “Well, crud. OK, fine, well…we’ll deal with that later.” {snicker-snicker}

About this point, Danger Mouse opens up Raving Rabbids…and all the girls sort of froze for a second (Captain Adventure was oblivious)…

And then they went nuckin’ FUTZ trying to find IT.


She shoots, she scores!

Even Captain Adventure loves the thing. Of course, he loves games of all kinds and can be bribed into using the dreaded potty with the promise of Playstation time at the babysitter’s, so I suppose that’s no real surprise.

I have to threaten them with bodily harm to get them away long enough to eat something. I’ve had to use Very Firm Mommy Voice and Dire Threats of No More All Day Tomorrow to get them to bed at night.

It’s brilliant.

Reminds me of the year my brother and I received an Atari, actually. We hoped and prayed and asked Santa and Grandma and Grandpa and the neighbors and pestered mom and dad and left advertisements for the thing lying around and brought it up at dinner for weeks but didn’t really think we’d get one – it was one of those things that seemed to us completely out of range.

We had a budget when I was a kid, too, and The Lady My Mother wasn’t known for blowing out the budget on things like video games, for carp’s sake.

But she did, and we had to be threatened with bodily harm to get us to the dinner table, and we fought over it incessantly and I think one of my eyeballs actually did melt out of my head once due to spending waaaaaay too many hours defeating the Space Invaders (here’s the World War IX flying ace, swooping out to defend the helpless villagers…), oh yeah.

High watermark Christmas, that one.

I hope this one will be that way for the Denizens, that years later they’ll stand around eating Christmas dinner together watching their kids opening their presents and remind each other about That Year, when they got the Wii…oh stars, remember those things…?

I hope they get to have a Christmas gamble that pays off, too.

It feels pretty awesome when you manage to get one thing that all six of us love. (I promise, and I really mean it, that I won’t sneak it up into my bedroom and keep it all for myself. Much.)


Science PhD Mom said...

Good job on the "WOW" gift! We love playing Raving Rabbids & Wii Sports on the Wii--our kids are too young to play some of the games but they love watching us. That game in particular is pretty entertaining after a few glasses of wine--look out! Glad you & yours enjoyed your Christmas.

Jenn C. said...

Congrats on a well played gamble! I hope the Wii high lasts all week for you!

Emma said...

Last year was our year of the Wii ! Best present ever, it just keeps giving. DS loves it, uses it every day, and can be threatened with it's withdrawal to eat fruit, clean teeth, try some cabbage, behave, etc. It has really improved his spatial awareness and hand eye co-ordination. That's the main reason we got it. There have been a couple of studies that show benefits to those with cerebral palsy.
Then of course, it solves present giving problems. This year, three new games and a steering wheel thingy.
Wishing you and yours all the best for 2010.

p.s. Have you checked your physical age on Wii sport yet ? Tee hee !

Kere said...

Okay, I have to tell you... Two Christmases ago, my niece person became part of Everyone Else and got a Wii. We do extended family living together thing rather well. At various times in my live, I've lived with the grands, my cousins, my sister's family and my parents. We're just silly/traditional that way. Anyhoo! Two years ago, The Kid got a Wii. Last year, my mom got her own Wii because the two of them (Grandma and grandkid) were having turf wars over it. My sister's favorite maneuver for Wii-time was to wait until the turf war began then sneak in a grab it while they were distracted... And even among The Kid and the Eight Grade Mafia, the "get up and move your tush games" are more popular than "sit down and shoot" ones. If you've got to have a gaming system, the Wii is the way to go. I'd trade my Xbox for a Wii except that means that my spinning wheels and all their attendant "stuff" couldn't live in the living room....

Decisions decisions....

If Nintendo ever comes up with a Spinning Wheel game I'm so screwed.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of guessing that losing Wii privs for not using the potty will clear that little problem up tout suite ....

Michelle Hill said...

Congrats on the Wii! They’re awesome fun and really good exercise (when used)!

The Wii Fit will guilt you, though. It keeps asking my husband, “So, where’s Mish?” And my Mii is standing alongside my husband’s, but its head is down and it’s snoring… :)

JanTink said...

Phew! That's a relief! Because, unbeknownst to you, there was actually one MORE family that didn't have a gaming system and that one was ours. We had rented the Wii a number of times to see what it was like and if it was really something we wanted to invite into our home. My husband has been rabidly anti-video game for years, having seen the effects in the classroom. But after observing the kids with it, we decided that it was in the budget this year, as long as during the school year, it was not running every moment the kids are home. There will be limits (famous last words!)

Anyway, we did not put the Wii and it's assorted clobber out with the rest of the presents. We figured we'd let them open and express appreciation for the rest of what they got before we'd haul the major portion of their Christmas bootie out. Otherwise, other gifts would be lost in the universal stampede to hook the Wii up to the television.

My husband, if he had had his way, would have strung them along for hours. The idea was to, once they said, "No Wii?" (there had been discussions about the possibility of MAYBE getting a Wii. maybe) we would say, "Oh...gee...did we leave something in the closet?" Then he would go and get it all. But he wanted to make them wait and frankly, I just couldn't.

So there were screams of joy and yes, they have already fought over it. I bought extra controllers so they all could play at once and they still don't all play at once, mostly because some of the games aren't programmed that way and also because older sisters seem to have overwhelming antipathy to playing with their younger brother. But so good...they have not actually killed one another over the Wii....yet.

But shhhhhh...don't tell the two whose birthdays are in January and February about the DS lites waiting in the closet for them....I wouldn't want them to think we were SOFT or sumthin'! ;-) But it is good to know that the last two hold-out families on the face of the planet both fell at the same time.

Steph B said...

Good for you! We love our Wii - one thing my kids will all do together, and there's something for everyone. In fact, we took ours to my Mom's over Christmas and just about had heart attacks laughing at each other trying to "hula hoop" on the Wii Fit. Let's just say some of us don't groove like we used to! You guys will have a ball with it.