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Boys At Play: The New Video Gaming Slumber Parties

Slumber parties just aren’t what they used to be. When I was a teenager, my best friend and I spent every weekend night together (until the parental units decided enough was enough). We giggled and talked – watched some TV and listened to some music – but mostly we giggled and talked. This was in the post Pong era – you could play Centipede and Space Invaders at an arcade, as long as you had quarters, and there were home versions of Pacman, but video games were still a novelty, not the all consuming obsession that they are to teens today. The games are like Pkv games where you can find wide variety of amazing poker games. The graphics, the concepts, the designs and even the entire feature are truly amazing. Kids will certainly love these games. They will also never run out of games in a slumber party.

Last night I witnessed the “new” slumber party. Three adolescent boys joined my own sixteen-year-old son for a night of gaming. Everyone brought a computer – both desk tops and lap tops. The desk tops all had enormous monitors, so bringing them over was no picnic. They set up their computers on our kitchen table, and proceeded to engage in a game of “Sins of a Solar Empire,” which lasted until 3 am. I guess it was the equivalent of actually finishing a game of Monopoly.

As far as I could tell they never left the table, except to eat. My husband asked me later why they didn’t take a page from my 13 year old, who conducts all his social activities via Ventrilo, and play the game from their own houses? But I noticed that there was something evocative of a conversation in the air, and an almost military sense of camaraderie. It’s good for them to practice working together to solve problems and accomplish larger goals, right???

My son later told me that they were playing on a LAN connection using a router which was faster than playing over the internet, so there actually was some advantage to being physically together. Basically, they set up an improptu network in our breakfast nook – who says kids today aren’t developing marketable skills?

I also caught a glimpse of the awkwardness of adolescent boys, and their preposterous bravado as they try to fit themselves into a man’s skin. Only one computer had speakers, from which a female voice gave a running play by play of the game. After several hours of her annoying chatter (imagine if your car spoke to you incessantly as you were driving, “You have 12.3 gallons of gas remining,” “You have 12.2 gallons of gas remaining.”), one kid started hurling creative retorts at her. “Why don’t you go make me a sandwich B****?,” he snapped. I thought to myself, try saying that to a real woman, sweetie, you might find that sandwich entering a different orifice than you had envisioned.

They’re actually very sweet though, when they’re operating in the physical plane. They put their plates away after dinner and thank me for having them over as they are leaving. The cyber world gives them a chance to be someone else for awhile with the powers of a super hero and the fate of whole worlds in their hands. Come to think of it, the fate of this world will be in their hands some day, won’t it?