I saw a prompt that asked “If you could un-invent one thing, what would it be?” I’m sure many people would disagree, but I would un-invent gaming systems.
I remember my first gaming system. It was an Atari system and I got for Christmas. The Atari 2600 was already out by that time, but I didn’t care. It was just cool to have a gaming system. I think I played PAC Man on that thing for nearly four hours straight. Why do I want to in-invent them since I like playing so much? I think it eventually destroyed a lot social skills and community I grew up in. At least at the arcade, we still mingled with friends and met new people – improving our social skills. And no, school isn’t enough because the public education system stifle creativity, awards conformity, and enables classism (but that’s another whole post).
You probably guessed I’m a Gen-X. The vast majority of my childhood – especially during the summer, was spent outdoors. We had pick up games of softball, basketball, or kickball. Other times, when you came down our street, you would see girls jumping double-dutch, smaller kicks playing hop-scotch, and the guys most likely trying to create weapons to defend the forts we built. We even had dance contest that everybody participated in. We rode our bikes everywhere – I rarely asked my mom or dad to give me a ride, including across town. We had no fear of going out anywhere.
We all felt safe being out all day because we could go to any house in a two radius and be treated like family. Both of my parents worked, our neighbors had their backs – and they had permission to discipline us! Why? Because they loved us like we were their own. We all walked to the same church that was centered in our community – no one had to walk more than a block.
I noticed that the more advanced the gaming systems became, the less kids spent outside. We went over to each other’s houses to play them, but the time was limited. I guess our parents loved the free time they got when we were all playing outside all day. Our conversations started changing as well. Instead of planning our own creations, we talked about the latest graphic improvements or how “real” the games looked. These realistic virtual worlds have disconnected reality for far too many – especially men.
All the social activities down my street eventually vanished. It seemed that everything basically moved indoors. I’m thankful the real take off of the gaming systems happened at the end of my childhood. I hope and pray there are still neighborhoods out there like the one I grew up in. If not, I honestly feel that un-inventing gaming systems would be a step in the right direction for them to start forming again.