Angry Birds- it’s the latest (addictive craze). I admit it- I love Angry Birds. When I finished the regular levels, I moved on to Angry Birds Seasons, and Angry Birds Rio.
At times, Ryan and Cole would see me playing and ask what I was doing. I showed them the game, and it and wasn’t too long after they were asking me if they could play Angry Birds. As a kid, the first real video game I played was Atari Pong. My brother and I would bounce that dot between the rectangles what seemed like for hours, and we had so much fun. Thinking back on it, I doubt kids today would even spend 10 minutes on Pong. Our society moves too fast now- there’s lights, colors, graphics, and noises everywhere- video games included. Simple video games like Pong, had their time, and it’s over.
That being said, I think Angry Birds can teach kids a little bit about physics and resolve. The boys didn’t want to stop until they had gotten all the pigs, and had gotten three stars on every level. They high fived and cheered when one of them achieved this, and they reminded me of my brother and I. Except they were crouched over a phone screen, instead of laying on the living room floor, looking at a TV set. Nevertheless, it was fun seeing them play a “video” game together.
It’s been several weeks since they have played Angry Birds. We are so busy at night with homework, and when homework is done, the boys have wanted to spend the last few precious minutes of daylight at the park, riding their bike, scooter, and playing with their friends.
A few days ago, we were hanging out on Sunday morning, and Cole asked me (make that begged) me if he could play Angry Birds. “Please Mommy, please- can I play Angry Birds?” I let Cole play, and within a few minutes Ryan had joined him, and they were working on the levels. I started doing some chores and before I knew it, 30 minutes had passed. I told the boys they had been playing the game long enough, and it was time to stop. They objected and asked if they could keep playing. I told them no, and they weren’t happy. They didn’t exactly throw a fit, but they went in their room and shut the door.
I assumed they were moping, and discussing what a mean mom they had. A few minutes later I heard a thump. Then another one, laughing, and a “Ryan, I know what will make this even better-dynamite!” Whenever you hear a phrase like that as a mother of boys, you go a running to check. It’s second nature by now. It’s like the mother drill: No questions asked, you just go- the sooner the better.
In their room, I assessed the situation. I saw Cole setting up their blocks around stuffed animals. Ryan was stringing a rubber band across his dresser knobs, about 3 feet away from the animals and blocks, and he was holding a pencil. I have seen a lot of funny, odd, weird, etc., things my boys have done, but I had no idea what they were up to.
“Look Mom, since you won’t let us play Angry Birds anymore, we made our own real life Angry Birds.” Ryan told me, as he lined up his pencil, through the rubber band. “This is the slingshot.”
“These are blocks and pigs, but this game is really called Angry Stuffed Animals.” Cole informed me.
Thump! Ryan let the pencil go, it hit the top of his bed frame, which was the backdrop. It landed on the block, and it grazed an “angry” pink dinosaur.
The boys squealed in delight. They laughed and did it again. And again. They knocked down the blocks, and angry stuffed animals- monkeys, dinosaurs, and giraffes. They arranged the blocks, Angry Stuffed Animals in various ways, and in different patterns and they would work on shooting the pencil from their “slingshot” until they knocked down all the animals and blocks. When they succeeded they said they had earned three stars, and constructed a new level.
They played Angry Stuffed Animals for an hour. I think they had more fun too. My brother and I never tried to construct Pong in real life, but we would play tennis. As I left their room to their laughing, it occurred to me as much as things change, they stay the same. Video games keep progressing and in any generation are fun, but they can never take the place of real life imaginings.
I have a new favorite “video” game. It doesn’t have fancy music and sounds, and it isn’t found in an app store. It has laughter, fun, excitement and creativity. It is found in the imagination of my boys, and that makes it the perfect game.
Angry Stuffed Animals