My three oldest boys and I have decided to go through a documentary together: Video Games: The Movie created by Jeremy Snead. It’s from a project I backed on kickstarter and I knew full well that when it was finally released that it would be something that I would have to share with my kiddos.
It’s a documentary on the past, present and future of games, why we play them, the people who create them and so on. It is by far a great opportunity to reminisce on my childhood as a gamer while exposing my kids to the why, how, who and what of gaming / games. There are loads of things we can learn from the industry and where it has been and where it’s going. I feel that video games are essentially the comic book of the 20th century a new medium by which we can both tell and pass stories along to future generations.“
Take the following from some games. Most likely you’ll know exactly which games they are from:
Thank you, Mario, but our princess is in another castle!
Get over here!
Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and shine.
I bet you can guess at least 1 or 2 of those quotes. Why is that? My thought is that you probably love games, much like most of us do. You might also be looking for a way to share that love with your kiddos – why not take some time and watch and talk about something you and the gang can both relate to: A movie about video games!
Overall there is no bad language and most of the games are shown in such away as to avoid getting the movie rated higher than PG (I assume). A couple of the people being interviewed had some questionable garb on but nothing that was to revealing and those moments blink by. Also the game play that is captured do have some violence but I do not recall any blood or extended violence (interestingly, the movie discusses the question of violence in video games really well). I would recommend watching it a head of time to get an idea of the content and also to get a list of discussion points to toss around while the kiddos are shouting out the titles of the games as they fly by.
How to watch it
I know my kiddos, just as I am sure you do as well. This movie is 105 minutes long so I decided that I would break the watching of this up unto 4 parts roughly 30 minutes each. That way they do not become overwhelmed and zone out and by doing it that way we could also get some time in for discussion and some journaling.
My best advise is to not ramble on with the discussion but rather let them lead it by simply saying “What did you think about that?” Also we will be watching the 4 parts over the course of a week any longer and I will lose them.
I generally will carry around a Field notes book or a makers notebook. I do this because I tend to forget things and/or have thoughts that just pop into my head. I always imagined looking into my head might be akin to looking at a facebook stream – painful and exciting all at the same time, at least it feels that way. I use notebooks to quickly jot down or journal ideas or questions. My wife and I have our kiddos do the same; often the have some of the most extraordinary thoughts or questions.
So, not all 5 of my kiddos are watching this with me just the 3 oldest (ages between 6-9). SO I have the two oldest draw a picture and then write a few sentences about what they experienced and then have the youngest draw a picture detailing something that he was real interested in. Keep it simple or it will end up being a beating for both you and them.
Use what they write and draw to guide the conversations as you watch the movie and then sit back and watch how the light up when the realize that their thoughts are part of the discussion. It’s a great way to get them involved and excited about talking about their ideas – obviously watching a movie about video games helps as well.
Go get the movie, wrangle up the kiddos and start a discussion. There is a reason we love these crazy things called video games, why not share and rediscover that excitement with the next generation of creators and gamers!