WARNING: The following contains gamer terminology you may not understand. If you come to something that makes little or no sense to you, just consider it to be something geeky and move onto the next sentence. It may help if you picture these terms being said by a guy with taped thick glasses, a pocket protector, and his pants hiked up to his chest. I can’t help it if you’re not 1337 enough to understand.
Us adults are so lucky. We get to waste entire days away playing online games. Sitting on our numb posteriors, staring at our warm glowing monitors until our eyes dry up… then we remember to blink and we play some more. We play hooky from our jobs, skip school, and ignore housework just so we can be one step closer to gaining that level 42 headdress. You know the one, it has +32 healing chance, +108 armor, a slight increase in hit probability, but unfortunately it also a 36% decrease in hygiene.
Yep, we sure are cool. But what about our children? How are we suppose to be able to watch them and farm spider eggs at the same time? Yeah, you can park them in front of the TV or buy them another Game Boy game. But really, how many times can they watch High School Musical or suffer through yet another Pokemon game. Yeah, that’s right Pikachu, I’m calling you out. What’s with your crazy games being released in pairs anyway? Red & Blue, Silver & Gold, Diamond & Pearl, Milk & Cookies, Goofus & Gallant. I’m tired of it.
It’d be great if we could keep our kids busy with online games too. But the chatrooms ruin that. You never know what elf or wizard might be a pedophile. After all, pedophiles are everywhere nowadays; at the park, at our schools, at the mall, on dateline NBC, on the internets, in my crackerjacks, or on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (AKA the show where every week they somehow manage to come up with another exciting way someone can be raped and murdered, now that’s quality TV.) Last night I shot a pedophile in my pajamas, how he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.
Ironically, if it wasn’t for those darn pedophiles (Those Darn Pedophiles? Isn’t that a sitcom on FOX this fall?) online games would be almost perfect for kids. Kids love video games, it’d keep out of that damn sun that gives them skin cancer, keep them away from the parks where even it almost slightly possible social interaction is waiting for them, and all the people already playing these games seem to have the same mental capability as an eight year old anyway.
But wait! The Canadians have saved the day once again (the other time being when they provided us with Keanu Reeves, I cry every time at the ending of Hardball… or am I thinking of Constantine, I always get those two confused). Canadian company Ganz has provided us with Webkinz. It can best be described as Beanie babies, simple online gaming, and a huge mass of fecal matter mixed together.
Kids can buy a stuffed animal from their favorite Hallmark store and then register it on the Webkinz website where they can now play with a cartoon version of it online. Kids can watch with amazement has they mix three random items to make food for their pets or buy furniture for them to crawl around on. But, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself here.
I just said “buy.” You can buy anything without cash, kinzcash that is (oh snap!). Kinzcash can be earned by playing super simple flash games. Just picture one of those games from Pogo or Yahoo! Games but with an annoying talking animated dog or a farting weasel (alright, alright, there’s no farting weasel, but a boy can dream, can’t he?). If you thought that stupid Microsoft Word animated paper clip that doesn’t mind his own business was annoying, well… those of who have experience the annoying talking webkinz animals have a word for you folk, “virgins.”
And that brings me to the social interaction part. Your kids will be able to meet people in the game and show them the little house you regurgitated for your pet or compete in cooking contest with them. Fortunately for overprotective parents like you, you’ll be happy to hear that Ganz has taking every step to make this experience as kid safe and free from fun as possible. Your kids can talk to them all you like, but don’t expect any real conversation, all chats are limited to whatever you can select from a drop down menu of preselected banter. So, they will not be able to tell anyone, “Hey, your house looks like Goatse,” or “Hey little girl, wanna see my Goatse.” In fact, there’s no references to Goatse at all in this game, and when you come down to it, isn’t that what online gaming all about… well, it isn’t, you sicko.
And your lucky child will be able to this all they’d like for a year, at which point I suppose their pet is placed under virtual house arrest and not allowed any visitors. But not to fret, their pet can be set free for another year with the purchase of another Webinz. Not that’s really that bad of a price to pay, considering popular online games such as Lord of the Rings Online or Everquest cost about $15 a month to play. Of course those two games aren’t horrible, well… not Lord of the Rings anyway. Not that any of this matters, by the time a year rolls around Webkinz will be as popular with your children as a Tamagotchi.
In case your wondering, your pet can’t die, no matter how much you neglect them or treat them poorly. Which means your child isn’t going to really learn any responsibility from Webkinz. But, whatever they do learn from it., it’ll probably be better than any parent who just pawn their kid off onto video games and TV can.