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My 3-year-old son’s odd love affair with GTA 4

May 19, 2008

My son is deeply in love with GTA 4. I am not exaggerating one bit to say he carried it around all last night and even brought it to bed with him. It’s even replaced his favorite bear. He’s never played the game, though. It’s still in shrink wrap, in fact.

Witness happiness:

You can see good ol’ GTA 4 right there in his hands. It has everything he likes on the cover – police cars, helicopters and motorcycles. There’s even someone with a lollipop. He saw the game, and though he gets that he can’t play it, that he’s too little, that it’s mine and that I got it for work, he doesn’t want to let it go. For him and for now, the package is enough. He’ll play it when he grows up which in his world is somewhere just after next week.

I wonder where the little boy games are that would allow him to play a police officer and drive all over a city arresting bad guys?

So, like I said, he took the package to bed with him last night. In the morning, he got out of bed and carried the game out to the kitchen. It got the prized position next to his cereal bowl where his teddy bear usually rests.

“Time for me to go, Donovan. Can I have my game, please?”

He starts to cry. Hard. Real tears. I mean, I want to play the game and all, but dude, this is killing me. Then, an idea strikes – I go into my office and grab GTA 3. He’s 3, right? Maybe he won’t notice the difference? He does.

We talk for a while, and I explain that I have to take the game, but that it’s going to a good place. Ultimately, we do trade for GTA 3. It’s not in shrink wrap, but at least it has a poster.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2008 5:19 pm

    I always thought the GTA artwork was pretty good – universal appeal, in most cases, of well done stylised drawings. It’s also surprising how close the characters look to their celebrity counterparts (when they have them match up in game). Thumbs up from me and Donovan I guess šŸ™‚

  2. May 19, 2008 6:01 pm

    Adorable post, but that post = total media fodder.

    Mother lets three year old son “play” with GTA IV! News at eleven!

  3. May 19, 2008 7:44 pm

    As long as the news is at 11, he’ll be asleep and won’t see it. Besides, “Mother removed game from 3-year-old son and replaced it with Teddy Bear.” šŸ™‚

  4. May 20, 2008 4:26 am

    šŸ™‚ Cutie!

    hope you are enjoying the game!

  5. May 20, 2008 11:29 am

    If he grows up to become a helicopter pilot, motorcyclist or policeman, don’t say Jack Thompson didn’t warn you.

  6. May 20, 2008 11:36 am

    That’s a great picture!

    My daughter got a hold of my copy of Def Jam: Fight for NY once and it took a pair of butterfly princess wings and a stuffed Barney to get it back.

  7. Chris permalink
    May 21, 2008 1:27 am

    If you have some shrink-wrap handy, you can just take the dvd and instruction booklet (if you need it…) out of the case, re-wrap it, and give it back to him!

  8. Dave permalink
    May 21, 2008 12:28 pm

    Chris beat me to the advice I was going to offer, and I bet you already thought of it anyway.

    Delightful anecdote with none-too-subtle content for the Marketing Dept. šŸ™‚

  9. Courtney permalink
    May 21, 2008 2:54 pm

    This is not at all productive in terms of continuing the conversation, but I just wanted to say that your son is adorable!

  10. JCaskey permalink
    May 22, 2008 2:11 am

    something like this crossed my mind a few days ago. I can’t imagine what it must be like for kids who either know of a great game and can’t play it, or who are oblivious to its existence, who end up playing an even better, future iteration of it.

    For gamers like me, we know of the existence of GTA1, and we know it was just as great in its own time. But what about your son? It’s easy enough to deduce its existence, but how could he know it’s a good game, and would he even want to play it?

    I guess what I’m getting at is that it’s hard to imagine being newly exposed to video games in this generation with the kind of technology we have now, as opposed to when it was a brand new thing and growing up with it. I think its interesting to think about growing up with the medium, versus how different it must be for someone being born into the world when it is already an established medium.

    Perhaps your thoughts on this are even more clear, having been around for the creation of the very first video games, and old enough to understand them.

    P.S. I’m curious about how you decide when they’ll be able to play it. Will you go by ESRB suggestion, your own system, or some other less objective approach?

  11. May 22, 2008 10:32 am

    @JCaskey – I think that young people will be inspired by what is available today. Some may not understand what the big deal is about Pong as an example. But that will not be a barrier to the creation of the next-next-next generation of game systems.

    I’m looking forward to the kind of games/experiences that will be designed by our children.

  12. JCaskey permalink
    May 23, 2008 12:40 am

    Oh I completely agree, I just think it’s interesting that when kids now discover games, there’s a history to it. We grew up with games, so to us it’s less like history and more like a part of life.

  13. May 23, 2008 11:45 am

    I can completely relate to that and I seriously laughed out loud when I read this. My 3 year old does the same thing with Lego Star Wars: Original Trilogy, but he doesn’t have a problem giving it up (maybe because he knows that it’s just a box for the game and what he really wants comes from some magical combination of the box and the television).

    Awesomely cute story!

  14. danwilkins permalink
    May 23, 2008 7:28 pm

    Haha, really cute.

    My buddy Christian has a 3 year old daughter. But she knows exactly whats going on as far as her hanging onto the game case goes. If she wants her dad or mom to play a different game, she steals the game, puts it back in it’s appropriate case, and then holds onto it and demands another game be played, such as Wind Waker.

    Which, she actually knows more about than me.

    Or perhaps that’s simply a sign of evil to come. o.O

  15. May 29, 2008 9:50 am

    why didnt you just put the cover in a spare game case?

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