Let’s face it. Most mothers out there have a love/hate thing going on with the handheld gaming systems our kids play with. One the one hand, they keep them busy on long car rides, while waiting at the doctor’s office, during your book club meeting. On the other hand, well, they’re handheld gaming systems! Your kid is hunkered down giving himself carpal tunnel syndrome before the age of ten.
Still, these days, it’s hard not to succumb. We decided that not letting our kids have them was kind of like not letting your kids watch tv: it’s a recipe for making them socially incompatible with their peers. In our house we have one DSi per kid, and one Wii system. Nothing crazy – just enough to keep them from being weirdos, and keep me from going crazy when they can’t think of anything to do.
Still, the battle of “turn off your (fill in the electronic blank)” rages in my house. They’re always in the middle of a level – if they stop now they’ll lose everything! I don’t want to be the ogre, shutting the game while they’re playing it (though I have. it wasn’t pretty, but I did it.). Neither, however do I want them on those things as we walk to school in the morning, or wait for our food at a restaurant, or really anywhere other than the privacy of our own home during designated “screen time.” What’s a mother to do?
I found at last week went I went to the laughably hip W Hotel in Times Square (I say laughable because it’s soooooo self consciously hip that it’s like it’s making fun of itself)
That’s where the new Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver come in. Because this latest version of the classic game (did you know it was an electronic game first and a card collecting thing after? News to me.) come with a Pokewalker.
The Pokewalker is that little flat looking pokeball type thing up there. (I realize that I’m speaking in Pokemon-ese here, if you don’t have a child in the house seven to eleven years old – most likely a boy – I might as well be writing in Swahili) Anyway – this two-inch diameter Pokewalker let’s players wirelessly transfer any one of their Pokémon from their handheld to the Pokéwalker. Then, as the player walks around in real life. their Pokemon walks through virtual routes as well. And all your kid has to do is have the thing is his pocket!
You read it right: your kid doesn’t have to play the game – doesn’t even have to touch the Pokewalker – and he’s still earning Watts – or points just for having it with him. They can either use the Watts within the Pokéwalker to encounter and catch wild Pokémon or search for hidden items, and transfer them into Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver Versions to unlock new routes. There are even special versions of certain Pokémon that can only be found within routes on the Pokéwalker, and the possibility that your kid will walk enough to go up a level. That means that with this game – at least some of the time – it’s better for your kid to walk around and exercise than to play the game. Gotta love that.
As a mom who’s at best ambivalent about the DS, this is the greatest game ever. Better order one now, it’s coming out on March 14th, and for once, I think it’s gonna be the Moms waiting on line to buy one.