The most recent video gaming system we have is a PlayStation 2 from around the turn of the century. The older boys turn to it when they need a change from their small screen games. “Can we play a game on the TV?” they ask. This is my chance to tell them about the olden days, before Wi-Fi, when the only choice we had was to play our games on big screens plugged into the wall. Those were hard times.
After my sermon, if no good sports are on TV, I might let them use the appliance to play like the old people did. Their favorites have been Simpsons games, from back when young people used to watch that show and use products associated with the brand. These are one-player games, and I have two boys chomping to play, which means taking turns, a rotten system for having fun.
To overcome this difficulty, Big Brother and Buster have begun competing at sports games. In these long, school-less days before Christmas they’ve discovered a college basketball game. Seeing them play this together is much more entertaining than watching them destroy Springfield with the Plow King truck.
Big Brother plays on a real basketball team and has a good understanding of the rules. He knows what all the buttons on the game controller do and how his virtual players respond to his actions. Buster knows the ball is supposed to go through the hoop. You get points for that. He’s happy just to hold a controller in his hand, as long as he’s mostly sure pushing its buttons has some vague relationship to what’s happening on the screen.
This disparity of understanding leads to a mismatch. Buster has won every game so far. Instinct? Luck? Virtual motivational skills? I don’t know, but it’s funny to watch.
Once the score gets into double digits, Buster has to ask who’s winning.
“You are,” Big Brother moans.
When I ask him how the game is going, Big Brother complains about his team. “It’s not me. My players can’t make any shots.” That may be true, but a coach takes responsibility for making his players better.
Big Brother starts out playing as our Spartans, but last time he got so discouraged he switched, in an act of outright betrayal to his father, to the University of Michigan. Buster doesn’t care which team he plays; he’ll motivate his guys to put the ball in the basket.
“Hello, Blue Jays,” Buster mocked as his big brother’s new, blue team took the court.
“They’re not Blue Jays,” Big Brother bristled. “They’re called Michigan Wolverines.”
“Hello, Michigan Wolverine Blue Jays.” Buster’s already taken trash talk to an esoteric level.
Big Brother has been a good sport, but sometimes his frustration gets the best of him. He tries to trick his brother into taking full court shots. “Shoot it from there and you’ll get 9 million points.”
Buster doesn’t need 9 million points. He’s already up by 21 with two minutes remaining.