2018-11-30 / Commentary

Getting a gaming system is no game


My 15-year-old son has asked for a PlayStation for his birthday and/or Christmas. He’s one of those unfortunate souls who has a birthday very close to the most holy of holidays, which means he’s pretty much been gypped his entire life.

He seems to be fine with it despite the number of times his parents have asked if it would be okay if we included his birthday party with the family Christmas party. So instead of bouncy houses and trips to fun parks, he’s gotten trips down memory lane with Great Aunt Edna.

That’s why my wife and I are more than happy to finally get him a PlayStation. Any kid who gives up his birthday for so many years deserves to escape from reality a bit.

However, a couple of problems have arisen with his request.

The first— I hope— is easily overcome.

My wife got a little disturbed when she walked into a local gaming store for the first time. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly like a trip to the sporting goods store. No one there was training for a marathon, unless an all-night session of Fortnite in some basement counts.

As my wife looked around the store, she couldn’t help but picture her little boy with one hand working a controller while the other worked a bag of Doritos. She panicked, suddenly thinking she’d lose him to some two-dimensional apocolyptic digitally-induced stupor, and life would never be the same.

I walked her back from the edge of that cliff for a couple of reasons. The first being that I may be looking forward to having a PlayStation in the house more than my son. Of course I didn’t share that with the wife, but I did reassure her that our son would be perfectly fine. If Pong didn’t rot our brains, then he’d be fine with today’s technology.

The other problem is that it’s been a while since my wife and I have entered the fray for a “must-have” toy. Actually, I’m not sure we ever have.

Usually, we’re pretty late to the party. We missed the whole XBox craze, and I still don’t know what Pokéman is. My kids weren’t ready for Razor Scooters until well after they rolled into the market. So, let’s just say we are willing novices when it comes to the shopping madness of the holiday season.

That makes life tough when you cruise into these stores expecting to stroll in and grab one of these things with little to no effort.

So now here we are— a couple of middle-aged rookies—battling the world to get a PlayStation at a somewhat reasonable price. I’m starting to think they don’t actually exist. We can’t find it anywhere.

It’s not that this is the hot new toy. PlayStation has obviously been around for a long time. It’s just that it’s hard to find a very good deal on a gaming system. In order to have a slim chance at such a bargain, apparently you are required to get up before God, man, and everyone else and then battle other would-be shoppers like some “Hunger Games” dash for weapons.

Hopefully, we can pull it off. If not, Aunt Edna’s going to have to come up with something good.

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