Context is everything

My nephew, Matthew, has recently been enamoured with a computer game called Lego Rock Raiders. It’s one of those “build an empire and send people out to do your bidding” types of resource-management games.

At first, he just liked it because it’s Lego, but then he started playing it and has gotten really good over time.

This past Saturday, he was playing it and I was sitting on his bed, watching him, amazed at his proficiency. As he played, I told him how much it reminded me of game that was popular when I was in college: Warcraft.

My sophmore year, the guys in the dorms were all playing Warcraft. I didn’t really see what the attraction was at first, but one Saturday morning, I sat down at my computer and decided to try it out and see what all the fuss was about.

I downloaded a shareware trial copy of the game and installed it. Fifteen hours later, having had no food, no interaction with people, still in my pajamas, now with sores on my butt from sitting on a hard-wood chair all day, I decided that if I was going to graduate, I needed to uninstall this game and never play it again.

I told Matthew about my experience with it, mindful that it was nearing the afternoon and he was still in his pajamas.

The girls were busy that morning doing their Bible study together and we had planned to go to the mall afterward, so I needed him to shut down and get himself ready for the day.

As he was shutting down, he accidentally clicked on one of the little lego people who was busy at work at whatever menial task Matthew had assigned him. The little character squeaked, which reminded me of a feature in Warcraft: when you clicked on the idle soldiers, the programmers of the game thought it would be funny to make the soldiers respond to meaningless clicks, so they would say things like, *click* “Yes, master?” *click* “What do you want?” *click* “Why are you touching me?” *click* “Stop touching me!”

The more you clicked the soldiers, the more irate they became; a funny little feature.

Matthew thought it was funny too and giggled about it for quite a while… so much so that it was inhibiting him from getting ready to go to the mall, so I prodded him along and got him back on task.

An hour or so later, we were walking around in the mall. His mom had gone off to look at childrens’ shoes and Matthew was still giggling about the game feature… only now, to my horror, he was quoting the lines in a low, muted voice as he walked around with me in a public place:

“Stop touching me!”

“Why are you touching me?”

“Stop touching me!”

Awkward. Thanks, Warcraft. His mom and I put a stop to his quoting the lines and explained that people wouldn’t understand what he was quoting.

I’ve heard that violent video games can have adverse affects on people and families… but who knew humorous features could potentially get you in so much trouble?