Being that my wife and I are “older” parents and didn’t have children when we were younger we didn’t go to places like this very much. Now that we are the “representatives” of a budding 2 year old baby girl we are getting out to bounce houses, trampoline villages, and other places like Chuck E. Cheese’s play place and restaurant. In Detroit these places have always had a bad reputation for the fighting that people get into over tables, presents, and who gets to spend the most time with “the mouse”. I have heard some doozies in my time. Fortunately we didn’t have any issues which is why I am choosing to write about the experience.
My university has touched on the subject of interactivity but mostly the discussion is regarding the act of an individual interacting with the controls and the avatar they are playing and not so much a concern of interaction with another individual. My point in a few of the items I have written for class are in regard to the experience one actually gets when they interact with other people while playing. More importantly, interacting with people in real life and not just online. I know that most people in their 50’s have children who have children now, but that is my point. Taking your kids and your grand-kids to a place like this will help you engage with them in a different way. I know most people will say, “We can just play games at home and not spend the money.”, but I say it is good to get out and frequent your arcade with the kids. No matter what their ages are. Besides, everyone loves to earn a prize, and that you can’t get at home. The games here spit out tickets and if you get enough tickets you can “purchase” prizes with them. They have quite a bit of children friendly toys. We made it a game when we went in, just to add to the fun. We had her pick out a toy that she wanted and we explained to her that to earn the toy we had to play games and have fun. She loved it.
There aren’t a whole lot of games for a 2 year old, but there are a few that attract their attention. There is one game that simulates a roller coaster, of sorts, that we must have sat in for about a half an hour. The seats shake with the action on the screen and move you back and forth. I know it may seem a little “lame” for the older people, but it was an experience that our baby loved and we got to share that with her. In the truest sense of the reason, isn’t this what games and gaming are all about? We played the games that gave out the tickets and we were able to earn her the toy she wanted. All in all, it was a good day.
A study performed about 8 or 9 years ago when iPhone and Android gaming was getting a big push asked people what they liked about phone game applications and the overwhelming response was that people were able to connect with their parents, old friends, siblings, and their children. Whether they played these games constantly or intermittently the finalizing thought was that people liked being interactive with one another in a gaming environment. Although that study was done in regard to online items, being with friends or family in the actual world is, and can be, much more fun.
The pictures in this posting are from the Internet so don’t get the wrong idea. It was a Saturday and they were packed inside but I chose to live in the moment instead of trying to document the event. They have quite a few games in the “mouse house” located in Novi. They even have games that us older people will appreciate, like Skee-Ball. For the most part though, they have games that are good for interaction with someone else. On a totally different note, they also changed their pizza and added some flavor to it. It was greasy (like Silvio’s Pizza from Redford Township for those who are familiar with it)…but it was good!
Now, I do have to mention that they have a mechanical Chuck E. Cheese in the back of the building. We thought it would be nice to get a picture of her with the human sized machine. We thought wrong, the mouse scared the crap out of her…in more ways than one. But, outside of the five minute crying session she did have a great time and she is still talking about playing games and wants to know when we will be going back. That’s the type of interaction I think gaming was meant for.