Archive for the 'PlayStation Family' Category

Finding Unimaginable Answers to Unasked Questions

PlayStation Vita Social Lounge

PlayStation Vita Social Lounge

As a (fairly) recent transplant to Austin, Texas, I miss some of the cool blogger events in California. I’ve been known to tap my West Coast Correspondent in Orange County, and now I have my first Bay Area guest blogger Gina von Esmarch. Not only is Gina a prolific food blogger and a work colleague, she also is my dear friend. Enjoy!

Gina’s thoughts on her techie kids:

Over the winter holiday break I promised my kids — Prima (my 11 year old daughter) and Secondo (my 8 year old son) — that I would take them to ‘work’ with me. Despite the fact that I work with a high-tech PR/Marketing agency, in their minds, I work for PlayStation (my client). Which is nothing less than a tech-child’s dream come true.

While we’ve discussed the reality of this thinking, all my kids can recapitulate is this: I work for PlayStation, and they really want to see the inside of this nirvana one day. Lucky for them, and for me, I recently made their dreams come true.

Later this month, PlayStation will be debuting its newest portable console gaming device called the PlayStation Vita. In honor of the Vita, PlayStation has created the “PlayStation Vita Social Clubs” which are uber-cool lounges filled with Vitas to play and prizes to win in eight cities across the country. And you guessed it, there was a Social Club in my backyard. The kids and I visited the San Francisco Club at 1694 Union Street. I figured there was no better way to get the kids drooling over all things PlayStation than to let them play with the newest “must have” product and meet some gaming experts. Quite honestly, I was even excited about attending the Social Club. I didn’t grow up a gamer, but I married one and now I work in the industry has made me, in my kid’s eyes, the coolest mom around.

Of course, the parents in my community know I work in the industry and, as a result, they are constantly probing me for my opinions on how much gaming is safe, how much time are my kids allowed to game at home and what I consider acceptable gaming parameters. I tell them this: Having games in our house has given me the ability to connect with my kids on another level and has opened up our conversations wider than I ever thought.

I share this story because I continue to be amazed at what I learned during our adventure at the PS Vita Social Club. I was able to guide my kids to my favorite new games, which I had briefly played a few weeks prior. With the help of an expert coach, they were capable of mastering the game basics in less than 30 minutes. It was no time at all before they were teaching me some of the moves and/or tricks.

When I suggested that Prima and Secondo try out Uncharted 3, on the new 3D monitors, I realized how differently my kids think and process information. There was an area in the game that Secondo wanted to access, and the expert was not sure it was possible. Prima was happy to follow along with her expert-guide and eagerly learned new moves, but Secondo was convinced he should be able to get to a certain place despite the fact that he was told it was probably not possible.

Well, after 30 minutes of trying, he remained stuck like a broken record. I watched him and figured he was being stubborn and wasting his time. She was flying through all of these levels and making serious progress. Then it happened. He did it. He figured out the loophole that even the experts had not stumbled across in all of their gaming time. The gaming experts throughout the room rushed over to see what Secondo had accomplished, and the congratulations from a crowd of 20-somethings put a smile on my kid’s face that could span the distance of the Golden Gate Bridge!

I may not be able to understand all that he had to teach me in the game, and how he achieved this goal. I may not have learned ALL of the game functionality like Prima achieved. But, I did learn that my kids are light-years ahead of my tech knowledge when it comes to actual hands-on gaming results. The ‘laws’ that constrict our minds do not restrict their minds. They see endless possibilities and find unimaginable answers to questions yet unasked. My techie kids taught me that I have so much to learn from watching them play.

And while I didn’t take them to PlayStation HQ, I think I made a few dreams come true that day. And I’ll return to the PS Vita Social Club to see what other adventures we can learn as a family because we are growing from all types of gaming together.

– Gina von Esmarch

This post was inspired by participation with the PlayStation Family, where amazing women share thoughts on kids, tech and games each month. While PlayStation is our client, these thoughts are Gina’s, and neither of us received compensation for writing this post. #PSFamily

Family Game Night: We Play to Win

My family plays to win!

My family plays to win!

I grew up with family game night, and the tradition continues with my own family. My husband, seven-year-old daughter and I enjoy all sorts of games from “trash” (our favorite card game) to Sorry (our favorite board game) to Start the Party (our favorite video game). But we have one important rule: we play to win.

Yes, that’s right. I make my kid play to win and I don’t “rig” a game to let her win. I’m sure there are parenting experts and psychiatrists who think I am too harsh and should let her win on occasion, and there are probably the same caliber of experts who think I’m doing the right thing. At the end of the day, I want to teach my kid how to play the game… and how to win and lose. I happily help her develop a game strategy, or explain a way to win, but I don’t sacrifice my game to “let” her win.

Oddly enough, she can hold her own, and more often than not, she beats me fair and square.

For example, we just recently purchased Clue, one of my all-time favorite board games. The Kid and I were a team, and we took on Daddy as our opponent. I walked her through the game, explained the objective and some basic strategies. The next day, she and I played each other - the first time she is playing this game by herself — and she beat me. Fair and square. She was so excited, and now we play that game all the time.

We also spend rainy afternoons playing PlayStation’s Start the Party, an interactive video game that uses a motion controller to play physical games where you pop balloons with a stick, catch balls with nets and scare away ghosts with flashlights. This game gets you up and moving, and you can see yourself on the TV, so it requires hand-eye coordination. This was a new kind of game for The Kid, so I didn’t want her to be frustrated and quit before she even started. So, I quickly learned to set her game-play level at “easy” and mine at “hard” to level the playing field. This allows her to win on occasion, but I can still show her that I am trying my hardest and she can honorably log a “W.”

This post was inspired by participation with the PlayStation Family, where amazing women share thoughts on kids, tech and games each month. While PlayStation is my client, these thoughts are mine and I did not receive compensation for writing this post. #PSFamily

Photo credit: Christmas Unwrapped