Right now, every parent I know is debating what they'll get their kids for Christmas. There are a lot of lofty items on those lists from ponies to iPads to XBox 360s so choices have to be made before the shopping can be completed. A lot of my kids' friends have Wii consoles and they all want an Xbox 360 instead.
It's hard for most parents to understand because they see a console as a console as a console. Gamers know that's not true, and kid gamers are no exception. They hit an age when they want to play games that they can't get on the very kid-centric Wii. And one of the biggest reasons parents are citing for their interest is that everyone wants to play Halo.
And without fail, every parent who's told me this follows the statement with a cringe, an eye-roll, and something close to a look of horror. It's at this point that I tell them my girls have been playing for ages and it's no big deal.
They look at me, smile, and kind of agree, but within minutes their body language tells me they clearly think my girls should be turned over to the state. As politely as possible, they'll tell me that Halo is not for kids even though their boys want to play and they're shocked that I let my girls play. This is the poke their eyes out with a stick moment.
Now, to be clear, my girls don't play online. They team-up for Forge and play against each other in Deathmatch and it's hilarious to watch. They're happy, healthy, well-rounded girls. Gaming is a part of their life, not their whole life, and I know exactly what they're playing. It's a game with sci-fi soldiers and guns. So. What.
As I watch parents that struggle with the decision to let their boys play and only consider it because all the other boys at school play (isn't that the way with everything a kid wants) I wish they'd just check the game out for themselves. See what it's about and make the choice that's right for their kids.
Even more, though, I'd like to see them not look absolutely horrified that I let my girls play. The fact that they're girls does not matter, so just stop. If you haven't taken the time to play the game or to try to understand what it's about, don't judge my decision. And please, don't judge me just because they're girls.
Or, you know what, go ahead and roll your eyes and give me that sideways look. In a few more years when all the kids are old enough to play Halo or the latest hotness online, my girls will be totally pwning your boys. It will be a wonderful teachable moment for you to explain that you shouldn't stereotype or underestimate someone just because they're a girl.