Life would be so much easier around my house if everyone (or anyone) listened to me. Why, why won’t they listen to me?

It’s my fault, but I’m still steamed, that the husband bought a Kinect Xbox controller for our family. And those were his words, “for our family.” Because our children and I could not live one more day without a Kinect.

Admittedly, it’s freaking awesome. Kinect is a game remote where you are the controller. The device scans you and then you control the game with the movements of your body.

My husband and 5-and 6-year-old boys were able to play with the Kinect before it was released on Nov. 4 at two events that I took them to recently (and another one when it was still called Project Natal). One party was hosted by Xbox in a fabulous private home in Beverly Hills. The other was at the Electronic Arts’s Annual Winter Wonderland party. So not only did we get to play the game before anyone else, but we got to do it in a fabulous setting with programmers on hand to show us how it worked.

We all played the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows game for Xbox and Kinect at EA and it was very cool. I was Hermione, of course, and I let my geekiest of geeks come out when we were fighting deatheaters. We all had a very good time playing Kinect, but I don’t necessarily want to have one in my house where my boys are already video game obsessed.

The problem isn’t with Kinect, it’s with having video games in our house. I have to drag my 6-year-old out of bed every Monday through Friday morning. But come Saturday and Sunday, the days they can play Wii and Xbox, both boys are up bright and early. Up until recently my 5-year-old greeted each morning with “Is today the day we play Wii?”

I didn’t tell my husband to absolutely not buy a Kinect because I’m a buzz kill (although he might argue otherwise). But it’s too close to the holidays to go buying a big ticket item no matter who it’s for. And it’s too much. Too cool, too futuristic, too awesome for 5 and 6-year-old boys.

But, as my husband pointed out, it’s not too awesome for a hard working 42-year-old.

Giveaway Monday

In honor of week 2 of Giveaway Monday I have 2 games to give away. They were given to me at a Disney event a few months ago.

Alice in Wonderland, inspired by the Tim Burton film, is for NintendoWii and Split Second is for Xbox 360. Split Second says that it’s “A city created for speed and destruction.” They are both rated 10+.

Leave a comment below with your contact information and which game you would like to win and I will pick 2 winners on Friday, October 8. Thanks for playing.

And the winners are Meeyeehere and Cobol. Thank you everyone for entering.

A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Action

Here is how a typical conversation with my husband goes:
Him: “Do you think we should put the good desktop computer in the boys room?”
Me: “No. Absolutely not. They already spend too much time on their ancient computer where they can hardly do anything.”Of course, we have a dispute about what was said. His version included me saying “Yes, dear.”

My boys are 4 and 6 and, I feel, too young to have 24/7 access to the computer (other than the ancient, painfully slow computer they had before). My 6 year old is about a month away from being smarter than I am and I’m sure he’ll be able to deal with those pesky parental controls by the time he’s 7. His cousin could take a computer apart and put it back together by the time she was in the 6th grade.

So of course on Friday evening I come home to find the computer set up in my boys’ room.

I couldn’t argue much because the husband did this while I was out to dinner, the second night in a row I stayed out past 10, and he watched the kids. I left the arguing to the next day.

I normally don’t worry too much about Internet security so when Yahoo! Motherboard chose the topic for its bloggers, I didn’t think I would have anything to talk about. Well, thanks to the husband, now I do.

It’s not that I’m consumed with fears that someone trolling on the internet will find my kids and want to chat. I’m more worried about what they will consume while I’m trying to get a little work done. They love to watch videos. I want them to play educational games with Sid the Science Kid on PBS Kids, but instead they “found” (which means my husband showed them) the Lego site and now they watch videos on Lego Star Wars and Batman.

These are not horrible for kids (in fact, they are awesome), but I don’t think it’s good  for the 4-year-old to see so much violence even if it’s acted out by Legos. They play Lego Star Wars and Batman on the Wii and now Xbox (which, for full disclosure, was given to me last week by Xbox).

Back to the husband. I mentioned to him that I thought the 4-year-old was being exposed to too much violence. I told him that I felt strongly that the games and videos were having a negative effect on our younger son. Sports games are fine, but no more Lego games until they’re older.

“Okay,” he said. Saturday he took them out to buy some games for the new Xbox. Of course, they came back with a Spiderman game (and Toy Story 3). I wish I had a parental control for my husband.

Kinect and a Cirque "Inspired" event

School is winding down for my boys, which means there is a flurry of activity these last couple of weeks. That didn’t stop me from picking my kids up from school and driving them downtown to play Xbox.

We tried the new game Kinect a month or so ago when it was a beta version known as Project Natal, but the changes made for the most recent version are amazing. With Kinect for XBox 360, you can make the avatar move just by moving your arms and legs. Crazy, Spooky.

Speaking of crazy, even though the invitation said recommended for kids 8 and up, I took my 4 and 6-year-old boys to the unveiling performance of Project Natal for XBox Experience Imagined by Cirque du Soleil. I don’t know much French, but apparently “Imagined” means minimal involvement by Cirque du Soleil. After getting stuck in traffic, yelled at by a police officer, and standing in line for 45 minutes, we waited an hour for the show to start. Once it started, it was clear it wasn’t the “circus” I had promised them, but my kids sat with their mouths open during the entire show, which was a long demonstration of all the new games.

Here is a little video I took…

XBox 360 Project Natal

What I didn’t mention in Too Much, my blog about my crazy week, was the one event that was all about fun. The husband, boys and I went to the G2 Gallery in Venice to try out the new Xbox 360 controller Project Natal. It was simultaneously creepy and amazing. Rather than holding the controller in your hands, the controller is you. The Project Natal scans your body (and copies your DNA!! – not really). A camera senses your movement and sends the information into the game. Your body makes the character move. If you punch at the virtual ball coming at you, it will bounce away. If you kick, it kicks, if you move your body to block the ball, its body moves. My older son had a great time and a great workout playing the demo game Ricochet.

The controller is coming out in the Fall. What I’m really intrigued by is at the end of this video. You can use the controller to operate your TV and DVD player. It’s quite possible that I may never have to get up again. If only the controller could bring me wine and chocolate.

Here is a video I took of my son playing the game (which I took with the Flip camera Xbox gave me). We couldn’t film the television so that’s why it’s just him. I had to include the picture at the top. Xbox hired a balloon animal entertainer, Tyler from Pretend, Inc., and he almost stole the show.