This post is a continuation of my comments from a gamer interview with two eight-year old boys inspired by and related to the topics headlined above. (sans tedious citations)
Back in the (my) day (50's to 70's) young boys' (ages 5-12) leisure activities typically involved physical activities on the playing fields (stick ball, sandlot baseball, football on what ever ground was available, basketball on any sort of court), running around outdoors, collecting baseball cards, playing with slot car racing sets and playing with action figures (first military related ( i.e. “army guys”) then fantasy related (i.e., Ninja Turtles)).
Since the advent of video games, which coincided incidentally with the advent of the “working mom”, or the double income household, followed by the emphasis on organized community youth sports (a guilt induced solution for the absent caregiver syndrome brought on by the dual income family unit), the playing field has changed. Instead of playing outdoors, boys are playing indoors in their leisure time waiting for parents to return from work, waiting for parents to bring them to extra curricular activities or community sports practice, etc. Boys have adapted and the indoor playing field has proved to be as exciting as the outdoor playing field. The indoor playing field, of course, is the latest and greatest screen (CRT, HD TV, etc.,)
From the 50’s to the 21st century the games are the same. In their core they are the same. Rules, competition, bravado, and victory reign. Only the playing field has changed. From the realities of the muddy field to the mysteries of the virtual world, boys are exploring the many faces of the entertainment world. Boys are exploring the ultimate challenge of pinpointing the ultimate goal, the source of extreme fun.
Fun for boys is defined by that which naturally induces competition and opportunity for bravado. Mario Kart is the epitome of such fun.