Photo Credit: Nintendo
Before buying a video game for their kids, parents might ask a lot of questions: Is it age appropriate? Is it too violent? What kind of messages does it send to children? Very few moms and dads ask one very relevant question, though: How long is the game? Spirit Tracks, the latest installment in the decades-old Legend of Zelda franchise, releases next week for the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system and it promises players tons of action, an engrossing storyline, gorgeous visuals and a stirring soundtrack. It also promises to eat up hours and hours of their lives. Some players reported spending up to fifty hours on one of the last Zelda games, Twilight Princess.
There are two ways to look at this. The far more positive view is that the longer story-based games give you lots of bang for your buck. On the other hand, some parents may see it as basically losing their child for a few weeks. It all depends on your kid and your outlook on video games. My daughter, for one, can become easily transfixed, sitting with thumbs on buttons until she sees credits roll (Yes, video games have credits -- in case you didn’t know). A safer bet for kids like her might be a DS game like 101-in-One, a collection of mini games that each last about thirty seconds. Games like that make it a lot easier to get a thrill and then put the controller down. If only the Zelda games weren’t so darn good.
Well, like I said, it depends on the kid. And if you’re able to put enforceable time limits on her gameplay, being able to buy her one $35 game that could last for months on end certainly seems worth the money. In this economy, I say, let the adventure begin!