“You are who you choose to be.”

I’ve only known of three movies that cause me to tear up at the end almost every time I see them. I’m not ashamed to admit that one of them is animated. As far as I’m concerned Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant is nothing short of brilliant.

I introduced this wonderful movie to my two sons tonight and it was a great experience. At first, they didn’t know what to expect and fear reigned through the first half of the movie. But just like their ol’ man the emotions of the giant and the quirkiness of the movie started to win them over.

Then the giant died. How do you explain sacrifice to a five year old and a 2.5 year old? I really have no idea. However, one thing that they did realize is that using guns in the wrong way is bad. Our oldest had been running around the house over the last month pointing at random people and and yelling, “BANG! Your dead!” He didn’t understand the concept of death, and we didn’t want him flippantly thinking it’s OK to shoot things all the time.

We have a moratorium on certain things in our house while the boys are awake. This mainly includes violence of all forms in the areas of games and television. It just doesn’t happen. I think it’s worked for us. Actually, I think it’s worked for me. I don’t relate well to violence. It’s not that it makes me violent. It’s just that it agitates me. It changes my attitude. It changes the way I view things. That’s not good for a person who’s the head of a household and responsible for raising two boys (especially in an increasingly acceptable, violent world for younger ages—there’s always been violence.)

In short, in generally affects me for the worst.

Occasionally, I’ll make room for Half-Life or a quick FPS walkthrough. However, the last FPS I’ve completed was Half-Life 2—it’s episodes and Portal variant—a long time ago (Call of Duty 4 and Metroid Prime 3 came close). I think I’ve just learned to pass up on games with a sense of immediacy, especially in terms of violence.

If you’ve got to have that violent rush, I say take a break for a while. Find a different genre to play. See if it changes the way you act; who you are. As for me and my boys, we will take it slow and keep playing racing games.

The other day, while traveling down the highway my son asked me to ram into a rig we were passing. Maybe we won’t play any Burnout for a while either.

Monday Madness?

I have this horrible online habit of bookmarking everything I come across and throwing it in a folder called “toread.” The idea behind it is that on Friday afternoon as a reward for a good week’s work I’ll take the last hour and follow up on them. They’re usually gaming related, but some craziness creeps in there every now and then. I figured I’d (Ed. – Tony, feel free to add to it) try something new here and share with you on Mondays the links that I’ve found to be interesting, my goal being to distract you from your job.

First I’d like to share with you a little bio I found about John Freeman, Gordan Freeman’s brother, called Half life: Full Life Consequences. It’s insane enough that it’s warranted a sequel. It’s a quick and dirty use of Garry’s Mod with quirky writing to go along with it.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun gave us a first look at Battlefield: Heroes a while back. I was not sold on it at all because it’s a complete knock off of Team Fortress 2. However, this writeup convinced me to give it a try. After all, it is FREE (from EA? yes!) and has a great sense of humor. It’s also has one of the best commercials/trailers I’ve ever seen for a video game.

I am a sucker for shooters. I find them to be nerve racking and relaxing. Indie Games has a list of what they consider to be the best FREEware shooters of 2007. I’ve not checked them all out yet, but I’m hoping there’s a gem or two in there.

My favorite toy is LEGO. Naturally, I want to see what people can do with it. This guy has made micro Star Wars scenes and put them under glass domes, and this guy does some great mini-mecha stuff. The little yellow utility mech is great.Lastly, just one more LEGO tidbit.

It looks like LEGO is dropping their train line. According to Brothers Brick, they’ve started discounting sets. You can get the Hobby Train set at half price ($50). It’s probably the best LEGO sales deal I’ve ever seen from (what I consider to be) a heavily overpriced toy. I bought one at Christmas and just bought another. Oh, the Imperial Star Destroyer is disappearing too.