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A generational guide to summer fun

Matt Morgan • Jun 20, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Summertime means many things to people, especially when it comes to recreation.

There are a bevy of activities in which we engage during this season. Grilling, camping, fishing, and other outdoor sports/recreation are just a few. They are timeless classics woven into our very cultural fabric not just as Americans, but as human beings who have used this time since ... ever ... to play. But what happens to those died-in-the-wool traditionalists when they find siblings, kids, friends, etc., getting a bit more of a synthetic blend? In other words, when things go more digital and less organic.

There is a similar interaction theme in the 2009 adventure movie "Avatar." In it, the humans must interact with the natives of a distant moon using manufactured, lab-grown bodies to understand the culture of the Na'vi. This scene offers us a great summary of the point:

Jake Sully: Yeah. Yeah, why save me?
Neytiri: You have a strong heart. No fear. But stupid! Ignorant like a child!

[Neytiri walks away and Jake follows after her]

Jake Sully: Well, if I'm like a child, then look, maybe you should teach me.

Neytiri: Sky People cannot learn, you do not See.

Jake Sully: Then teach me how to See.

Neytiri: No one can teach you to See.

So allow me to be your guide, (primarily) grand/parents, as I help show you the culture of modern summer and just how you can enjoy it with those who prefer their chips made of silicon.

1. Minecraft. You don't need a super-amazing gaming rig to be able to play Minecraft which is a "sandbox" game. You go into it and build whatever you like, fight monsters if you prefer, make adventures for others to quest through, or just spend time digging and playing with resources. It can be educational and certainly a whole lotta fun! It isn't too complex and is an inexpensive one-time purchase. As the game is whatever you want it to be, you can be at ease!

2. Nintendo 3DS. These handheld systems are designed to be social and are perfect for casual, "non-gamer" play. While Nintendo does have more skillful and mature titles for it such as Resident Evil: Revelations, there are a great many games you can play with others that are less intense. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is excellent and not just for kids. There is a lot of quirky, subtle humor to the game for the adults to enjoy! Most of the Mario games are a safe bet, too. The system can be played without 3D enabled and you can also set age locks on it just in case (for both content and 3D use). It can also be used to play movies on your Netflix account!

3. YouTube. Why is this mentioned? There has been a great exodus to the Internet for entertainment as both producers and consumers of it. You can watch things you like, when you like, and even interact with others who like it, too. Warning! It can be a wild-wild west still, but that is all the more reason to find channels you enjoy to share them. Or invite your tech-savvy other to show you what s/he likes to watch. You will get a great sense of the culture in which that person participates and may even be enlightened or entertained by it yourself! There are self-made films, video game "let's plays", advice and demonstrations on various topics, etc. More than just watching, try uploading some videos yourself!

While I can't teach you to "See" the enjoyment others get from these pastimes, I hope that I have at least opened your eyes to ways you can casually connect with others of the wired world as a generational liaison. There are many more options beyond Minecraft, the 3DS, and YouTube to explore. That way you may find a very comfortable cotton-poly blend of cultural shirt to keep you cool in these hot months.





P.S. — Psst. Hey "kids!" To be fair it also doesn't hurt to go outside every once in a while. Just sayin'! Catching fish in Animal Crossing or watching a video on how to fire a bow on YouTube is cool, but it is more fun than you know to attend a Ren Faire or buy a ticket on a charter fishing trip every once in a while.

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