Ayn Rand for a Teenager?

I lost interest in video games not long after Pac-Man came out. They have plots now?!!

Oh yeah, big time. There are some games (I’m blanking on the name, but they’re a long and planned to be longer series) which are actually blasted for having too much plot - there are multiple 30 minute or longer mini-movies you have to sit through before you can start blowing shit up.

It’s, like, art. Media, just like books and movies. I admit, I find it hard to believe - my last video game was prob’ly Mortal Kombat II. The only video game I’ve had the patience to play with my son in the last few years is *Eregon *- which I’m sure sucked by today’s standards, but was at least stylistically familiar to my ancient and decrepit brain.

It may make him a Rush fan.


So out of curiosity, does he harvest the Little Sisters, or rescue them?

Forget Rand. Give him Lincoln at Gettysburg by Garry Wills. A much more healthy and interesting to political philosophy, and it will stand him in good stead later in life. Wills truly earned the Pulitzer he won for this book.

First response: “Heh…I wondered when you were going to ask that…”

And then a bunch of stuff about “Adam” and flaming hands and regeneration and Achievements. His first time playing, he saved them, after that, there were many variations to see how he could get the most benefit.

He also says, “Ask [muldoonthief] if he killed Sander Cohen in his apartment or in Fort Frollick.” He’s always been a fan of irony. :wink:

Hah! Did he also explain that “harvest” is an in-game euphemism for “brutally kill with your bare hands and then eviscerate the body” ?

I killed Sander Cohen in his apartment. IIRC, I read a bit too far into a gamefaq guide and thus knew not to kill him in Fort Frolic.

Yep. :stuck_out_tongue:

I used to be a Nervous Nellie about the violence in his video games. He didn’t actually get a game system at all until he was 11, and all his computer based games were things like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Finally one day he asked me, exasperatedly, “Mom, what’s the real difference if I’m ‘killing things’ with a bow and arrow or with a Sub-Neutron DestructOmatic machine gun? Neither one would be okay in real life!”

I didn’t have a good answer for him, so I let his uncle get him a Gameboy. The XBOX followed two or three years later with, at first, careful vetting of the games by rating. Now he’s on his own recognizance as far as his choice of games, as long as he’s got the sense and reflexes to hit Pause when his little sister wanders into the room. He’s decided Grand Theft Auto is over the line for our house, but Bioshock isn’t. I haven’t questioned his decision making process on that one too closely, but I trust him.

If he’s caught by the police with a bow and arrow, though, we’re taking the video games away! :smiley:

I started reading Rand at 15 (and stopped at 17 or 18). I very much enjoyed The Fountainhead, and stopped reading Atlas Shrugged halfway through, so I’d recommend the former – it’s just a much better novel, all philosophy aside. I wouldn’t worry too much about his picking up nasty ideas; most people age out of it (I know I did). And you could always slip him some Eastern philosophy at the same time, which should be an effective antidote to this ‘everything is what it is’ claptrap.


The difference is the size of the emotional hardon.

Isn’t it? :smiley: I figured if he was old enough to formulate that argument, he was old enough to be relatively unscathed by the violence in E and T rated video games. Once he showed me he could handle those without getting obnoxious, I loosened the reins further.

BrainGlutton, you scare me sometimes.* :dubious:

*(Not really.)

WhyNot, you’ve got a good kid there. I’m impressed he rescued the Little Sisters on his first play through - it’s mighty tempting to kill them all and get that precious, precious Adam.

I’d disagree with him on the Bioshock vs. GTA though - Bioshock is much more immersive, and pretty damn frightening. Of course you don’t get to beat hookers to death with a bat and take your money back in Bioshock, so maybe he’s right after all.

I’m just worried he’s going to get 150 pages into “Atlas Shrugged” and start asking “When do the Big Daddies show up?”

He said something interesting yesterday. I asked him (sort of suspecting the answer), “So, does Bioshock have Good Guys and Bad Guys? Which are you?”

He replied, “That’s the cool thing - you just don’t know!”

Whereas in GTA, it’s pretty clear that you’re *supposed *to be a Bad Guy and make Bad/Evil choices. He seems drawn to the ambiguity of Bioshock, and he’s certainly willing to “Harvest” to get Achievements and win the game, but he’s not willing to bring a pro-Bad Guy game into the house. Not that he wouldn’t play it at his friend’s…

But yeah, he does say Bioshock is “freaky” and “scary” and he only plays it when his little sister is in bed or not home. He sounded pretty wigged out about the “sculptures” moving around.

I think he knows there are no Big Brothers in Atlas Shrugged. He sounds a bit interested in reading it - yesterday he ran in and went, "Wait, Atlas! Like - " and he mimed holding up the world. “That’s brilliant!” and ran away again. I’m not sure what dots he connected, but the wheels are turnin’!

Ok, now mess with his head. Once he starts reading, approach him at random intervals and ask, “who is John Gault?”
I think he’ll like Anthem as well. 15 is about the right age for AS and all Rand–I had to read AS for Honors Econ class junior year.