Five alternative uses for video games

An Xbox controller with the words "Five alternative uses for video games" superimposed.

Kids are clever little things, aren’t they? My three are always discovering little life hacks that always leave me impressed and proud. Well, to a point, anyway. There’s one area that makes me cringe a little. That of my older two and video games.

If there’s a way of repurposing a popular title inappropriately, they’ll find it. Here are some of the alternative uses for video games that they’ve come up with.

Just Dance & Bottom

Oldest got Just Dance 2018 for his birthday last week. While he has a good sense of rhythm, he’s a bit lazy at times so we thought it was a good idea. And it is, to be fair. Although we’ve already learned that we shouldn’t leave him and his brother unattended with it.

I left them to it for one song and the sibling rivalry kicked in. One song! As the game involves motion capture, a post-dance highlight video is shown. And there was the evidence. My two sons dancing at first, competing for space, then fighting. It was like the end sequence of Bottom in high speed. Bloody hell, Eddie!

FIFA & Mean Machine

I’m proud of how the England team performed in the World Cup. Particularly in the face of immense provocation in the Colombia game. I wish I could say the same of my boys on the one and only time I allowed them to play FIFA.

After initially fouling other players accidentally while trying to cross the ball, both boys intentionally went all Vinnie Jones et al on their unfortunate virtual opponents. The yellow cards were like confetti and I had to abandon the game before the ref did. Sigh…

LEGO City Undercover & GTA

The similarities between these two sandbox games are there for all to see, so perhaps I shouldn’t be too surprised. Then again, the former is a kid-friendly offering based on thwarting crime while the latter glorifies it.

It goes without saying that my boys have no idea what happens in GTA as I hide it. Yet they delighted in nicking cars, hitting random strangers and generally doing anything other than completing the missions.

A Minecraft pig with a speech bubble saying "Uh oh" superimposed.

Minecraft & Lord of the Flies

I was so excited when we got Minecraft. I had heard great things about it and it looked brilliantly educational as well as creative. It is, of course, both of these things and more. But, within minutes of unleashing the boys on it, I saw another side.

The now six-year-old was making his character chase after a pig with the sole intention of killing it. His older brother, normally a stickler for playing games properly, was laughing maniacally and encouraging him. Luckily, we have yet to discover a conch.

Plants vs Zombies & self-employment

Okay, this one is mine and mine alone. I don’t actually deviate from the purpose of the game at all. That said, I no longer recognise the titular characters or rays of sunshine at face value, so I think that still counts.

The zombies are our household bills, the plants are the money in our bank account and the rays of sunshine represent payments for work I’ve done. Sometimes, loads arrive at once but for the most part, it’s a nerve-wracking balancing act. Give me real zombies any day!

Have your kids found alternative uses for video games?


  1. Tim Bonner

    I didn’t think my kids had found any alternatives uses for video games until today. My daughter was playing Minecraft and decided she was going to get married to a zombie.

    She built a church and a mockup of the congregation. She’s a bit young to get married at 8 and I’m also not sure about her choice of getting married to a zombie!

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