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Boys toys

red controller

I have seen the ghost of Christmas to come – and it’s Xbox-shaped. By some quirk of family admin it fell to me to accompany Jack to Britain’s biggest computer gaming expo last weekend. Even Doughnut is better qualified than me when it comes from knowing his Halo from his Minecraft (multi-million-pound selling Xbox games if you don’t know!). After all, before the big one moved out and we all moved along one, Doughnut used to sleep between Jack and his computer screen. He spent every afternoon absorbing every cough and spit of Skyrim in his sleep, just like my parents used to learn Spanish in the 60s. If we could find him the right kind of headset he’d probably have his own show on YouTube.

And after Sunday afternoon I can tell you exactly where to get the right headset. A nice boy in a purple polo shirt explained it all to me while Jack was locked away in just such a headset transported through his mind – and a new game – to another planet. Apparently you can plug your phone into it, which means that you don’t have to stop talking to your online mates should one of your real ones phone you – you just flip a switch and put them on hold, like one of those millionaire teen princesses with two home phone lines in that old show Beverly Hills 90210. “But that means he’d never ever stop playing!” I said, in the panicky voice of a mum who’s seen her last secret weapon to entice her kid to the dinner table annexed by the enemy. “That’s the idea,” he said, smiling a cherubic smile, and handing me a chance to win one.

As Expos go I can recommend Eurogamer Expo 2013.  Even the queues were entertaining – we’d barely stepped out of the tube before Jack was invited to pose for pictures on a stretcher outside a customised ambulance and follow it on Twitter for a chance to win something we haven’t got space for. The halls looked as if every boy in the country aged between 12 and 25 had been tipped out of bed and told to find their way to Earls Court. It may have smelt a bit like last weekend’s duvet, but it was also probably the ideal place to bring your microwave clock to be reset or get your laptop debugged. I was kicking myself for not bringing every piece of dodgy digital kit in the house with me and just handing them out to boys snaking their way round the hall waiting to take on Batman to update. If I had I’d be just thinking this now, not typing it, and it would just blog itself. Now there’s a thought!

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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