“You’re crazy!” a voice booms through the open water; it’s the high-pitched yell of a boy, no older than ten years old. I was venturing past the first swimming posts at Lake Erie at Beaver Island State Park, swimming fervently with motorboats racing by in the near-distance causing waves and currents for me to battle and endure. I thought about her words: what’s so crazy about swimming around in a Lake? Sure, it was past 7pm and all the life guards were gone. It was just me and the Lake with its weedy bottom, over-run by algae dirt, pollution and sewage. But, I felt free and self-reliant; swimming in the open water like an eagle gliding through the sky with no particular purpose but to enjoy wherever the wind current decided to take me. A wave crashes into my face and water starts filling up my throat as I reflexively cough. I start swimming back as I think of the year’s worth of mercury and lead I just swallowed.
As I made my way back to the beach, I walk past the boy who turns out to be a girl and am accosted by her curiosity: “Were there any holes back there? Were you bored? Were you scared?” If there were holes, I’m glad I didn’t fall into one.
I field more questions later, this time from someone closer to my age: “How is it out there man? Is there life? What’s the visibility like?” I can’t be the only person who decided to swim this far out.
I think back to my childhood in Russia when things seemed so carefree and exciting, where we swam in little ponds and then later fished in them; inadvertently catching creepy looking cages with dead fish trapped inside them.
Now people are afraid; fed into the fear-machine of the nightly news. Most people don’t swim. They don’t explore. They sit around, monotonously stuck in the same routine, their dreams extinguished, their wings broken; feathers half-plucked. They tune out after coming home from the same banal job they’ve been doing for twenty years, feeding their fear tubes with TV, food, drugs, distractions (average American watched 34 hours of TV per week in 2010, according to Nielsen). We’ve all been there. What other option is there? They need the health insurance for their families, while ironically their health gets beat down by the stress, fear and extinguished passion. Kids suffer when their parents are beat-down. They don’t learn to explore. They may become afraid of the world.
So what can one do? Teach your kids to treat life like an experiment. How do you do that? You can be an example for them. Another thing you can do is explore something with them. Demonstrate your own curiosity, excitement, wonder and awe of the world. If you are 60 years old and you’re still excited about picking and blowing a dandelion, your kids will pick up on that energy.
Why not explore our Games section with your kid? Kids are naturally drawn to video games. Why wouldn’t they be? It allows them to live the life of a hero, before they are heroes. It allows them to go on virtual adventures and become pirates, cowboys, even Kung-Fu Pandas.
Here is why your kids need older versions of software. (Disclosure: I run oldversion.com and want your kids to know about it):
1) It will teach them the history of computing.
You may think, they can just watch Pirates of the Silicon Valley and learn the history of computing. You would think that, you lazy parent! Shame on you, putting your kids in front of the tube so you can go listen to your old Pink Floyd vinyls. No, you are going to spend some quality time downloading old versions from this site and not learn “Hollywood’s history of computing,” but instead experience with your kids the evolution of video game and software design. After all, old versions are cultural artifacts.
2) It will be a fun exploratory journey for them without the risk of them drowning in the Lake.
Too chicken of a parent to let your kids swim out and handle the elements of nature? Indeed, why not opt for the safe journey by browsing around our site? You can read about the history of Winamp, analyze Firefox’s version progression with me, and then download the damn things and play with them! Play a game with your kids – go from the first released version to the last and see if your kids can spot the differences. What is your kids’ favorite version of Firefox? Oh and did I mention:
3) It doesn’t cost any money.
Entry to the Beaver Island State Park is like $8. Not to mention the cost of gas of getting there. Did I mention the beach had cigarette butts on it? What if your kid got too curious and picked it up and ate it? You would have to hit that damn thing out of his/her hand and then he might sue you for child abuse once he gets old enough. You don’t want to take that risk!
[Lawsuit kid is coming for yo' house!]
Instead you can download some software with your kids – without even leaving the house. Make it a family event, so that:
4) You will be spending quality time with your kids.
Between the times you spend watching TV, browsing Reddit (or whatever news site you go to), mowing the lawn and going grocery shopping for your spouse, how much serious one-on-one time do you actually spend with your kids? The last time you probably even talked to your kids without pulling out your iPad and sending a Tweet was years ago. Its okay, I understand. But, now listen: you can kill two birds with one stone: feeding your technology obsession AND spending time with your kids like your wife always nicely asks you to. Bam!
5) You can even introduce them to cool games like The Secret of Monkey Island.
Aren’t you curious what the secret of Monkey Island is? Well, damn. Now you can find out. This game is incredible; it follows the journey of an everyday guy who wants to change his life around and make a fortune by becoming a pirate.
You and your little loved one can download and play the game here.
6) Your kids WILL learn a life lesson.
7) They will appreciate the progression of technology.
Aren’t you tired of explaining to your kids “In my day we had rotor phones, we had old Atari games, we used AIM 5.9 with DeadAIM and Windows 95 and didn’t have any confabulated text messages – we just used AIM, BBS and Usenet AND we went skinny dipping with our coworkers after work in the 60s and then came home to our spouse and talked about washing machines all day. Well, listen…now you don’t have to tell them. You can show them. Show them Grand Theft Auto 1 and then the trailer for GTA5. Bam! Now your kids appreciate it more!
8) They can imagine they are back in time.
Who doesn’t dream of having a time machine? You could be rich AND as creepy as Bill Murray in the Groundhog Day! So why not play a little game with your kids? Tell them you invented a time-machine! If they are young, they will get super excited and then you can deck out your computer to look like a time-machine and transport them back to 1986!
9) They can learn new typing skills from Mario.
Learning how to type is a key-skill in today’s world. What if your kids could learn that now? I did. I learned how to type when I was 9 years old. Now, I’m a successful typer writing this article to you. You don’t want to deprive your kids of the same glory. May I recommend a personal favorite? Mario Teaches Typing. I remember playing this on my elementary schools Macintosh Plus. It was probably the highlight of elementary school career (that and Dinopark Tycoon).
10) It will challenge them.
What if you wanted to up it a notch and teach your children how to hustle in business? No problem! Just download Theme Park. You and your kids will learn how to manage a theme park and run the fryer stands. In this game, you get to control how much salt and ice you put in your fries and drinks which directly impacts the amount of money you make. If you add more salt to your fries, people will buy more drinks, but if you add too much salt people will vomit and you will need to hire more janitors. So challenge your kids to figure out the perfect balance of salt and ice for maximum profit. They will be the next Bill Gates!
Take my word for it. You’re a bad parent if you don’t.