The title of this entry may be a little misleading. It's not about the worst stocking stuffer, because it, in and of itself, is not a bad thing - the stocking stuffer is absolutely created and given with the best of intentions. But, it will be, quite possibly, the most unwelcome stocking stuffer in the history of console release holidays. I'm thinking white gym socks might be looked upon more favorably.
I received in my inbox this morning a news release from the American Physical Therapy Association. It began:
Children who receive the must-have gifts of the holiday season, Sony's™ PlayStation 3 or Microsoft's™ XBox 360, may get something that they didn't wish for -- sore thumbs and hands -- says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Hmmm. This is true. It is the necessary pain that comes along with the joy of having just received the Holy Grail of holiday gifts, The New Videogame Console. We gamers (children?) understand and accept this. It is for a greater purpose. But wait! The APTA knows our pain, and has come to the rescue of gamers (children?) worldwide.
Just in time for the holidays, APTA has produced a colorful, one-page tip sheet "stocking stuffer," featuring simple hand stretches and exercises to prevent "Video Gamer's Thumb." This useful stocking stuffer can be downloaded at APTA's website.
The news release goes on to detail a list of suggestions to avoid aches and pains associated with games, two of which are:
" Practice good posture while playing. Sit in a chair that provides solid back support with feet comfortably on the floor.
" Stretch and move. Remember to stretch and get up and move every 20 minutes for so to give head, neck, and shoulder muscles a break.
I'll wait for you to laugh.
No, go ahead.
Sit in a chair? While playing a game for hours on end without moving? No. Lounge on the couch. Sprawl on a bean bag. Plop cross-legged in front of the TV. That is how it's done. And I ... move every 20 minutes? No. If these are the suggestions from the stocking stuffer pamphlet, I can tell you right now, any gamer (child?) who receives this along with a new console will go into Panic mode that these suggestions may be enforced by Those Who Must Be Obeyed. Give 'em a day or two of obsessive, unmoving gameplay before we bring "good posture" into the equation. Please?
I did notice that the APTA, with their very good and caring intentions, left the Wii off the list. The Nintendo fangirl in me wants to say this is because of the different control scheme requiring movement, and not the types of movement that lead to traditional repetitive stress injuries. But, alas, I have no extended first-hand experience to corroborate such assertions. And maybe it was simply an oversight on their part.
This is not to say that things like moving and stretching are Bad. They're not, and these are indeed good suggestions. But that's what other times of the year are for, not the 48 hours after having just received the Best Toy of the Year. But maybe that's just me.