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Playground 2.0

My backyard is apparently either connected to the internet or somehow got included in a mobile game app

My backyard is apparently either connected to the internet or somehow got included in a mobile game app.

Like many families, we like to play in the back yard.  Ahhh, the back yard.  Many, many, many configurations exist from grass to pools to gardens to trees to BBQs to swing-sets to concrete to nothing to…you get the idea.  We play ball, fake sword fights, run around, have picnics and all the fun things that can happen outside, on the grass, in the sun.  ‘Turn off that radio, TV, tablet, game, device, whatever and play outside!‘ many parents have said over the years.  Including mine.

But something bizarre has happened to my backyard over the last year.  Levels.

No, not the Kramer style – ‘Levels, Jerry, Levels,’ not the rulers with the water bubble to make sure something is level nor the 2nd floor balcony protruding from the house.  But game levels.

It started at one of the trade shows last year.  We always have our F5 squishy balls available at the booth and I usually grab a few to juggle, give to others and take back for my kid.  She loves them.  One day we were tossing them to each other and she decided to become a target – like in a game.  So she started to pace back and forth (as a moving target) for me to hit the target.  After the 1st ’round,’ she says, ‘ok 2nd round,’ and paces back and forth again but this time, she also ducks up and down.  2nd round, harder level.  We continued to add various ‘challenges’ to the simple back and forth target practice with a squishy ball.  It was fun but then dissolved into one of those, ‘remember when we…?’

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.  We are out back playing some kingdom game having a pretend sword fight.  I got a Wiffle bat and she has a bamboo stick.  We both have kid water boards as our shields and swing away, complete with sound effects.  We complete our joust and I’m informed that she won and for the next level, I needed to wear a mask.  A mask?  Since when did Infinity Blade land in my back yard?  Multiple costume changes later, she reached level 10, along with all the accolades that comes with such an achievement.

And just last weekend, we got our various ‘swords’ sticking out of an old, round bamboo/wicker ottoman looking thing, that’s lost its pillow top.  You know, outside furniture that has been outside for too long?  So she gives me my default Wiffle sword and then announces that I can upgrade to the cooler bamboo sword if I get enough coins.  Coins?  I don’t see any Temple Run coins floating around the back yard.  ‘How do I get coins?‘ I wonder.  ‘Oh, you earn them by winning battles,’  she asserts.  ‘But wait, you always win – how am I gonna get some coins?‘ I lament.  Noting my concern, she assures, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it daddy, this is all fake.’

Got it.

ps

 

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.