This year is an interesting one for being an older dad. In 1977 I was 6 1/2 years old when Star Wars came out and I got to see it a whopping seven times over the course of summer and fall. Cut to 2018. My son will be 6 1/2 in May, and --I think any old gamer/SF fan can agree here-- his generation has a veritable cornucopia to choose from in terms of entertainment. And better! Yeah, my generation got the original Star Wars, and that's totally cool....but....well....here's a comparison:
Six and a half years old in 1977:
1. See Star Wars. Wait to see Star Wars again as soon as you can con a relative in to taking you.
2. At home, watch TV. If you're lucky you have a color television, but there's a fair chance you don't.
3. The best stuff on TV is basically re-runs of Star Trek, which are cool and weird and hard to figure out at age six.
4. There's Space: 1999 which even at six in 1977 you can tell is basically garbage.
5. There's also Planet of the Apes, which is actually pretty cool but hard to find on TV.
6. Oh, don't forget, TV is something that tells you what you're going to watch, because the idea of TV you pick and choose from hasn't happened yet, and won't for a long time. VHS tapes technically exist, but they won't be something you can get or your family can readily afford for years and years.
7. Forget Cable. It exists, but only Grandma Gram can afford it and if you live in the wilderlands of Arizona, then there's like....barely 4 stations that can broadcast out strong enough to be received out on the mountain. Come to think of it....I don't think we had TV on the mountain at all!
8. Cool toys don't really exist yet (and trust me, the G.I. Joe, Star Trek and Batman dolls were really only cool in absence of anything better). Star Wars' toy marketing really hadn't started....yet. Another year!
9. Oh yeah, you could watch Hanna Barbera cartoons. Superfriends. Space Ghost and all that. Sure, why not! You're rotting your brains with sugary cereal, too, why not make the cartoons painfully bad and insipid?
10. On the plus side I had cool movies like Clint Eastwood's spaghetti westerns, which occasionally made it on to regular TV...and The Guns of Navarrone, an amazing movie for it's time. But again, it depended on CBS, NBC or ABC playing them at some point....!
Six and half years old in 2018:
1. See Star Wars. Be less impressed with it overall than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 and 2, Black Panther, Titanfall 2 or Destiny.
2. At home, watch TV if you feel like it. Or the tablet, or the phone. Whatever is available and your parents will let you watch.
3. Pick and choose from literally whatever it is you want to watch at that moment. Settle on Youtube let's play videos of DanTDM playing Minecraft or random Steam garbage games.
4. Space: 1999 is a bad nightmare your dad tells you about. It sounds weird, like he's making up a bad story. Why watch that when you can play Titanfall 2 or any number of other amazing games?
5. You do agree with dad that Planet of the Apes is cool, and Andy Serkis can sure rock a good Ceasar.
6. Commercials are a thing that you skip on Youtube. The concept of not watching whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like, is more alien than Lovecraft's Outer Gods. Oh, and you're six but you know that reference....at least in principle. You saw some Youtube videos when dad and mom weren't looking!
7. Cable is dead. You don't know what Cable is because Mom and Dad stopped that nonsense the year you were born. If you hear someone mention Cable, you assume they're talking about Deapool's buddy, in that movie you're not allowed to watch.
8. Cool toys are the norm. The concept that people went without cool toys is anathema. Ironically, you don't play much with cool toys, because nothing an action figure offers can be better than the video game it is based on. The cool toys are science kits, play-doh and legos, the only things that video games still struggle (slightly) to compete with.
9. You love your cartoons, which are generally high quality, fully digital animation efforts. But they still kind of suck because so many of them try overly hard to appease the Granola Peacenick Mom who thinks that Ben 10 is going to make you hyper violent. You don't know this, though, but you see dad complain about it all the time. But....who cares? You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy literally any time you want.
10. At age six in 2018 you have no idea what ABC, CBS and NBC are. You don't know who Clint Eastwood is, but you definitely know who Chris Pratt and Vin Diesel are, even if not by name (you know them as Peter Quill and Riddick...no scratch that, Groot). You absolutely do not get why your dad's friends seem to be obsessed with Star Wars when there is so much better stuff out there. Like Titanfall 2!