But, blessedly, a normal pattern of things is beginning to restore itself as the limits become accepted, and other things grab his interest - this Lego Minotaurus game, for example, which allows you to adapt the maze and make up your own rules, and has given us a few fiendish games and a lot of independent architectural work over the last week.
A sort-out of books led to the rediscovery of some comical gems - Spike Milligan's Milliganimals, and a couple of Far Side cartoon books. The recovery on the sofa was much-aided by readings of these cartoons, and Son 2 is also hooked.
The new digital piano, bought at some expense yet still a very good deal to replace the crumbling 'real' piano, is another huge draw and if you look closely you'll see a 'tick list' on the piano, which the boys mark every time they run through their piano pieces. Look at those double/treble/quadruple-ticked days! And the joy of having the headphones when the boys want to experiment with machine-gun noises, or when Ben wants to play at 11pm...
... of course the whole desirability of the thing sometimes leads to scuffles!
And finally, of course, the other antidote to too much video gaming is getting out and about. Son 2 can cycle to his friends or come on dog walks, but Son 1 is still limping (or lurching, really) and our season tickets for the nearby safari park have been a God-send for giving a semi-mobile boy something to do in the sunshine. On our last visit (Wednesday I think) he actually lurched round the walk-round zoo with me too!
So I wouldn't like you to think that our boys aren't part of the modern world with their computers and their obsessions, but I was also pleased to note that there is a natural balance which can be aimed for, with a certain amount of control and a fair amount of encouragement. I wouldn't be keen on removing them completely from modern living, but I do feel the need for some kind of limits - sometimes I wonder if we're hitting the right balance, but this week's enthusiasm for board games, piano practice and cartoon books makes me feel that we're reasonably on track!
That said, the usual suspects are visiting at the moment (three brothers), and all five boys are gathered round the computer, beeping away, but at least I know that it's part of a wider life, and not the whole thing. Other parents - what are your thoughts and experiences?