Sunday, May 29, 2022

Helping my son play video games is one of my favorite things to do when I am a father

I don’t know when, how, or why I got into video games. All I know is that I’ve loved her and played her for as long as I can remember. From failing to make it to a particularly tricky boss in Alex Kidd on the Master System, to playing the remake earlier this year and realizing that it was only difficult because my four-year-old didn’t understand how to rock, paper plays, scissors, I have many memories of games.

Nobody else in my house played games. I didn’t have an older sibling handing me a plugless controller as they sped through Sonic 2’s Casino Night Zone. In the first few years I was alone. During that time, I completed Aladdin on the Mega Drive, something I once considered to be one of my greatest achievements in video game since I would have been only about six at the time. Another memory that was destroyed by a re-release as the replay recently opened my eyes to how short and simple Aladdin really is.

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Even when I got my hands on a PS1 for the first time and my dad started taking an interest in games like Final Fantasy 7 and Abe’s Odyssey, no one showed me what to do. That could explain why my fond memories of those games don’t last so far beyond the opening or two. With all of the adults in my life busy growing up, I assumed my time playing games would be finite. That my life would one day be consumed by the grinding. Here I am in my 30s and while I keep thinking about the grind, it’s less the one bringing food to the table, but the one that ends up unlocking Fortnite’s Symbiote Spidey suit.


Spider-Man and MJ fortnite
via Epic

I have a son of my own now, and although he has only recently turned two, he has already shown an interest in video games. Mario and Spyro liked him very much, which is problematic from the start as we are a very strong Sonic household. I also had to tone down the profanity about playing Rocket League, as he’s just as excited when he sees rocket-powered cars on TV chasing a ball.

The question I am asking myself now is when do I start teaching him to play these games myself? While I can’t remember a time when I wouldn’t have longed for a controller in hand, I can’t imagine taking my first foray into the Green Hill Zone when I was only two years old. The main difference here is that at that age, no one would have crossed their minds. Fast forward 30 years and I want someone I can play duos with who won’t berate me for not building up fast enough.

I don’t want to force the problem either. You don’t need a degree in child psychology to know that kids aren’t exactly cool with what their parents like, let alone something they do for a living. That may be why I loved games from a young age. Football and professional wrestling are also on the list of things to love for as long as I can remember, although no one was under the same roof as me when I was growing up and showing any interest in them at all.


my friend peppa pig
via Steam

At this point, the extent of my son’s gaming experience extends to something on his tablet requiring him to prepare food for various animal guests at an animated restaurant. An incredibly simple game, but the sense of achievement we both feel when he does something right on our own makes me excited about the future. For that future, I toyed with the idea of ​​buying My Friend Peppa Pig after it received rave reviews this year. However, it still feels like the wrong move to lose £ 35 on a game for someone who currently has the attention span of someone playing for 12 minutes. Hopefully it’ll be a freebie for PS Plus soon.

There will be times when playing with a three, four, five year old and beyond will be frustrating. Sonic Origins is coming out in 2022, a collection of the very first games I fell in love with. 2D side scrollers that require you to run, jump, and occasionally sprint feel like the perfect next step when my little one is old enough. It has not escaped my notice that it could wear me out a bit if I watch someone, even my own son, fail to complete a level that I raced through so many times that I could do it in my sleep. However, when he falls in love with her like years ago, all the frustration melts. What I don’t look forward to is making him understand that the fear that strikes when the countdown begins while Sonic is about to drown will never go away. The mere mention of the first game’s maze zone still makes me break in a cold sweat.


It might not sound like that, but what I look forward to the most, as hopefully my son will develop an interest in video games, is not to watch him play all of the games I made his age. It’s about figuring out which one he’ll choose to lay the foundation for his love of gaming. The OG Sonic games are all well and good for a four year old looking to improve their hand-eye coordination skills, but once they discover Minecraft, our video game paths will likely branch out in different directions. Let’s face it, after I open his eyes to the basics, it won’t be long before he teaches me. I look forward to his being better than me at Fortnite at the age of six, and I’m sure I won’t be bitter in the least about that. I am also very aware that I have to start this journey sooner rather than later so that my son doesn’t grow up thinking that Chris Pratt was always speaking to Mario.


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