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Monday, July 16, 2012

Gaming from Point A to Point B

I’ve said before how much I am a gamer with no time to game. Back when the world was simpler and I was not obligated to have a job or do a lot of chores I could partake in long-ass sessions of point and click, hack and slash, get lamp, and pew pew. Ah, 1987. How I miss you. But in today’s harsh reality, I have a five year old, a job, chores, and no time to game.

Those days of cruising around Daventry and evil scientist’s mansions looking for damsels in distress are gone, replaced with rescuing my daughter from the clutches of the evil monsters under her bed. The Saturday afternoons of swinging through the jungles looking for money bags and diamond rings are over as I am more inclined to look through the couches for the TV remote in order to put on something I will watch in the few minutes I get the television to myself. The nights of building cities from small towns have vanished as I put out the garbage and try to keep the roof over my head from buckling.

But, as a father who has no desire to grow up, I still find whatever time I can get to do a little button mashing. When my daughter was just about to turn one, I bought "Grand Theft Auto IV". Now, I am a huge fan of the series. I actually made the decision to buy a PS2 just so I could play "GTA III" back in 2002. So, nothing infuriated me more as when I had just got my daughter down for a nap and was all prepared to launch into "GTA IV" and that stupid glitch thing happened. Flash forward three years later, and I haven’t finished the game. Now, she’s old enough to understand what’s happening on screen, so she can’t even be in the same room if I were to play it. Pretty much my life has been relegated to watching Qubo or Nick Jr. If I do manage to steal some time to play my PS3, she comes bounding down into the man cave and I am forced to quit because she wants to watch.

But, it’s not all bad. She likes watching me play games and she really wants to participate. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the coordination to handle a sixaxis very well. However, I plan to raise her as a gamer, but in doing so, she needs proper training. She has a Fisher Price iXL, so she has the stylus thing down. Now, we need to work on her ability to handle a controller. We can’t move too fast though, she needs to learn the basics. So, we’ll start with Atari 2600 games. One button, one stick. After all, learning to play video games without first playing on an Atari 2600 is like being taught how to win an All Valley Karate tournament with a stupid, blockable move like the Crane Kick but never being taught to paint a fence first. After that, we’ll move onto NES games and then Playstation and PC games. I would like her to appreciate the evolution of gaming and how even the simplest of games like Tetris can be entertaining and addictive.

In truth, I will look forward to her becoming a gamer as she grows older. She already has an interest in watching me play "Minecraft" and at the right age, when she can master keyboard and mouse, I plan to set up a server on a desktop and the two of us will build worlds together, just like we build skyscrapers and dinosaur compounds with her foam blocks. I’m laying the foundation, as it were.

Look at the landscape of games, per my analogy, Atari’s "Adventure" would be analogous to something like say "Skyrim"… maybe. I know that’s a stretch but I was thinking about the whole “Arrow to the knee” in that the sword in "Adventure" is basically and arrow like on a keyboard. Actually, you could probably draw a line from "Adventure" through "Zelda" to "Skyrim". Just like you could draw a line from "Pong" to "Wii Table Tennis". "Dodge ‘Em" to "Need for Speed"? I give up.

In any case, I’m bringing her up right. Then maybe I’ll bring her up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start.

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