Just once would be nice.
I think it would be fair to say I could attribute my love of video games to my father. Well, sort of. My father was always into new technology, and he always wanted to show me the latest gizmo he bought. His interest in electronics and the like was the polar opposite of my mother, who continually resisted anything that came around. Naturally, I became attracted to the digital image and its interactive manipulation. Despite how he always exposed me to and bought me new electronics and toys, it saddens me that he never really joined me in playing them. Even worse, until recently, he always expressed a constant derision towards my life's passion.
|Before there was color, there was green.|
That isn't to say that was the last game he showed interest in. One day, when our home computer was still the Macintosh Performa, he came home with Zork Nemesis: The Forbidden Lands, a graphic adventure game in the same vein as Myst. I was definitely excited since I loved Myst and really looked forward to playing another puzzle game, and I was excited that he wanted to play it with me. The excitement was over almost as quickly as it began because we ignored the hardware specifications that called for at least double the RAM we had on board, and the game would not even launch. As unfortunate as this was, it was more disappointing when he never came back around to play even after we bought and installed the upgrade. I don't know why, and I didn't ask. I just played and enjoyed the game alone and thought nothing of it.
So that was the last game he ever told me he wanted to play, and he never played it. This actually never began to bother me until the last few years. My parents and I did a lot of things separately. Sometimes, we'd all watch the same TV program in our own rooms. Thus, playing video games by myself didn't phase me one bit, and I never grew a desire to play with them either. Nothing about that seemed wrong to me. The time I would spend with friends was sporadic (I was not popular), so I found myself gravitating towards more single-player experiences. Sure, there were games like Street Fighter II and Eternal Champions that were more fun to play with friends, but you wouldn't believe how much time I'd spend playing against myself or screwing with Game Genie codes.
|So began my own personal adventure.|
Years after dropping that human waste of time, I held out until I met another guy who shared a passion for video games with me. At the time, it was more challenging than it probably is now, what with Gaymercon starting next year. But I met the love of my life, and we have spent six awesome years now playing and loving. I definitely play significantly more than he does, but he has always shown interest, and there are games he loves and have elicited strong emotional responses from him. (He handled a certain scene in Final Fantasy VII a lot worse than I ever did.) However, it was also during the time we've spent together that my father became rather adversarial towards my hobby. My parents naturally ask what I've been up to since the last time I've seen them, and usually I answer with a game I'm playing. My father's natural response has always been dismissive, instantly losing interest in me talking about it further. But there eventually came snide comments, too. I remember speaking at dinner about the Overlord DLC for Mass Effect 2, and I specifically wanted to talk about it because of how it involves autism. My only brother is autistic, so it is definitely a relevant topic of discussion in their house. However, when I began to explain that Mass Effect is a science fiction game, my dad quipped, "all [video games] are science fiction." No, it doesn't make any sense, but I could tell there was no point in continuing to talk about it.
|The majority of the Myst games were about a father's relationship with his sons.|
"They're not shit."
"I think they're shit."
"How can you continue to put down the thing I love to do most like that?"
"It's shit to me. What do you want me to say?"
"I would never put down something you're passionate about. And it's shit that you would say something like that to me."
He just shrugged, but I was rather angry as I drove off. I always got annoyed when he'd dismiss me, but this just took the cake. It was the first time he really just said it plainly, and he managed to make it as offensive as possible. The last thing I said was true, though. I may not have interest in many things my friends love, such as sports, – I may not even care the slightest bit about them – but I would never tell someone that this thing he or she is so excited about is shit. I'd just say I don't like it myself.
|Deus Ex: Human Revolutions allows the player to proceed through the whole game without killing (almost) anyone.|
My response to him was that not every game is violent, of course. Without a doubt, I own some games like Mortal Kombat where the violence is gratuitous, but I wanted to tell him that I'm not always a death dealer. Aside from sharing the artfulness of games like Journey and Papo & Yo, I also went on to talk about games like Grand Theft Auto IV, which match exciting and well-written plots with the violence. I even expressed that some of the best games make you question whether you want to commit violence like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Most importantly, I told him that I regret never playing Zork Nemesis with him. It only took 16 years to realize that it would have been nice.
|Zork Nemesis, the bonding experience that never was.|
What about you? How involved are your parents with what you're passionate about? Do you play games with either of them? Please share your experience.