Imagine being a single-digit aged child between 5-7 years old in the late 1980’s. You have an NES. Other kids your age also have game systems and the only people you knew who really played video games were other kids. Its pretty easy to imagine, isn’t it?
Then one day, I rented a game call Tetris. I don’t think Tetris needs any introduction because it is so ubiquitous to gamers and non-gamers alike. Blocks fall down, complete a line and clear the screen. Simple, elegant and addictive. Being a young person, while the puzzle game was fun and interesting it wasn’t as much so when compared to the other games like Mario and Zelda that I loved. However, rental soon turned to ownership not because I liked the game but because Mum liked the game. Before I knew it, my NES had been invaded not by my peers but a parent.
This concept was so strange at first. Mum played some of my other games, sure, but not like this. There were times where I couldn’t play Mario because Mum wanted to play Tetris. She was addicted to it. While it was fun to hang out with her while she played, I couldn’t help but feel she was taking away part of my fun time. Eventually, it waned and Tetris stop being played as much. But then came the doctor.
We got a copy of Dr. Mario which I liked and Mum liked. However, now I really needed to fight Mum off with a stick in order to get my NES fix. Hell, Mum’s Dr. Mario playing would occasionally make her late for work as she tried to get “one more game” in. We all know how that goes.
In the end, I came to the realization that perhaps games weren’t just for other kids. That adults could really enjoy them too. As a now adult gamer myself, it makes me ponder how my own game playing habits will be one day viewed by my own potential offspring. Especially my love for the supposedly “kiddie” franchises like Mario and Kirby. I certainly hope that it makes me a cool dad, though I fear that my kids won’t get to play games because daddy is too busy hogging whatever the current generation Nintendo console is (hopefully a Wii U).
The Short and Sweet of It
The Games: Tetris and Dr. Mario
Why it is important: My understanding of gaming was shattered when I learned that games weren’t simply for the young.