Not everyone can say that they have fond memories of gaming with their parents. Based on the few replies on Twitter from a recent expression about my mother’s Animal Crossing achievements- I called to check up on the house and part of her response was that she just reached 50 million Bells in her bank account on the game- being able to game with your parents is a rare occurrence.
I hadn’t really thought about it, but I suppose it makes sense. Most households where gaming was within the family seems to be either with siblings or as a hobby that their parents didn’t associate with. I definitely gamed with friends, but until I was old enough to actually go to their houses by my own means, my parents were usually up for a game of some kind.
It’s probably pretty safe to say that in traditional stereotypes of the only child: I was spoiled.
My fondest memories of gaming with my mother go back to running through all of the Donkey Kong Country series together. When I play them now, I realize just how good at gaming she had to have been because those games are not a walk in the park by any means. The second game, Diddy’s Kong Quest, was probably the one that got the most play since she absolutely adored Diddy Kong, and I was a big Dixie Kong fan. Thinking about that game transports me back to my room as a kid with vivid memories of sitting on the floor and staring up at the TV as we pushed through those games level by level.
There were a few other games that she really enjoyed (or humored me with as I enjoyed): she helped me through parts of Secret of Mana when she had some free time, enjoyed exploring Tomb Raider and its sequels once the Playstation era started, and Super Mario 64 was a family favorite. She and my dad even went into the trenches with me with X-Men: The Arcade Game and The Simpsons cabinet (as I wrote about briefly in my arcade gaming history). I have a close family, despite some of the usual differences that come up, and I think a lot of that was due to being able to share in hobbies and interests, gaming being a large part of them.
Gaming with my dad was a different experience, but it was still a bonding experience when we got the time to do it. The sharpest memory I go back to with him was when we got the Nintendo 64, and the first game we played wasn’t Super Mario 64 like most kids. It was Wave Race 64. He commented on how awesome the intro was, realistic water effects and all, and we sank a ton of time into jetskiing around courses together and against each other. Earlier in out gaming adventures, we spent a lot of time with NHL 95 on the Sega Genesis. I don’t play a lot of sports games now, but I still have the urge to go back and play some of those because I remember how much fun I had with this when I was younger. He was a big fan of racing games in general, so we had them in a bunch of different forms: Super Mario Kart, Road Rash, and SSX Tricky making prominent waves in our household.
Lately, we don’t play a ton of games together and when we do, it tends to be remotely. My husband and I played through portions of Fantasy Life on the 3DS with my mother, and every so often, we would visit her town in Animal Crossing. My dad briefly got into the Wii craze when it first came out, but recently, he gave their system to me as a backup since they don’t play as often anymore. Due to my parents not really being able to get out as often as they used to, my husband and I are always looking for games for my mom to check out, mostly in the vein of Animal Crossing and the old Legend of Zelda games. My dad has pretty much played Candy Crush for months and that’s about all of the gaming he does now, but it works with his job to play in quick spurts so while I may feel like that particular game is- well, what it is- it makes him happy so I guess I can’t argue with that.
There are still plenty of memories to be had and written about, and I will probably jot them down as the mood strikes me. Gaming really has the ability to bring people together, and while plenty of folks have made some of their best friends through gaming, I also managed to have it strengthen the bonds between my family members and create some pretty amazing recollections to come back to.
So how about you, folks? Do you have any memories of gaming with your parents growing up? If not, maybe you had some other family members who shared the same gaming bug that bit you just as hard? Let me know and feel free to chat about it in the comments!
Hope you all have a great weekend!
– Matt (a.k.a. The3rdPlayer)