The Family That Games Together

3pmegamanstyle
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 KartRoad 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)

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No Kick to This Routine – Super Nintendo – 3 Ninjas Kick Back – 1994

3 Ninjas Kick Back0013 Ninjas Kick Back
Super Nintendo
Malibu Interactive/Sony Imagesoft
Genre: Action Platformer
1994

Movies aimed at kids can do a multitude of things.  When you’re young, they can inspire you to try out new hobbies or interests you might not have before.  I can still remember when Rookie of the Year came out and I immediately wanted to join a T-ball league.  That’s a positive, right?

When you’re older, you tend to look back on them with fondness- even if it’s a cringe-inducing fondness that makes you realize that maybe you shouldn’t have quoted everything those kids said at recess, and now you understand why you were kept inside that one time you quoted Mouth from The Goonies.

They can also spawn a wide range of merchandise, the most important of which in the 1990s was the video game.  Films have been the basis for video games for as long as most can remember. If there’s an opportunity to turn a few extra bucks by using interactive electronic media- well, why not?  I still vividly remember the feeling that the 3 Ninjas movies left me with.  I wanted to get out there and try karate.  I wanted to fight off thugs and save the day with some friends; I’m an only child so I didn’t have two brothers to team up with.  Honestly, though, I can’t say I remember too much about the actual movies.

While I never played 3 Ninjas Kick Back growing up, I figured I could give it a swing now.  Of course with it being a licensed game, my reservations were high.  In the back of my mind, I just kept thinking that there had to be some design ideas in there that could be interesting.  At no point did I try to convince myself that it would be a good game, though.

Allow me to share my experience with you, o fellow game fan.


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Twitter Topic – Get Down With The Sequelitis

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In a recent post over in The Well-Red Mage’s neck of the woods, he brought up a topic I’ve had conversation with some folks about over the course of my gaming career that I realize I haven’t posted at length about:

“What video game series got infected with Sequelitis?”

As a fan of many- many- horror movie series, the concept of sequelitis is not a new one to me.  Once a series hits a certain point, they start to shows symptoms:

Maybe a character comes back completely changed, shrugging off everything you knew about them.  Maybe your favorite action movie decided to appeal to a new demographic and has a forced romantic subplot.  What if the locale changes from a quiet blood-soaked summer camp to a space station?

…okay, that series was a little sick by then anyway, but you get my meaning, I hope.

Why don’t you grab a seat while I diagnose a few gaming series that may have fallen to illness for a time- but bear in mind, you’re always welcome to a second opinion elsewhere!

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The Challenge From Beyond – MS-DOS – Alone in the Dark – 1992

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Alone in the Dark
PC
Infogrames
Genre: Survival Horror
1992

Back in the 1990s, horror aficionado and computer programmer Frederick Reynal was given the privilege of sitting at the helm of a horror project for Infogrames.  As a fan of George Romero and Dario Argento, he and his team wanted to create a game that placed a character into a foreign environment and required them to puzzle out a way to survive.  At the time, it was a concept that hadn’t been done in this particular manner. It would use 3D graphics and strive to create the fear that even a small gesture like opening a door or reading a book could end up with your character’s untimely demise.

Alone in the Dark was the product of that effort.  Billed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first 3D survival horror game, its influence can be found throughout the genre to this day in games like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and various other games that has since leaned into action-horror; a move that this series would take itself much later in its lifespan.  To say that Alone in the Dark is responsible for the majority of the mechanics and efforts in the horror genre as we know it would be an apt, if not understated, conclusion to make.

Time has done a number of a variety of the trailblazers in video game history, however, and given how Alone in the Dark looks based on screenshots alone, it might be worth it to wonder how it holds up now and which influences- innovative or not- are just as novel now or may have needed some improvement from the get-go.
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Responding to My Sunshine Blogger Award

I’ll admit that I had thought that I had already been nominated for this- but apparently, there are two ‘Sunshine’ awards going around!  Either way, I’m super flattered that Rob over at I Played the Game! tossed one of these my way, as I haven’t followed his blog for a terribly long time but the more I read, the more I find myself both relating and coming back for more of his work.  I highly recommend checking out what he has to offer over that way.

As with most of these types of awards, the rules follow a pretty straightforward:

  • Thank blogger(s) who nominated you for a blog post and link back to their blog.  (Done, and once again, I suggest you check out his work!)
  • Answer the questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate new blogs to receive the award and write them new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Before I go on with this, I want to ‘philosophize’ just a bit over why I love peer recognition awards like the one I’m embarking on.  For one, it gives folks who have just recently started a regular routine of reading blogs a few new avenues to check out to look into folks that they can communicate with about their interests and passions.  On another angle, it lets you get to know people, even if it’s on a passing and sometimes comical level.

Okay, that could just be me, but maybe you have strange interests like ‘finding out about people’ like I do!

Anyway- on with the show!
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