187: A Multi-Player Family

A Multi-Player Family

Minesweeper, Solitaire and Brain Age might be videogames, but playing them doesn't really make you a gamer ... right? Ed McNeill reexamines his family's gaming habits - and his own flawed perceptions about who gamers really are.

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Oh have no fear *glances over at my mother and brother ferverantly engrossed by the wii* I am fully aware, hell my family will play smash brothers quite often to quell violent arguements. It's incredible, what a quick smash up with nintendo's favorites can do to avert attention away from why someone put the mustard in the fridge when it was supposed to go in the cupboard and has consequently ruined sunday lunch (of course) for someone.

Of course doing things like solitare, brain age and the like makes you a gamer, those who do those things are very suseptable to other gaming and with the right challenge to perk their interest will be sucked in faster than you can blink.

You will often be surprised with what actually happens when you get introduced to the Real Life, one day we all have to move on from gaming, so its no surpise that our parents had bonding with gaming in their time, but as this is the new era and back in the days of Quake 1&2 (Game me and my Dad grew up with) Multiplayer never existed in a solid form, so slang and different understandings were non-existant, basically you just said it as you saw it in a personal form.

But as I said; when we become in the posistion when our kids stand a chance as Gamers we will have a better understanding as due to the online community the slag and understandings will stick (well, the basics anyway)

So all in all; We could be set to be just like the "ignorant" elders at gaming, but who knows! =)

Once again the old hardcore versus casual demographic surfaces. I wrestled with some of the same issues myself, considering myself the only knowledgeable gamer in the family despite the fact that my mom has racked up more than a trillion zillion Sudoku boards.

I'd say the real difference lies in one's consumption of paratexts (e.g. game-related media, reading Escapist/Kotaku/GWJ/whatever). She doesn't spend any time looking at Sudoku strategy sites or checking out upcoming Sudoku book releases. I sure do. Sudoku 2010 Hyper Edition is gonna be AWESOME.

Wow. Seems my reply to the Like Gamer Like Son article would fit better here. Anyways, my brother and I are both hardcore gamers, I however am more so, but my parents are both definatly gamers, and though I would not use hardcore to describe them as gamers, Id use it in a more specific way. Well, my dad is like a casual hardcore gamer. He plays games often, he has two subscriptions to EGM (one for the living room, the other for bathroom reading) and pays attention to upcoming games he is looking forward to. (Like the new Wolverine one)
My mother is what I would call a hardcore Zelda gamer. I remember when she became obsessed with collecting every single figurine in Zelda: Wind Waker, and recently got back into playing Majora's Mask. She also likes naming her Link interesting yet childish names. "My Balls" being one just so people would say it often resulting in amusing sentences. "My Balls saved me!"

The take-away message of this article ISN'T specifically about families and parents, although the makeup frames the point: a "gamer" is someone who plays games. It's not someone who logs insane hours in Wow or who likes to start flame wars about console choice. People frequently badmouth "casual" games, or "soft" games for kids, but really, if you're playing a game, playing it frequently, are good at it (or are getting better), and ENJOY playing it, aren't you a gamer? At any age?

I can get my family on the Wii typically but the most impressive one I've seen lately is the board game 'Apples to Apples'. It's the most universal game I've ever seen. You just draw a bunch of random cards and play an association game while the judge takes turns picking the winner. Mix in a little anonymity and you've got an amazing game for anyone.

The take-away message of this article ISN'T specifically about families and parents, although the makeup frames the point: a "gamer" is someone who plays games. It's not someone who logs insane hours in Wow or who likes to start flame wars about console choice. People frequently badmouth "casual" games, or "soft" games for kids, but really, if you're playing a game, playing it frequently, are good at it (or are getting better), and ENJOY playing it, aren't you a gamer? At any age?

I'll second that, and go as far as to say it is a beautiful thing. Despite all our differences, we are all gamers.


[...]My family is entirely composed of gamers.

Yours probably is, too.

Well, not. My father never played video games, wasn't even interested in them at all. My mother got into gaming as far as Windows 3.1's Solitaire goes, and then...brick wall...she just got stuck and remained there ever since. Of course she had to follow the progress of technology, so she now plays...Solitaire on WinXP. Never played board games either, aside from a half-hearted attempt at a Game of Life session, that was anything but "fun for the whole family", and a few rounds of chess with my father. So, I'm practically a black sheep in the family with my gaming "addiction". (because if you play any video game, you are automatically addicted. Duh!)

Now, I review PC games for a webzine for a few years now, and I want to make a living doing that someday. Uh...you have an opening for a game reviewer? *big, toothy smile*

My dad is (or was) an awesome Star Wars Podracer player. He'd play for hours everyday, winning every race and constantly setting records. While I almost always beat him, for a 55 year old guy who didn't grow up playing any video games, his skills were quite impressive. Not bad at Sanfansisco Rush, either. Unfortunetly, his interest with games ended when my xBox replaced my N64. Aside from Nascar 2004, that is. :P

My two younger sisters are casual gamers. They love RPGs. Specifically, the Legend of Zelda series, Fable, KotOR and Mass Effect. THey, along with my older sister and my mom, love Rock Band to death. We'll all burn hours off the clock playing song after song, trading instruments between sets and arguing over who has to sing next. It's one of the few ways I'm able to connect with my family. So fun.

Nice article. On these forums and on loads of others across the net we've gone around and around on what quantifies you as a gamer, and how willing we are to let people share that tag, but I think you're right - however you play games, and whatever those games may be, you're a gamer. And lets face it, if the people who purchased our very first consoles for us now want a quick round on Rock Band 2 or on pretty much anything on the DS, who are we to say no? :)

My dad could finish frogger eyes closed. Also played so much rogue that he knew it inside out.
My middle brother (I'm the youngest) made games. My oldest brother was a great strategy game buff. My mom... well... she and computers don't hang out.
I've been raised with a computer, and I can say I am proud of my 18 years of gaming legacy.

well, I know that my grand-mother oft plays Sudoku (though it is the classic, paper version) and I indirectly influenced my aunt and uncle to play texas hold em, which in turn are influencing my family *smirk*
but, with my XBOX 360, latest games, and plan to buy O.R.I.G.I.N., I'm still the hardcore gamer in my family (though my cousins are much better at Guitar Hero than I, I must say)

I give kudos. A well-written, thought-provoking article.

I suppose when we get down to it, everyone 'games'. My mother only plays Wii Fit and Brain Age. Does that necessarily mean she's not a gamer?

After this article, I'll have to think that question through once or twice.

Thanks for the thoughts.

Nothing drives home the concept that "everyone" games like realizing my aunt owns a Wii. This 60+ woman who had never touched a controller stalked retailers for months before remembering she had a niece that worked for a retailer. Doh!

Of course, I should have seen this coming. What with her passion for card games and Monopoly.

I thought it a good article. I can say that my entire family games in one way or another. I can fully blame my mother for starting my siblings and I on RPGs with weekly tabletop D&D games. While only my brother can be called a "hardcore" gamer, there were times when the single player games suddenly became team efforts with one person using the controller, one person acting as a spotter, and one person looking cheats up on the internet all at once :p

Well I guess you're not a hardcore gamer anymore either.

I mean, once you recognize that people can get enjoyment from playing (roll save*) on the Wii, or that others might enjoy puzzle games more than two-fisted games, well then, you have to cough up some of your hardcore points.

(*): "with their Wii"

Interesting read. I think the one thing that has bugged me in my family is that I am the only "real gamer". I know my brother is the halo twit that you mentioned in the article..the fact that he also is in a frat makes it twice as funny. I think that I am breaking some ground in convincing them to play video games because I actually got my mom to play Wii Sports and Mario Kart which for her is a HUGE deal.

Great article.
I do feel that everyone is playing games now days. My family isn't any different. Me and my brother both play heaps, my sister has recently found the Sims 2 and Fable 2, and my dad slowly games starting with Doom, then Myst, and recently Gran Turismo. My mums the odd one out, because I don't think I've ever seen her play something fun. But then the article did point out that we all play games, so surely she could be next on my list of targets.


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