187: Parents Just Don't Understand

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Parents Just Don't Understand

Most of us never played videogames with our parents, but that doesn't mean they don't have anything to teach us about them. Tom Endo recalls his father's observations about the games he played as a youth, and how they shaped his future opinions about the medium.

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Well it's true, the last generation usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss...

My parents, mainly my mother, are the same way. Hell, even my roommate can be most of the time. They don't really get it. They don't understand how someone can sit and invest their time into a game; something that, in their minds, doesn't yield anything out of beating it or being good at it. My parents have started to realize that games are my life. They realize that, when I visit home, part of my time will be spent in the basement either on XBL or on WoW. They are also getting to know games better. My mom will occasionally send me articles about new or controversial games that I may be interested in. Ahh well, as Jursa said, "It's their loss..."

That pretty much summed up what it is like in my house. Exactly. Just other games, but otherwise the same.

Great article.

I am lucky in the way that both my parents like to play video games. I remember watching them play Siphon Filter together when I was little, and getting beaten in Tekken by my dad. The only difference now is I'm the one doing the beating.

All the parents i've ever met understood modern games and why their kids enjoy them fine.I guess it's just my community.

What scares me is that history suggests that, in 40-60 years or so, we will be the same way about our childrens' favorite pass time...

(old man voice) "Why don't you kids quit playing with that stupid jet pack, and get in here and play a good, wholesome first person shooter!"

See?! I can't even imagine what it'll be. The best I could come up with was jet pack...and that would be awesome...

EDIT: Ok, I just woke up. That year range seems a little ridiculous. Make it something more like 20-30.

God, when he talks about them not understanding one wit is so like how my parents are. I tell them all about how video games are an industry and its legitimate in multiple aspects but they are too dense to see beyond anything other than "shoot em up" games.."sigh"

Thick-headed as my parents are about most things, they did buy a PS2 a couple years ago. Why? My mom had seen me playing GTA3 and thought it was a riot. Unfortunately, they bought a system which is appartently a bit much for 50 year olds to deal with, and lost interest. I think they're tossing around the idea of getting a Wii now, which may be more their speed- fun, simple games.

My dear parents like GTA......

Sounds familiar. Very familiar.

I recommend the editor show his dad mirror's edge if he has a problem with animation or texture.

But yeah, this is pretty much true. My dad even kind of plays games, to a point. (Hell, he might think duke nukem is more awesome than I thought he was).

But he comes from the 80's-90's generation of gaming. Like, you know, arrow keys and ctrl/shift/space. Poor reaction speed. Poor spatial awareness. That's not really his fault though. He's older.

I just feel that if I play video games past the time I'm like, 30, that my kids will just be really embarrassed when I try anything.

My mom is detached. She views it as me sitting down looking at a screen for 5 hours.
I tell her "if that's all it is, why do you watch CSI marathons?"

She starts making excuses about the characters...Caring about them, getting into the story...Some of them are pretty exciting...

And there it is. The way that some people find their excitement is different. And personally, strategy, competition, reflex, etc, etc...I enjoy them because of that. And I've seen parents who just don't get it, I've seen parents who try to understand, and I see parents who seriously drop $350 dollars on a Wii and Wii Fit because they saw a commercial about doing a stepping exercise would make them lose weight, and they love the gimmicky bullshit that I just...got over in about 5 minutes.

It really makes me wonder if it's inevitable to not understand, or if it just, depends on the person.

Well it's true, the last generation usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss...

Wait a minute there. I'm 46. I've played videogames since 1980. Yours isn't the videogame generation - OURS was. And it's not a generational gap - some folks (most folks) just don't like videogames - that's the same with twenty year-olds as it is with 40 year-olds or 80 year-olds. Everyone my age made a conscious decision to like or dislike videogames - it wasn't something we simply didn't have access to - pong was in arcades in the 1970s, console gaming and personal computers that played games were available in 1980. I had a ZX Spectrum PC and an Intellivision when I was a teenager - and MY dad (who was born in 1931) played games on both. So let's just stop this 'parents can't grasp gaming' nonsense. Maybe yours can't, but mine could and my daughter has a dad who plays videogames much more than she does.

I hope my parents never buy a Wii too.

Hahaha, I loved your dad's reaction to Mortal Kombat, Tom Endo. My mom had a similar response. I had constructed a defensive shell of argumentation that was willing and ready to take her on re: gruesome violence and why me playing the game was okay. Never needed to use it.

Mom: "Is this what everyone in book club is complaining about? That's so funny! Why does that monster have so many arms? He looks retarded, you should put him out of his misery."

She actually said that Goro was "retarded".

tendo82:
Parents Just Don't Understand

Most of us never played videogames with our parents, but that doesn't mean they don't have anything to teach us about them. Tom Endo recalls his father's observations about the games he played as a youth, and how they shaped his future opinions about the medium.

Read Full Article

My Dad and I had an almost meeting of minds over Doom. He had it networked in his office and he appreciated it was good. He played with his workmates and I played with his workmates but we never played together.

Tom's dad sounds exactly like mine, my dad would walk in. Look for a minute, say something like "You guys need to get a life" and then walk out. I wish parents understood a video-game today was like the Beatles in the 60's or Zeppelin in the 70's. Great article though, one of the few that I've actually read all the way through.

Beery:
"Well it's true, the last generation usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss..."

Wait a minute there. I'm 46. I've played videogames since 1980. Yours isn't the videogame generation - OURS was. And it's not a generational gap - some folks (most folks) just don't like videogames - that's the same with twenty year-olds as it is with 40 year-olds or 80 year-olds. Everyone my age made a conscious decision to like or dislike videogames - it wasn't something we simply didn't have access to - pong was in arcades in the 1970s, console gaming and personal computers that played games were available in 1980. I had a ZX Spectrum PC and an Intellivision when I was a teenager - and MY dad (who was born in 1931) played games on both. So let's just stop this 'parents can't grasp gaming' nonsense. Maybe yours can't, but mine could and my daughter has a dad who plays videogames much more than she does.

Hear bloody hear... I'm 49, I find that remark asinine as well. You pretty well said what I wanted to say. I was in the 8 bit wars too. AND have plenty of mates who are still into it.

Funny, before my old man died I showed him a few games on the Xbox. He was fascinated at 91! I avoided WW2 games as he was actually in that for real. But he was amazed to see a soccer game like Redcard for instance... "see pop, you can dial up the awareness of the referee". lol. I miss the old guy.

Not everybody who doesn't play video games sneer... they're just not into it much. My wife's not that keen- except for Ninja Gaiden or Burnout, then it's "hey woman, it's my turn now!". heheh.

Practice makes perfect, it hard to keep the skills up to compete, when you actually have to spend time irl to look after the ungrateful little sods. :)

Just before the release of the PS2, I was chatting about it with an older brother- "meh", he said, "I'd rather just get a DVD player". "That's the thing", I replied, "I get to choose whether my TV entertainment will be active or just passive"...

Then, he got it.

as am I, not quiet as old as you guys, but i'm verging on 30

my mother, was against video games,all through out my childhood, up until i was about 26, she discover gran turismo and loved it, not long after she bought herself a ps2 and a tonne of racing games.

she was also very intrigued by guitar hero and rock band (which she too now owns) the wii was like heaven and soon after picked one up, it goes to show you your never too old to pick up a game and play it just turned out she was a casual gamer and didn't know it.

my dad, has always been a gamer, he was the one who got me into games in the beginning, he love games, but the advent of the control pad, threw him he was a joystick and keyboard mouse kinda guy, soo although he loves a good pc game, consoles are out,

the funniest yet surprising gamer of all was my gran, she loves GTA in it's entirety. i showed her the basic controls (she's took a few goes but got it) she loves the fact you can run around get in a car and run down pedestrians, when she got busted by the cops in the game she said am i not suppose to do that ? lol

"Well it's true, the last generation usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss..."

well if my gran can play and enjoy this point is moot, i guess the key word is "usually" here though

jemborg:

Beery:
"Well it's true, the last generation usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss..."

Wait a minute there. I'm 46. I've played videogames since 1980. Yours isn't the videogame generation - OURS was. And it's not a generational gap - some folks (most folks) just don't like videogames - that's the same with twenty year-olds as it is with 40 year-olds or 80 year-olds. Everyone my age made a conscious decision to like or dislike videogames - it wasn't something we simply didn't have access to - pong was in arcades in the 1970s, console gaming and personal computers that played games were available in 1980. I had a ZX Spectrum PC and an Intellivision when I was a teenager - and MY dad (who was born in 1931) played games on both. So let's just stop this 'parents can't grasp gaming' nonsense. Maybe yours can't, but mine could and my daughter has a dad who plays videogames much more than she does.

Hear bloody hear... I'm 49, I find that quote asinine as well. You pretty well said what I wanted to say. I was in the 8 bit wars too. AND have plenty of mates who are still into it.

Funny, before my old man died I showed him a few games on the Xbox. He was fascinated at 91! I avoided WW2 games as he was actually in that for real. But he was amazed to see a soccer game like Redcard for instance... "see pop, you can dial up the awareness of the referee". lol. I miss the old guy.

Not everybody who doesn't play video games sneer... they're just not into it much. My wife's not that keen- except for Ninja Gaiden or Burnout, then it's "hey woman, it's my turn now!". heheh.

Practice makes perfect, it hard to keep the skills up to compete, when you actually have to spend time irl to look after the ungrateful little sods. :)

Just before the release of the PS2, I was chatting about it with an older brother- "meh", he said, "I'd rather just get a DVD player". "That's the thing", I replied, "I get to choose whether my TV entertainment will be active or just passive"...

Then, he got it.

This appears to be what both of you have missed:

spyrewolf:
i guess the key word is "usually" here though

We all know that arguments from personal experience are severely flawed when attempting to prove common trends, I don't know why your hurt pride has to get in the way of seeing the point.

Enjoyable article all the same. Goldeneye was the game that my father and I bonded over, and we played the Bond games on the PS2 for a while after that. But he just plays the Wii now, more intensive games can give him headaches.

My father, the atypical man he was, was the one who wanted to get an Atari 2600 back in the early eighties/late seventies. I'd played pong on Magnavox' old console, but it had been brought out to keep me distracted from my aunt who was babysitting me at the time. I hadn't thought much of it at the time, and still a lot of older games still make me cringe. I don't know how people spent money on such an undeveloped medium.

I remember going to Sears with my father, who wouldn't tell me why we were going. They had an Atari 2600 set up to try out, More to just grab kids attention so as to start the bugging process that would ultimately sell one of the things. He took me there to try it out...I didn't have any interest at all. I forget the name of the racing game, the Atari title wherein one drives between the little pylons in your line drawn car and have the epileptic crashes. I thought the controls were awful (though my criticism wasn't so well framed up back then) and the so to the graphics. All of the other games I'd seen were similarly simplistic, and they weren't something I wanted to spend my time on. It must have been an odd sight to the employees, my father trying to sell me on getting a video game system, when I was reluctant. I found out later that my mother had reluctantly agreed to get one, if and only if I had wanted it, and would actually use it. I never owned an Atari 2600.

Possibly my favorite game of all time would have to be Myst, because it helped me get to know my father better than just about any other common interest we've had throughout the years. Both my parents were insanely busy people and my father had to go out of town on business trips for the majority of my formative years. Well, one year for Christmas we got our first family PC and Myst.

He and I spent at least two nights a week for a year in the basement of our crappy little suburban house taking turns at the keyboard and taking notes. While my dad is a pretty young guy (one of the advantages to my parents being irresponsible in college) he never devoted as much time to video games as I had. Nevertheless, he and I really got to know each other, pretty much for the first time, over Myst.

Xelanath:

jemborg:

Beery:
"Well it's true, the last generation usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss..."

Wait a minute there. I'm 46. I've played videogames since 1980. Yours isn't the videogame generation - OURS was. And it's not a generational gap - some folks (most folks) just don't like videogames - that's the same with twenty year-olds as it is with 40 year-olds or 80 year-olds. Everyone my age made a conscious decision to like or dislike videogames - it wasn't something we simply didn't have access to - pong was in arcades in the 1970s, console gaming and personal computers that played games were available in 1980. I had a ZX Spectrum PC and an Intellivision when I was a teenager - and MY dad (who was born in 1931) played games on both. So let's just stop this 'parents can't grasp gaming' nonsense. Maybe yours can't, but mine could and my daughter has a dad who plays videogames much more than she does.

Hear bloody hear... I'm 49, I find that remark asinine as well. You pretty well said what I wanted to say. I was in the 8 bit wars too. AND have plenty of mates who are still into it.

Funny, before my old man died I showed him a few games on the Xbox. He was fascinated at 91! I avoided WW2 games as he was actually in that for real. But he was amazed to see a soccer game like Redcard for instance... "see pop, you can dial up the awareness of the referee". lol. I miss the old guy.

Not everybody who doesn't play video games sneer... they're just not into it much. My wife's not that keen- except for Ninja Gaiden or Burnout, then it's "hey woman, it's my turn now!". heheh.

Practice makes perfect, it hard to keep the skills up to compete, when you actually have to spend time irl to look after the ungrateful little sods. :)

Just before the release of the PS2, I was chatting about it with an older brother- "meh", he said, "I'd rather just get a DVD player". "That's the thing", I replied, "I get to choose whether my TV entertainment will be active or just passive"...

Then, he got it.

This appears to be what both of you have missed:

spyrewolf:
i guess the key word is "usually" here though

We all know that arguments from personal experience are severely flawed when attempting to prove common trends, I don't know why your hurt pride has to get in the way of seeing the point.

Enjoyable article all the same. Goldeneye was the game that my father and I bonded over, and we played the Bond games on the PS2 for a while after that. But he just plays the Wii now, more intensive games can give him headaches.

Sorry mate but you are flaming idiot. Talk about playing miss the point! ROFLMAO get a life. I have no real hurt pride, else why would I have used humour? We were addressing a ignorant remark. I have no idea why you took offence. Perhaps it's a need to patronize your elders for some reason. You choose to read anger into it. Jesus Christ on a bike, of course it was anecdotal. So was the original article! hahahaha

My generation was the videogame generation... we didn't just grasp it...we invented it! lol Beery is right! Jursa's comment is invalid.

So? I respectably disagree with spyrewolf when he says the point is moot... it's just wrong (ie. not "usual"). But, don't "have a cow" about it. :D

This appears to be what both of you have missed:

spyrewolf:
"i guess the key word is "usually" here though"

No. You're the one missing the point. Because the full quote is:

"Well it's true, the LAST GENERATION usually can't grasp gaming and I have only one thing to say about that - it's their loss..."

This makes it into a generational issue when it's just not. It has nothing to do with how old you are. EVERY generation "usually" can't grasp gaming. Gaming is a minority pursuit. To say it's a generational thing is simply wrong. I could just as easily say that youngsters 'usually' can't grasp gaming - that would be true too, but it would give the SAME false and prejudiced impression that the earlier post gave - that one generation is less attuned to gaming than another.

The main reason why gamers' parents don't understand gaming is that MOST PEOPLE don't understand gaming. Therefore, the chances are, if you're a gamer your parents won't be gamers, so they won't 'get it'. It has nothing to do with a generation gap. Guess what else - when you have kids THEY probably won't grasp gaming either, because gamers are rare in any generation, plus you'll have the added problem caused by the fact that the pursuits you think are cool will be avoided by them, because most kids think their parents are almost entirely uncool.

The other issue that the "can't grasp gaming" guy gets wrong is that it's not like gaming was invented with the videogame. Heck, gaming has been a hobby for centuries. The Romans gamed for Heaven's sake! Our parents and grandparents grew up with tabletop wargames, boardgames and all sorts of games. I remember going to my grandad's house one time to find him and his friends deeply involved in a pen-and-paper game. My grandad was born in 1902 and he was an avid gamer. For gamers of my generation and older, videogames were an exciting proposition because we would no longer have to memorize rulebooks the size of Belgium when playing a strategy game. If anything, gamers my age and older adapted willingly to videogaming, because the paper alternative was so darned cumbersome.

my father loves video games

he got me into gaming

I'm currently going to college to become a visual effects artist in gaming and movies, and I found this article truly summarizes my father's view on games. What really got my attention was the comments his father makes about the textures and the character movements in the games he played. While my father does this same routine when he watches a snippet of me gaming, I also find he will pick apart something I make in 3D for class as well. While what I view looks great in my eyes, my father has a different perspective on things. What I think looks truly realistic in gaming terms, my father thinks looks fake and even cringe worthy at times. I find this isn't because he's looking for things to critic, rather, he doesn't give any leeway for things I let go, because while I compare it to how things used to be and how far they've come, he simply sees graphics trying to impersonate reality. This is what has driven me to create work that looks so realistic, when thrown into a scene, he doesn't even notice it. In my opinion, people that view video games the way my father does, are partially the reason why things have come as far as they have today. While gamers like me forgive the minor errors because of the overall presentation of a game, people like my father will always view a game through different eyes, and in this way inspire people like myself to try harder.
Take my story for what it is or leave it to gather dust, but I still think that that this "generational gap" is what has helped the gaming community become as strong as it has, no matter what system you started out on.

But the 'gaming generational gap' is a myth. You can find the dismissive attitude towards gaming among any group. It's not just parents. Heck, go to any high school and you'll see the cliques of gamers and non-gamers. The gamers think the non-gamers don't get it and the non-gamers think the gamers are dweebs.

Any minority hobby will get criticized by those who aren't into it, and if you're a kid, those people not into it won't be your friends - after all, you're their friend because they're into the same things you are. No, most likely those people who aren't into your hobby will be your parents.

It has nothing to do with an older generation that's somehow not into games. That non-gamer older generation doesn't exist. It's a fantasy created by folks who are confused about how probability works. The probability works like this - if you have a hobby that the majority doesn't share an interest in, the folks who are around you by chance rather than by choice probably will not share a love for your hobby.

It's (fairly) simple mathematics.

Actually, thats how my dad and I bonded. Games.

not that anyone cares but he is a construction worker, has been for as long as I can remember. He was too tired to play with me outside and stuff, so instead he bought a copy of DOOM for the PC and I used to sit on his lap and shoot while he moved. It was the best and is how I got started playing games. We did that pretty much every night. Even nowadays my dad and I play games together. My parents are divorced so whenever I visited him I brought my xbox and later my 360. He really like the Crimson Sky and Rainbow Six games. When I moved to Vermont he even asked if he could have my xbox and a few games. I let him and he still plays them from time to time.

That may be just a special case for me but it goes to show, not all parents don't get video games.

nathan-dts:
I hope my parents never buy a Wii too.

i hope i never buy a wii....

My dad and I play WoW together. It's fun times.

My dad doesn't play games, but he is understanding enough to have spent at least 3000 on it in the last few years, so I say leave off him, will ya? He was mighty impressed with Crysis' graphics, though.

Just goes to show we'll be the best generation of parents in world history...

While my mother has never had interest in games (until recently, where she now does her daily Brain Training on the DS we got my dad for christmas) my dad does enjoy the odd bit here and there.

It somewhat shocked my school friend when they came back to my place to play on the N64 to find that while I was winning either Mario Kart, Golden Eye or Pefect Dark (yes, I'm one of those guys) my dad was usually second, or putting up a damned good fight! None of there parents ever gave more then a nod at games. It also makes me think back at how understanding and good they were. My dad played Perfect Dark a good way through before allowing me to play or even watch it, due to the 18 rating of the game. He deemed that it didn't really need it, and a few splodes of red pixels wern't going to do me any harm.

Must say though, its quite amusing when my mum or dad come in and I'm playing WAR or some shooter on my PC with my headset on, shouting away, and they jsut watch until I die or somesuch, waiting before talking to me. I think I owe much for such patience!

THAT IS JUST LIKE MY PARENTS!!!

I remember we used to have a Sega Master System or something back in the day, and my mother and I would spend hours on Sonic the Hedgehog 1 through 3. (To this day she is the only one in the family who was able to beat the first game (Probably because it's been around 10 years since that console was last put to use but oh well, it's a cool thing to say I guess)) My father never really got into Sonic, mostly because he was at work most of the time my mother and I were playing.
Then later though, we got a Nintento 64 and my dad would even be late for work one day, because the two of us were so hooked on Mario Kart 64.
Those were the only gaming experiences I can think of with my parents though, but at least they're not completely opposed to it. Although I think the stuff said in the article about parents only seeing games as a pastime diversion may be true (at least in my parents' case), since the only time I see them play a game from time to time now is on my sister's Wii.

Or maybe they're satisfied with their respective success in gaming (i.e. beating Egghead in Sonic 1, or winning the gold in the Star Cup 150cc) and feel that they've done enough.

Nevertheless, great article. Definitely hit some of the problems right on the head.

I don't have that problem in fact watching my mom, dad, and older brother play them as an impressinable infant is part of the reason I love games as much as I do now. That and the fact that I could fit my hands around a SNES contoller (and there for play) shortly after learning to walk.

My Dad said he would like to play games like Halo and other FPS's but he thinks they are too complicated.

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