By August 24, 2010

A Gamer’s Trip Down Memory Lane

I used to play games with my father when I was younger, particularly after my parents divorced and I stayed with him on the farm. We’d play chess or cards most nights, along with any number of board games like Stratego, Pente, or Battleship. Once every two weeks we’d have a “guys night.” We’d start with burgers and an ice cream sundae, and finish up at the video game arcade. My father would buy $5 worth of tokens — about the equivalent to my entire week’s pay for doing chores around the house and on the farm — and we’d play until our faces were sore with laughing and the faux gold coins were all gone.

One of the best things about having a young man in the house is being able to play more games. Sedagive? and I played games every night before he arrived, but it’s always nice to have one more player on hand.

The hands on the clock have gone around a fair bit, and now I’m the adult observing how a young man plays games. I think the biggest thing that I have learned is that young people like to play. That sounds obvious, but at some point people stop playing the game and start playing to win. I guess this depends on the age and temperament of the person, and how they view competition. There’s an entire study of player types in the gaming world, but this goes beyond that.

I notice that he doesn’t care much for every intimate detail about the rules. Going over all of that crap means more time before playing. My friends won’t start a game without reading the rules at least twice, and pre-emptively arguing about how the rules are written and what they mean. Younger players just want to play as soon as possible. Older players want to make sure they don’t make any mistakes at the beginning of the game that may cause them to lose.

I’ll tell you — it’s a lot more fun when you just play the game instead of trying to game the gamers.

As such, we’ve had a blast playing games like Micro Mutants or Zombie Fluxx.While we haven’t gone to any arcades, it’s been great playing StarCraft II and Castle Crashers with him.

More importantly, it’s been fun for me to just play. We play StarCraft II co-op against the computer, and I get a chance to play around with units and build orders that I would never consider in my 1v1 competitive play online. We’ve restarted characters many times in Castle Crashers because we’re curious what would happen if we gave the fire knight an Alien Hominid lance or if the ice knight uses a big ass meat tenderizer.

I may not be back in Aladdin’s Castle playing Xenophobia or Galaga with my dad, but I am still appreciating the gift he gave me when I was younger. Thanks, Dad.

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