Dad & Doom

By Alec Meer on January 3rd, 2008 at 5:31 pm.

Here’s a tale, of no particular import or meaning, just a gaming-related Christmas happenstance that got into my head, and I need a little catharsis.

I spent the Christmas week, as so many do, with my parents. While it’s good to see them, it’s always a little odd, even infuriating – I’m cut off from most of my gaming IV drip, and their continued resistance to broadband means I don’t even get to check up on whatever electronic delights the rest of the world’s spending the festive season with. So, this last Christmas, I was down to the barest basics – their PC, a machine barely capable of Peggle, and too far behind with Windows Updates and drivers to actually manage it. In desperation, I cast around for something, anything to play.

I found, in a box of my old possessions, Doom. Trusty Doom, still the litmus test of any new piece of hardware. It’s also still something I love to play – I suspect I’ve scurried thorough its first level more times than any element of any other game. I dig it out a few times every year. It’s part fascination of where all this began and how little, in many ways, it’s changed, and part because it’s a manic hybrid of speed, carnage and joyful imprecision that offers up more raw fun per second than most anything in the 15 years that followed it.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll admit that squinting at my Dad’s 15” monitor and playing with a keyboard caked in some six or seven years’ worth of grime and dead skin cells wasn’t quite as appealing as hooking up the Xbox 360 I’d brought with me to the big telly in the living room. On it was Doom, purchased from the Xbox Live Marketplace. It’s still Doom as we know it, but bigger and flashier and agreeably siller than on a wheezing Pentium-something.

Soon enough, my Dad starts watching me play over my shoulder. He must have seen me cursor-key my way through Doom on the family 486 years ago, but it seems it’s been consigned to the same 256-colour compost heap of disapproval that he lumped pretty much everything I played back then into. That’s not quite true – it was my Dad’s Spectrum, replete with Manic Miner and The Hobbit, that first introduced me to gaming, and I’ve foggy but fond memories of playing Lemmings and Gobliins 2 with him on that 486. Then as now though, games weren’t something he wanted to spend much time with, he certainly wasn’t keen on my playing as much of them as I did, and he hasn’t had much to do with them himself since around 1992. As far as he’s concerned, Doom is a whole new thing – he’s no idea whether it’s a modern game or not, but knowing that his son is somehow making a living from playing these things, he’s now developed some genuine curiosity about them. I do the decent thing, and hand him the controller.

Of course I know that controlling motion with one hand and vision with the other is an acquired skill, one that half the world doesn’t have. It’s still a shock to see just how alien it is to someone who has never, ever done it before. He struggled so, and no advice I could offer him made it any easier. Whether it’s WASD and a mouse or a left and right thumbstick, it’s basically patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time and, of everything in gaming, this is the ability most specific to our generation. Is it the be all and end all of game control, or will we too be staring with mixed wonder and horror at what 20-somethings are capable of once we’re 50-something? I suspect technology is so ingrained into our lives that, dwindling reflexes aside, we’ll be just fine.

For him though, even the idea of 360 degree, first-person-perspective movement pretending to be 3D on a flat 2D surface was a struggle. I’d tell him to turn to face left, and he’d spin around and around and around, not sure where he’d started from, staring with bemusement at the all-too-similar wall textures whizzing across the screen. Or he’d strafe directly left, grinding Doomguy’s invisible shoulder against the wall while he tried to remember how to face, not move.

True, Doom’s murky architecture doesn’t help – I’m well-accustomed to spotting the variance on a poorly-textured wall that denotes a door, but the grey of metal and the grey of concrete looked too similar to eyes accustomed only to photo-real. “Open that door,” I’d say. He’d pause. Then he’d cautiously run to the nearest bit of wall, squint at the controller, sometimes correctly remember that the green button was the use key, and frown when nothing happened. No, Dad. That’s just a wall. No, Dad. You can’t move further forwards because there’s a barrel right in front of you. No, Dad. You can’t open that door because you don’t have the yellow keycard. You can tell it needs the yellow keycard because there are yellow lights on the…. oh, never mind. I’ll just tell you where to go. He was trying to learn how to see in a way I take for granted, and I just couldn’t find the words to tell him how.

There was improvement, eventually. He persevered through four levels, and by the end he was able to move and then turn, or turn and then move, but never the both at once. I’m sure, with practice, he’d have got there in the end, though of course he didn’t want to. Mountains to climb, cars to fix, bicycles to ride. Worthy pursuits, not staring at a screen and shooting pretend monsters.

Concerned he was thinking this was all that modern gaming was, I later showed him a little bit of Mass Effect’s moral decision-making (hey, I’d have gone for Planescape if I’d have had with me), hoping to demonstrate that my hobby/career wasn’t as one-note dumb as Doom suggested, but I didn’t get the sense it was impressing him much. I suspect my talk of this being a game for grown-ups was undone by all the spaceguns and sexy alien ladies, hallmarks of what he probably suspects videogames always have been and always will be. He claimed he wouldn’t have the attention span to play such a dialogue-intensive thing himself, but did seem to take some brief entertainment from choosing conversational options for me. “Yeah, threaten him. Ooh, flirt with her.”

Gaming’s clearly not beyond him – there isn’t some insurmountable generational gulf, but the amount of time he’d have to put into it to overcome decades of unfamiliarity is understandably not worth his while. It was a little humbling, trying to rationalise what I do to a man who, while supportive of me, clearly doesn’t consider gaming much beyond the level of a fairground ride. There was no argument on the matter – he never (as he often did in my youth) criticised me for basing so much my life around these things, and I never criticised him for thinking them mere frippery.

I haven’t spoken to him about it since, but I’d like to think there was some mutual acceptance that we’d never feel the same way about gaming, and that was fine. I would have (and indeed have) argued the import of my premiere hobby to a peer, or even to a 50-something man who I wasn’t related to, but, for all the evidence to the contrary I’ve observed since I’ve been an adult myself, it’s hard to entirely shake the old Dad Knows Best hangover. Sat there, patiently explaining “look, I can be mean to this guy, or I can be nice to him!” or “this red key opens this red door!”, I felt silly, a kid demonstrating how his He-Man action figure’s kung-fu chop worked. I appreciated his attempts at interest, but I also desperately wanted him to go away, to leave me to it, so my escapism wasn’t ruined so by his perplexed reality.

Back at home, back at RPS, I’m thinking straight again, reminded anew of the myriad ways in which gaming is taking entertainment to places it’s never been before, how it’s defining our culture, how it’s letting people create their own stories in an ever-changing way television or prose cannot. So it’s all okay, pretty much. There’s just this slight regret – my parents don’t really get what I’m doing with my life, and they never will. I look at my stack of games, my array of consoles, the expensive GeForce 8800 churning away inside my PC, and I think about how meaningless it all is to the people who created me. I guess that’s the silent sadness my dad feels when he starts to explain how a car engine works, or about how he’s climbed all the Munros, and spots the yawn I didn’t mean to make.

So yeah – there’s no import, no meaning, no insight to this post. It’s just a gentle sigh. And then onwards.

, .

142 Comments »

  1. Rocktart says:

    All the Munros, that’s pretty impressive

  2. Alec Meer says:

    The 3,500th person ever to do it, no less.

  3. Narvi says:

    Your dad’s being to all the Munros? That’s totally awesome. I wish my dad was that awesome.

  4. Pace says:

    I suspect this story could be about most of our Dads (well, minus the Munros bit) and be pretty much the same. It can be extremely frustrating to try to logically explain to someone why they should be having fun playing a game when it’s clearly just not happening. Anyway, nice post..

  5. Nick says:

    That story was so familiar it’s painful.

    My mother spent years hoping I’d somehow grow out of it and leave games behind as I left behind the Transformers and He-Man figures, but now, a fully fledged adult not too far off 30 and earning my keep from making the things it has been replaced by polite interest but not much more.

    I occasionally get a bit self concious about the whole thing, but I took heart from something Will Wright said when he spoke at the BAFTA’s – that games are not some recently invented mindless distraction, they are not some inferior story telling medium, a poor cousin of television or cinema or theatre. Rather, they are part of an older human tradition, that of play.

    “Games have a large heritage in linear media, but they’re fundamentally more like architecture, toy design, product design, art, math and even psychology.”

    Link to some notes for those interested…here

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip says:

      I think games are pretty much as dumb and embarrassing as our parents have always thought they were, we’re just used to them. Also this fixation gamers have on making games “legitimate” to their parents is weird but probably has something to do with otherwise inexplicable phenomena like Bioshock Infinite’s current reception.

  6. Butler says:

    Interesting article, as I have often watched my dad played video games every since i was young (Doom, Little Big Adventure, Total Annihilation spring to mind) and he was always relatively adept at them for an old dude.

    He’s 60 now, and he wont go near a 360 controller, though I think he could mangage WASD if you gave him an hour to get the hang of it.

  7. Essell says:

    Nice post.

  8. Phil says:

    I had a spookily similar experience over Christmas at my parents. My mum is currently learning to use a laptop I bought her a while ago. I thought installing something entertaining could break-up the endless training course materials she’d been given.

    Peggle unfortunately was out, due to the hand eye coordination demands leading to frustration.

    I stuck the Longest Journey on – relatively sophisticated characters, logically puzzles, engrossing story, easy interface, nothing that could offend someone who thought Pirates of Caribbean was ‘horribly gory,’ has to be a win, so I thought – Five minutes in, coaching her past the opening dream sequence – “I think I’ll stop, I’m not really a fan of children’s stories.” I settled on installing scramble.

    It’s a little depressing to think what’d she make of 99% of game narratives.

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    Oddly, I watched my Dad sit and play Skate for a good half hour at Christmas. He was better at it than I was.

    KG

  10. drunkymonkey says:

    My Dad has also ever played the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor series. He said Half Life 2 was too “mickey mouse”.

    He got into CoD and MoH by way of them being World War 2 games. I was surprised he liked CoD4 so much, because of its deviation from this formula. He’s by no means a hardcore gamer, but when he wants to, he can shoot those Nazis like there’s no tomorrow.

  11. drunkymonkey says:

    Gah…only ever, not also ever.

  12. zaptrack says:

    I dunno if it’d be considered odd, but my dad loves RTS games. I don’t care much for em’, but it’s still nice to be able to talk about, say, total war.

    As for mom, she’ll play mario kart but that’s about it. The irony here is that she can snake (A semi-hard to do manuever that dramaticlly increases your speed)

  13. Will Tomas says:

    I think it’ll be interesting to think what we’ll, as adept gamer-types, be like as Dads (or Mums, for that matter). Indeed, are there any parents who post here? I suspect that, as Alec says, technology is such a part of our lives that we won’t really notice having to learn new ways of playing since change tends to happen slowly. But what our kids will make of us as gamers I don’t know.

    Although I was in WH Smiths the other week, and overheard a 30-something Mum say to her five year old boy “right, let’s go get Daddy’s magazine, then we can go look at the children’s ones.” Daddy’s magazine turned out to be PC Gamer. So I do think the times are changing a little…

  14. Pace says:

    Peggle unfortunately was out, due to the hand eye coordination demands leading to frustration.

    Hand-eye coordination? Peggle? I’d think you could play Peggle with your nose if you wanted to.

  15. Piratepete says:

    My Dad won’t even use a cash machine so its nice to see a member of the older generation putting aside prejudices and giving it a go (He’s 74). Good work fella.

    But it does make me wonder what our (my?) generation will be like at that age. Will we all be doing the future equivalent of social networking and popcap games or will technology then be moving too fast for us to keep up with.

    I’ve often wondered if the care home I end up in will have xboxes or their future equivalent.

    Mind you…..
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/3287891.stm

    Given the above article and the letter pages in this months PCG I would be interested to read some experiences of ‘grey gamers’ as long as they don’t start banging on about the war of course.

  16. dartt says:

    I experience something similar with my parents. When I’m home with my PC or laptop and my mother comes up behind me she’ll barely glance at the screen if theres a game on there. It’s all just visual noise to her.

  17. Piratepete says:

    visual noise. nice turn of phrase,

  18. _Nocturnal says:

    Lost my dad a month ago. He’s done a bunch of great things too. Problem is, I wasn’t very interested in them when I was younger. Instead, I was interested in games. So we’d have this strange way of having a conversation, where I’d try to tell him about games, then he’d try to tell me about one of his things, only neither of us actually heard the other. We were basically taking turns at monologues. Yet this was a man, who, by his own words, had been so into Tetris at one time, he not only played it in his sleep, he played it while he was awake, like the game had been loaded into his own memory and ran on his brain. So, no question about it then, he could be very into games. Guess that could have scared him. If a game that simple could have such an impact, what would the monsters of modern day do? Makes me think of the tolerance we have developed for such things. And of course all the other strange stuff listed in the post. Thanks for pointing them out, helped me understand much clearer. Helped a bit with acceptance, too. Though, time is a bitch. In time, we could definitely get to each other.

  19. Nick says:

    Really enjoyed that. It is also nice when someone uses the word ‘myriad’ correctly.

  20. DigitalSignalX says:

    I’m often frustrated at the mindset that forces a disconnect between the complexity of “our” games and “theirs” in terms of what we find enjoyable. Getting them broadband access though was key to even opening the door to trying. My own folks have since (in the past 5 years or so) found a great deal of fun in daily exploring yahoo’s games online.

    Dad plays chess and scrabble online with other people, and Mom plays some of the various puzzle games. Getting them to step up to some of the larger games with a narrative or plot though, seems impossible, like there is a mind-block.

    I’ve tried a dozen titles or so, from slightly more complex puzzle games (Myst) to things like KOTOR or Lego Star Wars (they love Star Wars, but the games didn’t do it for them evidently). Perhaps in their mind, games simply can not ever be considered as in-depth as books or film. I also wonder if it’s a mixed blessing as well, calls for technical support are interesting enough without having to explain how to get past places in Splinter Cell or Final Fantasy…

  21. malkav11 says:

    Possibly it’s that I’m of a slightly younger generation, but I’ve never had an experience like this. Oh, my mom’s not particularly into games, (though she liked Myst), but that’s mostly because she’s so busy with music and knitting and other things – it’s something she can sort of understand the appeal of, but it’s not the priority for her that it is for me. I can get that. Besides, we share enough taste in books and movies and television to have plenty to discuss. And although I never met my biological father (killed when I was only a month or two old), the man who assumed the role of father to me was the one who could likely be credited with originally introducing me to gaming, taking me in to his job and letting me play SimCity on his computer. And Zork, later, at home. And he’s been a lifelong fan of the Civilization series and other similar strategy games. I still wouldn’t call him a gamer (at least, video games) – like my mother, he’s got other priorities – but as an occasional amusement he digs them. (Actually, he’s much more into the Civ games than I am – I like them, but his understanding of the nuances of the game is far deeper than mine…and he plays several difficulty levels above what I do.)

    And I struggled for a long time with dual-analog control on FPS games. Still don’t do well with it. So while it sounds like your dad’s experience was more to do with a lack of shared gaming lexicon than mine, the controller thing can’t have helped.

  22. Nimic says:

    I guess I’m pretty lucky in that respect. Sure, my mom is probably still in that “it’s just a toy” phase, but even she’s learned to accept that I use quite a lot of my time on computers.

    My dad, though, is ironically probably half the reason I use them so much now. Ever since I was little we’ve had computers, and he’s always been a very big fan of strategy games. He completed Command & Conquer, and found Tiberian Sun so easy that he decided that he’d only use infantry, no matter what. So most of my parents disapproval comes from my mom. I don’t think my dad really cares that I spend so much time on it.

  23. Feet says:

    My own father played many games with me as a kid, but never on his own. I believe he does have an understanding of where their worth lies, even if he was only interested in playing them as a way of spending time with me back then (which I really appreciate now, good work dad).

    We used to play schmup demos off the front of PC magazines and one of us would do the cursor keys and the other would bash the fire button and do the super attacks at the appropriate moments. He no longer really bothers with them except for computer versions of Scrabble and Cribbage.

    A really nice article this. Thanks.

  24. fluffy bunny says:

    I played shooters for ages before finally learning to use something other than the cursor keys (or joystick – the first FPS I played at home was Gloom on the Amiga, not counting the green one-level Fears-techdemo).

    In fact, I think Delta Force was the first game that forced me to use both the WASD-keys and the mouse to play. I couldn’t do it, and neither could my brother, so we ended up cooperating – one of us would use the mouse, the other would use the keyboard. It actually worked, somehow.

    So anyway, WASD + mouselook isn’t exactly easy to get used to. I was in the prime of my gamer-life (having been a gamer since the C64-days) when this control method became popular, and I still struggled. No wonder our parents do.

  25. spoodie says:

    Very nice post, thanks.

  26. simonkaye says:

    I’ve got my dad into PC gaming in a pretty big way.

    He worked as a systems engineer back when the things were still the size of houses, so he’s pretty technically minded. Now whenever I come home from uni I can go upstairs to find him fluently blasting away at Call of Duty or Medal of Honour.

    He has a persistence and attention-span that completely outstrips my own- he’ll keep hacking away at one of the hardest bits of the hardest levels on the highest difficulty setting until he finishes it, and then happily skip the ‘reward’ end sequence. He’s 67, in case you’re wondering.

    And I fear the inevitable LAN deathmatch to come.

  27. someone says:

    Hi. Not only was the article well written and enjoyable, it also sparked lots of interesting and personal replies. So kudos to everyone.

  28. Lunaran says:

    On the complete other side of the coin, I was pretty grateful to spend a whole week at my folks’ house reading and drinking hot chocolate and not touching a computer at all. I only brought the Wii at my dad’s request because he likes the golf and bowling.

    although, I took off as soon as I finished all the books I brought.

  29. James says:

    I’m 23, and my parents were gamers before I was. Both my parents have memories of working through Adventure/Colossal Cave with each other, as well as various games on the C64. They’d also happily join in with us when we were younger, on the Spectrum, MegaDrive, Amiga as well as the PC and Playstation. Alone my mum was, and still is, especially fond of games like tetris, puzzle bobble, columns etc. and indeed at times pumps in serious ours on these, and the high score tables would become quite competitive. Now, with broadband the flash games of the Internet are her crux, especially seeing as she can sit in the living room on her laptop.

    My Dad plays games less regularly, and to be honest I’m not sure why. He showed great interest in games like Dungeon Keeper, Simon the Sorcerer and monkey island, among others. He just never seemed to play them himself. I think it is partly a time issue, as well as access to the appropriate technology. He’s getting a laptop soon, so I may try and get him started on something. (Dungeon Keeper perhaps)

  30. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    My mother occasionally picks up a popcap or yahoo type game for a few weeks. My father on the other hand….seems to get somewhat cranky when I spend money on gamey type stuff, but gets over it in a few hours and will at least watch me play and seems to have a passing interest in gameplay concepts and large explosions. The last few days he’s been getting me to play songs for him on guitar hero.

  31. Jeremy says:

    It’s not just older people – it’s even people of our generation (girlfriends, for example) who’ve never used WASD or the two-analog stick FPS controls. You’ve really got to be interested in the content to take the time to figure them out, and many people aren’t.

    “Isn’t there anything to do besides shooting people?”

  32. Tim says:

    You should have shown him portal. I wonder how the learning curve would be for someone who’s alien to it.

  33. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Portal is an absolutely perfect game for non-gamers. I’ve sat through and watched ~4 people who have never played a game in their life make it through Portal. Fun stuff. Painful sometimes too, though. Watching someone spend literally 5 minutes on the “puzzle” that teaches you that an orange portal can be an entrance in addition to an exit was a little mind bending, and I can’t tell you how many people get to the first portal gun and circle it hesitantly for (literally) 5 minutes before they either accidentally bump into it or some spectator gets fed up and tells them to head for the spinning, noisy machine in the center of the room that all the arrows are pointing at. Mindbending. Still, rewarding.

  34. Mike says:

    ‘clap clap’ nice article, it was very interesting to read

  35. Frans Coehoorn says:

    The only game my dad ever played I think were Leisure Suit Larry (the original EGA version) and King’s Quest IV. That was early 90′s. I know he finished the latter one. And ehm, some Flight Simulator because he was an Air Traffic Controller (but he was better at that than at flying, heh heh). I think that’s about it.

    Oh yeah, and some Wii Sports. Everyone likes Wii Sports!

  36. MeesterCat says:

    It was my Dad that got me into gaming at the age of, oooh… 4, when he brought back a ZX Spectrum from work and terrified me senseless with 3D Monster Maze.

    We used to play games like Repton and Chuckie Egg together on the Acorn Electron, and then admiring the shiny graphics of Shadow of the Beast on the Amiga.

    But then he lost interest. I don’t know if it was the gradual move towards 3D that left him disoriented (literally and figuratively) but he lost interest bar a brief flirtation with, hnnnngh, Myst.

    I tried to get him to play Wii Sports over Xmas but he just couldnt grasp the idea of using the controller as a tennis racket, for example. It was quite sad really, this once great gaming behemoth, reduced to pointing the controller at the screen and pressing the A button as another tennis ball whistles past.

  37. SeldomDavid says:

    That article was a great read, thanks.

    My parents only seem to enjoy abstract puzzle games like Tetris and Columns. They have no interest in controlling a character at all. Modern console controls are a scary-looking barrier, but they have no interest in games with simple control schemes either (Sonic The Hedgehog, for example).

    PS: all the Munros! Well done Daddy Meer, that’s some achievement.

  38. Ghiest says:

    My dad plays a mean game of sensible soccer on the 360live, only because we used to play it back when it was on the amiga but still, it’s a start :P

    I also run a WoW guild that has allot of older aged people in it, from the normal 18 year olds (our age limit) up to 50 year old grand parents who play and raid seriously.

  39. Freakazoid says:

    This sounds so familiar. As I am working in the game industry I literally spend months trying to explain to my parents that you can actually make a (pretty good) living out of this “hobby”. I guess they first believed it when they saw an actual paycheck ;)

    Nevertheless I could convince my mother by simply handing over my Gameboy a couple of years ago. To make it short: I never got it back. Ever since at least 50% of her spare time is dedicated to Tetris & Co. Consequently she upgraded to DS when it came out and ever since she is playing waaaaaaay more than I do (and this is part of my job). But attempts of getting her to play any kind of game that is beyond casual gaming failed horribly, same with my dad.

    While a DS is simple to handle and offers a huge selection of simple casual games (mainly because most publishers started focusing “grey gamers” with special product lines) they are willing to try modern games just represent a technical barrier to their generation (both born in 1948) which they are not willing to cross. Of course partly because of the complex controls used in modern games but I guess the main reason is that they just don’t see the fascination in learing to master a complex game or in developing virtual characters. I guess it really is a generation thing as you most likely won’t develop this interest if you did not grow up playing video games.

  40. Nallen says:

    My Dad is 58 and belongs to a clan.

    My 32 year old girlfriend is determined not to get it though, but I hope she has at least accepted that there is more to gaming than she would like to think.

    I talked her through the plot of Bioshock and she even looked interested!

  41. Piratepete says:

    @Ghiest

    Seriously thats all I’m gonna do when I retire, just play MMo’s and whinge about ‘kids today’

  42. phuzz says:

    Nice article, ta.
    I guess I’d never thought of what it must be like for my folks to have a son who does a job that never even existed when they were kids (I’m an IT admin, so only slightly more ‘grown up’ than working in gaming), but they’ve always been quite happy about it. Neither of them play games though, or could, that said I’m not interested in sudoku or gardening.

  43. Andrew says:

    This article is actually really touching.

  44. C0nt1nu1ty says:

    about five years ago i tried to introduce my father to gaming, knowing that he would see things like FPS’s as a waist of time i got him chess master as a birthday present but despite appreciating how to use it he really didn’t have that much interest in playing it.
    The one game i have seen him play almost constantly pretty much since we first got a computer back in 1993 is Solitaire. I think this says a lot about the older generations attitude to gaming, that its a distraction that they dont want to put much effort into hence casual games like solitaire and minesweeper being so popular that most offices specify they want operating systems that don’t come with them lest they be crippled by everyone playing them all the time.

  45. simonkaye says:

    Based on these assembled reflections, my dad is clearly better than all of your dads. And could beat them up.

  46. monkeymonster says:

    Ahhh, but how many of your dads have a facebook appreciation group made by the (university) students for him….. Blatantly beats yours dad simonkaye, back of the classroom wearing the paper cone hat with D on it for you.
    That aside an extremely good article that once again highlights the well formed writing of both the reviewers and us watching (and finally replying). This site is a credit to the gaming community showing its not just the realm of 13 years old shouting ftw and pwned at everyone else. Personally my dad will never understand computer games, even from the dark days of supplying us kids with a BBC:B with Repton to Doom and now TF2, he just doesn’t see why we would waste time on them.
    ps – well done on the munro’s, I’ve only done 3 of them I think… maybe 4.

  47. Pesh says:

    I was lucky to have a father who appreciated Doom for all it was. Now he plays most traditional RTS games… Homeworld, Warcraft 3, Dawn of War, Age of Empires, etc.

    Not so much FPS or RPG, though. Which is fine.

  48. Dermo says:

    My dad was a big fan of “Populous” (1 and 2) on the Amiga and I vaguely remember watching him playing “Zaxxon” and “Nemesis” on our old MSX machines in the 80s but despite working in IT professionally, for a long time that was it as far as games went as far as he was concerned.

    My mother, on the other hand, started playing games when we got our Amiga and she bought herself a copy of “Lemmings”. She completed it, then bought “Oh No! More Lemmings!”, then “Lemmings 2: Tribes” and pretty much every game with the Lemmings moniker on it since, regardless of the quality or lack thereof.

    Her other great love is platformers and she’s played and completed loads of them – “Jak & Daxter”, “Tomb Raider” (all of them, as far as I know), Mario Brothers, Sonic – you get the picture.

    Anyway, one day my sister gave her a lend of “Ratchett & Clank” which she promptly started playing. My Dad watched her playing a few times and started getting frustrated with her because she keeps making a balls of certain parts. One day, in a strop, she shoved the controller at him and told him that if he’s so bloody good, why doesn’t he do it. So he did and soon they had this tag-team thing going on whereby if she got stuck on a certain bit, he’d take over and get her past it.

    My mother progressed to “Ratchett & Clank 2″ and he started “Ratchett & Clank” anew, playing through the whole thing himself. Again. And again. Until he’d collected every last bolt and unlocked every last weapon. Then he did the same with “Ratchett & Clank 2″. The guy hadn’t played a video game in about 12 years and to the best of my knowledge he’d never even picked up a console controller in his life and yet here he was obsessing over “Ratchett & Clank”.

    But only “Ratchett & Clank”. Suggest that he has a look at “Jak & Daxter”, a similar game? Nah, not interested. How about this “Call of Duty” series, eh? You like reading about World War II Dad. Nope, not bothered.

    Now he’s talking about buying a PS3 purely so that they can play “Ratchett & Clank 3″. I’ve thought about pointing out that there’s not much else out on the PS3 and that he should really think about buying a Thrixty if he’s going to go current-gen but then I think “what’s the point? he’ll only ever play that one game anyway!”.

  49. Martin says:

    “Kieron Gillen says:

    Oddly, I watched my Dad sit and play Skate for a good half hour at Christmas. He was better at it than I was.”

    You should let him write for RPS then. ;)

    My dad has always been into gaming – although mostly “casual” ones. He could defeat Mine Sweeper on the hardest setting in his sleep. It’s thanks to him that I enjoy games.

    My mom couldn’t care less and my dad doesn’t play anymore. Mostly due to lack of time I would guess.

  50. matte_k says:

    good article. Set me thinking, my parents are in their late 60s/early 70s, and computers are such an alien concept to them that my dad was looking for a hard to find CD and rang me to ask if i could find it “on that Inter Net thing. Does the company Amazon mean anything to you?” (priceless). But since i’ve been mailordering games via the net, i get them sent to my parents (to ensure that someones in at the delivery time and can receive it). Everytime a new package comes (for example, two recent additions were Bioshock and Crysis) my mum is like “New game? What’s this one about? How does it work?” The concept of Stalker recreating an actual real world location quite interested her, and on recent visits my explanation of how some of my favourite pastime works has clearly begun to interest them. It’s true, to get into gaming properly is never going to happen for them, but as a result of an increased interest in my pastimes, my interest in THEIR pastimes has also increased. Which is a good thing, i find.