Dad, who gamed
January 13, 2016 1:06 PM   Subscribe

John Walker, games writer for Rock Paper Shotgun, eulogizes his father Hugh and reflects on a life spent playing and talking about games together.
posted by cortex (10 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
This is a lovely eulogy. His Dad sounds like he was a real cool guy.

My Dad and I never got along but one of the only times we discussed anything without tension was when he inexplicably started playing Tomb Raider. I think there was a discussion on the Idle Thumbs podcast about Dads that inexplicably played one game over and over again, and for him it was the original Tomb Raider (on PC). I think I may have some genetic connection with him concerning the exploration of geometric spaces being inherently satisfying, so it isn't SO strange, but to suddenly have this very serious and fairly uninterested-in-me person playing "my" games was very strange. I wish we could have bridged some kind of gap through that, but it wasn't meant to be.

I have two daughters, and I really hope I'm more like John's Dad with them. I want to share something with them, and I have to admit that I hope they want to play too.
posted by selfnoise at 1:27 PM on January 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

My dad wasn't a video-gamer, but I was, and I have some nice memories of him trying his hand at things, out of whatever combination of curiosity and his desire simply to do something with me. He pumped quarters into a Gauntlet machine to keep both of our characters alive for a while. He played Pong with me when I was tiny. He supported my interest In computers at many points in my life, and that helped lead to my profession. The only kind of computer game I remember him taking a real interest in was bridge games, something I never made a serious attempt at learning when he was alive. I keep thinking I should give it a go with my own kids.

Thanks for posting this, cortex.
posted by Songdog at 3:22 PM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is awesome.

My folks weren't computer gamers, but they were problem solvers, and I found all that really useful in going into gaming; and they encourage(d) that by keeping board games, and computers, and video game consoles available to us.

Now the hubby and I have the pleasure of infecting our own kids and gaming with them, even when they outstrip us by learning to program the games we were merely playing at their age. I hope they remember all this shared time, gaming nights away or talking game theory on long car rides half as fondly.
posted by tilde at 3:49 PM on January 13, 2016

posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 4:11 PM on January 13, 2016

I have a 7 yo daughter and we have great times playing games together, Little Big Planet and Ni no Kuni on the PS3. She's also a fan of 'robots', or the surprisingly-good-these-days Mechwarrior Online.

I bought Sarah's Jenner because the story made me cry and that's her favourite one (b/c pink unicorn obv). Some of my better games have been with her hammering keys to drive it as I frantically aim and shoot.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:30 PM on January 13, 2016 [4 favorites]

lovely. Thanks for this.
posted by marcpski at 5:17 PM on January 13, 2016

Thanks - from a dad cherishing the relationship with my gaming son. Life is so very strange, and so strange that it should end.
posted by emmet at 6:20 PM on January 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

That's a very sweet story. I hope that my children (both under 10) will say the same about me some day. We play a lot of board games and also games on the Wii, and I think they enjoy it as much as I do.
posted by math at 7:38 PM on January 13, 2016

I can't access this at work, but being a gamer all my life I play with the kids. And I try to get them to play decent games as well, so I don't have to pretend to be into it.

Minecraft has really been a great bonding experience. We have a family build server I set up, and play there sometimes as well as play survival mode.
posted by Harald74 at 11:50 PM on January 13, 2016

I could never get my father to try anything. "You go ahead and I'll watch," he would say, meaning "I'll sit back with my arms folded and provide a steady stream of supposedly amusing sarcasm."

My daughters always played stuff with me, right from the time Mrs Segundus was disgusted to find our golden haired toddler sitting on my lap and blasting monsters in Doom. We played Tomb Raider, though to be honest I don't think they ever enjoyed anything in it as much as trapping the butler.

Ratchet and Clank was probably the high water mark of our co-operation, with my coward's "run away, pick one off from a distance, repeat" strategy complementing their "leap in there with the wrench/whip and lay about you".

In the end, though, the Sims pretty much engrossed all their attention and somehow I never made the transition to Sims 2. The younger one and I have had occasional revivals of shared interest with stuff like Spore or Portal 2, but there's no interest from them in eg Minecraft and I fear the ways have basically parted now.
posted by Segundus at 3:30 AM on January 14, 2016

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