The Family That Games Together

This week has been a strange one indeed! My adventures in job hunting continue. As do my adventures in homeschooling. (I know, it’s summer, but we’re ever so slightly behind, ok?) I almost wound up in hospital at one point. (Honestly I’m fine, don’t panic.) And I also found out what grade I got from university! So if I had to describe how life is going right now it would look like a quest list on Skyrim, with 7 random sidequests all going on at once and me never being entirely sure which once is active but wanting to complete them all before moving on with my main quest. (I’m not even sure which part of my life is the main quest any more to be honest.) But with all that going on I wanted to talk to you about the all important subject of – gaming!

I got my first games console when I was 8 years old, it was a Super Nintendo and I had neither Mario nor Zelda for it – but I loved that console! I wouldn’t have called myself a gamer back then though; that was the only console I owned for a long time and I made my way through high school hearing people talk about their PlayStation’s and still went home to play “Mr Nutz” on my Snes without any desire to upgrade. It wasn’t until I was about 15 that my then boyfriend introduced me to Final Fantasy IX on the PlayStation.

Of course, his copy of Final Fantasy IX was a burned copy for a chipped PlayStation and the second disk wouldn’t actually play… but I really loved the first disk. I was hooked! When Christmas grew near that year I finally asked my father for a PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 had been released a couple of years earlier and that was the year that Final Fantasy X was released for it, but I’ve never been someone who needed the latest thing, I just wanted to be able to play the second disk on Final Fantasy IX. My father got me a PlayStation 2 anyway, and my mother bought Final Fantasy X for me to play on it – to this day that is still my favourite game of all time. But from then on that was it for me. RGP’s were my world! I tried FPS’s, Fifa, MMO’s… but they weren’t for me. It had to be single player offline RPG’s where no one else could dampen my experience of being a god among men.

Fast forward a few years and I still play games in what little free time I have, but I have to fight for screen time with my seven year old. I know what you’re thinking: “OMG games are so bad for kids. Screen time should be limited.” I’d like you to re-read the last couple of paragraphs and remember that I have been gaming since I was 8 and I now have kids, a husband, a degree, and zero criminal convictions – screen time doesn’t scare me! What does scare me is when my child cries at Fortnite. God damn that game to hell! I mean, we’ve all been there – just about ready to throw the controller through the screen with frustration, and as someone who can’t stand sharing my gaming experience online with other people I can definitely sympathise with the frustration he must have been feeling! So I decided it was time to take action!

I banned Fortnite and brought my old Xbox 360 downstairs. I decided that the best place to start him was the original Fable. Mainly because of all the farting, if I’m honest. What seven year old doesn’t love farting? I have to say it has been a complete success so far. I mean, yeah sure, he asks me what to do every five minutes or so… In the time it has taken me to write this blog post he has been in to ask what to do at least seven times, and he also changed his hero name to “Arseface” the first chance he got. But he hasn’t cried or screamed in frustration once. In fact, he laughs more often than anything, and I feel vindicated over my hatred of online gaming. Other people are just enfuriating!

So of everything else that has happened this week (more stories for other times, I suppose) this is definitely going to go down as the week when I introduced my youngest child to the superior glory of RPG’s and felt the souls of a hundred anti-screen-time mothers shake their heads at me in disgust.

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