Hey all! This is definitely not going to be one of those blog posts where I try and prove a point or debunk a theory, just trying to better understand the viewpoint of the person watching the person playing video games. In short, I’d like to know what my mom thought about when she saw me playing various games on various consoles throughout the years. However, to begin to grasp what my mother (and potentially yours?) felt, I have to share a bit about my own history with gaming.
As is the case for some of you, I’m sure, it all started with a Gameboy Color, fully loaded up with Pokemon Yellow. It so happened that I wasn’t even supposed to get the system in the first place, it having been an impromptu birthday gift from my babysitter. My parents had already gone though one child obsessed with gaming (an obsession that plagues my older brother to this day, his 28th birthday!), and they were loathe to go through another. Yet, by the moment I first told Professor Oak I was, in fact, a boy, it was already too late. I’d gotten my first taste of video games and I wasn’t going back.
Time passed and so did the progression of my gaming systems. The classic Playstation, the Playstation 2, the Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, 3DS, PSP, PC of course, etc. all informing different aspects of my gaming career at different points in my life. One constant throughout was the supervision of my mother. When I settled down to play Kingdom Hearts as a ~10 year-old kid, what was my mom thinking? I’m sure the usual gambit of “is this game violent,” “will this have some type of adverse effect on Zander,” etc. etc. crossed her mind, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she seriously wondered how the games I played could shape my identity as a child and later the adult I could become.
Because my mom didn’t play the games herself, she could only rely on the snippets she saw walking past whatever screen I was playing on. As one might expect, this circumstance led to several times where I had to explain myself. “The guys don’t actually die, mom, they just get knocked unconscious” was a common one, and I could think of a thousand more if prompted. One particularly bad incident occurred around December 23rd, when my mom walked in just as I got a pretty impressive headshot in Counter Strike. I was then informed I would have a “very sad Christmas” were I to continue playing the game.
Of course I was simply annoyed at the time, but looking back on these incidents, I actually err more on the side of my mother. A growing child has a malleable mind, and she was doing the best she could to try and both encourage the positives of gaming while shielding me from the negatives. Maybe I could just be missing the mark entirely here, but I think I’m pretty close.
What do you guys think?