Gaming with Children: To give and to receive

November 30, 2010

I remember when I was a kid my brother and I had an NES. Christmas was the one time of year when we got new games for it, one each, and we were supposed to share them.

This made sense seeing as the NES was for sharing, too. My parents were careful to make sure that at least one of the two games we got had multiplayer so we could play together. Playing this idea forward, I now have kids of my own and a Nintendo Wii. If I were buying video games instead of diapers and formula, these would be the two games I picked up:

New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Why? Because it is good, clean fun. The multiplayer is a riot when people start bopping one another on the head and picking each other up with the intent of tossing them in a pit. And when played solo, it has a neat feature where if you die five times in a single level the game will show you how to pass the section you’re stuck on. I can’t think of a better way for a young kid to play a favorite game, progress where he can, and still feel like he’s having fun.

Why Else? Because it has four-player cooperative play. This means that for me, all of my kids could be playing at the same time, and for most people, the whole family could play simultaneously.


Why? Because NBA Jam was my favorite game as a kid. My brother, my dad, and I all used to crown into my bedroom, root around for the multitap, and then play game after game. Whoever was teamed up with my brother usually won (to this day I have no idea how he was so good at that game), but we all had a great time, and Jam sessions hardly ever ended until my mom yelled that supper was ready. 

Why Else? Because like NSMBWii above, NBA Jam can be played by four people simultaneously. Also, I really want to play it, and I know that some of the games my brother and I got as a kid really should have said: “To Dad, Justin, and Jordan… From: Santa” instead of “To: Justin and Jordan… From: Santa” on them.

R.C. Pro Am, Brunswick Bowling, and Rollerball are now obviously colored by my dad’s taste in games. And I’m glad that that’s how he shopped – because it shows me now just how much he wanted to play with my brother and me and how much he wanted to pass on the things that he thought were fun. What I’m really trying to say here is that I hope my kids end up liking arcade basketball and pinball because if they do, my wife will be yelling down to us that supper is done while we play just one more match for years to come.