Erik Van Pelt wrote a rather sweet feature in Gamasutra on how games improved his relationship with his father. It may come as a surprise to you, but girls have fathers too 😉 I started thinking about how games have influenced my relationship with my father — and vice versa.
I’ve always been a big fan of playing games, not surprisingly. While my mother would rarely play, if I asked, my father would usually say yes. He taught me chess, checkers, poker, and gin. I especially wanted to learn poker and gin, because I often saw my dad playing them with his father. With more than a few years on me, my father usually roundly kicked my ass.
My father is part of the pre-war generation. Computers kind of took him by surprise, and I think they still do. The PC and the console came early to my household, however, and I quickly found an arena where my father couldn’t beat me — in fact, he never played. My sister, with four years on me, usually could take me on, but that’s another story — for sister’s day.
I never realized to what extent my father was condoning my interest in computer games until I became an adult and was playing them as much as, if not more than, ever. He began to get on my case about it, saying games were a “waste of time.” Ironic, since he had by then found the perfect use for his computer — solitaire. He dramatically changed his tune when I began earning a living writing for games. I’ve got to say, it felt a little like victory.
Does my dad still worry about me? Sure, he wishes I’d get a “real” job as a backup — the plight of all writers, I’m sure. In the meantime, we’re content to play gin together when we get the chance. Now, I sometimes beat him 🙂