I'm really feeling it!

How My Mom Became A Gamer at 52 Years Old

My earliest gaming memories involved my mom. While we lived in economically-depressed Midland, Ontario (my dad's decision), my parents purchased my brother and I's first game console on Christmas 1995: A used Sega Genesis with Sanic 1 and Thunder Force 2. I was five years old at the time.

I don't remember a lot about that time; my parents divorced in the summer of 1997. I know we lived in a semi-rural area on the edge of town, that the family dog had been put down, and that I had a kickass treehouse that was neither a house nor attached to a tree (it was more like an elevated deck lookout thing my dad built in the backyard, facing the brush; I loved it). My dad's work as a refrigeration mechanic - I understand it better now, in hindsight - really fluctuated depending on the season. My mom, an aircraft welder by trade, hadn't been able to find meaningful work since the move to the boonies. As such, she was home a lot.


My brother and I didn't really care; we never had money to buy new games, so we rented games from the local Rogers Video frequently. Often, we'd end up with a game that we couldn't figure out, or that we found too hard. Being that there's fuck-all to do in Midland without a car, we'd sometimes come home from school to find that our mom had beaten a hard level in a game, or found out how to play a game that made no sense (like this fucking Pink Panther game we had once, that game made no fucking sense!). That was always pretty rad. Once we came home to find she'd gotten to Lava Reef Zone in Sonic & Knuckles, and our minds were just blown.

Fast-forward 20 years later. My parents are divorced, my mom's remarried to a really cool guy, and my dad's remarried as well. Aside from a Family Day tradition of our mom sitting down to watch us play games for an hour or two, she's had zero interest in video games. We text fairly frequently, and we had a conversation when I was fawning over The Wolf Among Us. She thought the story sounded really interesting (she likes that Fables rip-off on TV called Forever After or something), so I figured I'd pick her up a copy for Christmas.

Her husband has a 360 and exactly two games, Halo ODST and Halo Reach, which he plays offline bot matches on as a sort of catharsis. Seriously, he plays the same game mode over and over again a few times a week, and he gets really into it. I don't know how he doesn't get bored, but it's funny to watch a man in his late 50's shout "take that" at a TV while shooting Grunts in Halo.

My mom ended up loving The Wolf Among Us, so I bought her The Walking Dead. She liked that one too. Although, she had to call me (at work, it was her day off) to figure out how to buy and download the add-on chapters. The last time I visited them, I dropped off all my 360 games for them to check out (since I don't have a 360). She tried Lost Odyssey, but it was a bit too complex for her, which is fine. She started talking to her coworkers about gaming though, which is really funny to me. This girl she works with suggested that my mom play Heavy Rain. So I get a text at work asking, "Matt, do they make Heavy Rain for the 360?" It was funny to me.


I picked her up a copy of LA Noire today, since the controls are pretty straightforward and the theme is something she'd probably enjoy. Whenever I get freed from the hellhole in Michigan (this project is driving me insane...), I'm going to head up to their house, spend the day shopping for camping gear (they're avid outdoorsmen in the summer months), and then spend the evening playing some vidya.

In the future, I think I'll buy them The Orange Box and Portal 2 as well - I think her husband would like Half-Life 2, and she'd greatly enjoy the Portal games.


So what about you people? Are your parents gamers? Are there games that you think would be awesome for non-gamers? WRITE SHIT IN THE COMMENTS OR I'LL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL.

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