My wife and I were lucky enough to spend this Fourth of July with family and friends, and had a wonderful time! We had great, enormous meals, saw live music, had deep conversations, and played some video games!
And, naturally, it’s the video games thoughts I most want to share here, because while the rest of that was wonderful, I prefer to keep those memories to myself!
Several games came up over the past week for me, but the two outstanding experiences were playing Zelda with my nephew and Smash Bros with family friends.
My nephew is four years old, and I’ve shown him video games a few times over the years with mixed results. He’s always excited about them, but even now he sees games so rarely that the coordination to have Mario jump and move over a Goomba at the same time is tough for him. Thanks to the Switch’s NES collection, I was able to introduce him to the original Legend of Zelda this past week, and he grocked it immediately. It turns out that “those are monsters and you have a sword” was just the right amount of depth to hold his interest long enough for him to start to figure out mechanics and controls, and he was pretty quickly able to clear a few screens of enemies. He took on the first dungeon a few times, but never made it terribly far, until he convinced his dad (my older brother, who originally introduced me to the same game decades ago) to play through the dungeon for him. It was super cool to see him become interested in my favorite hobby, and to see him share that interest with his dad.
In the evenings, we traded in the old school games in favor of four player Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and it was just as fun as when my friend Ben and I would stay up all night in his garage playing the Nintendo 64 version back when it first came out. I’ve enjoyed playing Ultimate on my own, but hadn’t really had a chance to do much with multiplayer before. We waffled a bit between no-items on Final Destination and the more chaotic “anything goes” settings (which I firmly believe is the right way to play Smash Bros), and I had a ton of fun the whole time.
I made a lot of great memories over this holiday break, but these video game related ones will always be special to me. I know that games are little more than toys, but I think there’s something special about being able to engage in play at any age, and video games are a nice way to facilitate play in my life… But its always best when I find a way to play with others!