Why is it that it’s in human nature to want to spread joy when you have found something you think worthwhile? We don’t have to look far to see examples on a small scale: found a diet that works well for you? We can’t wait to convince others who we feel could lose a bit of weight to try it too. Found a great series on Netflix? People will tell you all the time that you really should watch this or that show as it’s fabulous.
Spreading the Joy of Video Gaming
I’m guilty too: for many years, ever since I discovered the joy of playing video games, I have been on a mission. A mission to interest those around me in gaming. Because not everyone wants to spend money on a gaming console, I tried to influence colleagues to try a game on their mobile phones. After all, best try to seduce them with small steps, right?
It didn’t go down well: people that had already been bitten by the gaming bug with games like HayDay were willing, but I was unable to persuade newbies. I tried to get my mom into Candy Crush years ago, on her iPad. She tried, but it just wasn’t for her. My husband does play games on his iPad, but always the same ones, like Spider Solitaire and 2048. Never straying from his chosen games. My best friend does love Pokémon Go but I don’t think I was the one alerting her to it. Having said that, she still plays it, with a vengeance!
So not a lot of success. But there was another one of my tactics that worked better: introduce them when they are young!
Bonding with Kids by Gaming
Remember that I myself discovered video games when my daughter was 7. At an age where I still needed a babysitter during the holidays. It never posed a problem though, with loving grandparents and sisters-in-law who had the same challenge. So when my daughter spent a day at her aunts, I had her daughter and other nephews and nieces over when I had the day off from work. Worked perfectly.
It was around that time that I started my gaming life with Animal Crossing, and before long I had the youngsters just as enthusiastic as I was. That was the start of our gaming days: one day in the school holidays that I had them all over, and we would spend the day gaming together around our large kitchen table. And to top it off, I would make pancakes for lunch.
All the kids had started off with a DS Phat and Nintendogs which was literally a game-changer. What a marvel that was, two screens to play on. No button mashing but ticking with your stylus and real interaction: the dog really recognized you! While my daughter and all but one of her cousins never were into gaming before, the barrier to dive in was lifted with the arrival of this game. But the gaming days really started with Animal Crossing Wild World, mostly because that was my point of entry into the wonderful world of gaming.
It was such fun to share. The youngest started a whole new game and we could help her along with various fruit and flowers. Furniture was exchanged, the excitement when a new, never before seen, item popped up in one of our shops. Fishing together and catching bugs… of course, for this mid-forties mom there was a downside too: I wanted to keep my town immaculate. Not easy to sit by and watch them trample my precious hybrids and accidentally lift my paths, as in Wild World flowers died when you ran through them. I tried not to be overly concerned, but I still remember it took some self-control! That’s playing with young kids for you!
Eventually, more games were shared. Walking with our Nintendogs was always good. We all played Viva Piñata which meant we could ship piñata back and forth. When Pokémon Platinum came along that was another one we could share. We had such fun trading the little critters and pokéberries!
All of this led to the honorary nickname of Gaming Aunt which I still treasure!
It’s a pity that the effects didn’t last for them all. Out of them, only my nephew and my daughter still play games, both on their Switch and on mobile. The others never upgraded their devices and can’t be bothered anymore with visiting each other’s towns. I haven’t given up hope though. You never know who I might be able to put under the spell of playing games. After all, everyone deserves the joy it brings!