I have family in town this week. Like all of them. There’s freaking kids and siblings everywhere. They pop up at New York City landmarks and appear in buses seemingly at will. Overall it’s fun when we do this but also exhausting and quite confusing. Taking numerous children along to any event suddenly changes the dynamic entirely. Dinner’s become games of “Don’t Spill the Pasta,” and sporting events aren’t about sporting events but revolve around who can spot the guy selling Hot Dogs the fastest.
The best was when we all walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, a favorite landmark of mine due to it’s engineering beauty, fantastic views, historical impact and general coolness. My youngest niece understood zero of this. Not being tall enough to see over the railing turned this landmark for her into a mile long hike where the scenery, the wall next to her, never changed.
Anyway, the point of this post was to mention that I recently bought my nephew a copy of Pokemon White after I, sort of by accident, bought one for myself. He started playing a week ago while he was still at home and was having massive problems according to his mom, my sister. When he got here it didn’t take us long to sit down with our DS’s and try to hash out where he was tripping up.
That was when my head sort of exploded. I thought I was buying my nephew an interesting game that we could play together. I didn’t realize I was buying him his first real video game adventure. It was surreal. Having played games for 25 years now I rarely realize just how much knowledge I’ve internalized about such things. For example, one problem he was having was that after getting a little bit into the game, he would pick it up the next day and the game would “make him start all over again.”
He wasn’t saving his game. More to the point he didn’t *understand the concept of saving his game.*
This was earth shattering to me. And it made my impulse purchase all the more fun and special. Without realizing it I had bought my nephew his first real video game. His first real adventure in a pixilated world. His first quest where he’ll have to grind out levels and learn strategies for bosses and save whatever the hell it is you’re trying to save in Pokemon. Snorlax or something. I don’t really play Pokemon but you get the idea.
He has never rescued a captured princess or stopped Ganon from destroying Hyrule.
I don’t think I’d be overstepping by paraphrasing Obi-Won here and saying that my nephew is taking his first steps into a much larger world. Plus that quote fits in well with the general nerd-culture subject of this post.
And that revelation has changed me. I’m the youngest member of my family and I just barely squeezed into the gaming generation. It falls solely upon my shoulders to lead my nieces and nephews into this world as best I can. It’s a responsibility I am happy to shoulder. It’s a responsibility that also has me a little worried.
Yesterday my nephew both got *super* excited when one of his Pokemon learned a new move that he liked, and he also “rage quit” when he couldn’t get past some stupid rock.
Both landmarks that any gamer would recognize.
Having tiny people in your life is awesome.