Raising the Next Gaming Generation
Raising the Next Gaming Generation is by no means a “How to” guide to parenting, hell, it’s not even a guide to raising a gamer. The thought of this finally hit me when I took my daughter to Game Stop and for the first time, had no idea what the hell I was buying. I’ve never gone to any gaming store and had the person behind the counter be more informed than I was. This isn’t an insult to them, I’m just very involved in many aspects of the gaming community.
Now I’m discovering even more things I don’t know or understand about this upcoming “gaming generation”. I’m not even that old, but my gaming days began back in 1989 with my first NES and I never looked back, until now. We live in a world now where everything is accessible and almost everything is as popular, or hated depending on what end of the internet spectrum you reside on. Computers and consoles are in almost every home, almost every person owns and shares experiences with some type of portable Nintendo device, competitive gaming is at an all time high appearing prime time on ESPN, and gaming personalities are making upwards to millions of dollars screaming on YouTube.
It’s a great time to be a gamer, I feel like I’m already behind now, the old dog, trying to raise this next gaming generation the best I know how. I look back at where I started, where I went, and where I am now. NES and GameBoy to Sega, and PlayStations onward to Xbox to stay in touch with friends. I see everything now, my 2 year old can open my wife’s tablet and start navigating from game to game, learning ABC’s to traveling zoos and orc worlds in F2P games I try to make him stop playing but he keeps opening. I wasn’t even learning flash cards at his age. Is this a bad thing, I don’t think so…
The 2 year old is the easy one to handle, my daughter at 8 is the one who’s causing all these dances in uncharted territories. She’s the one that forced me to go into Game Stop and be completely ignorant to what Pokemon game I needed to get on her Nintendo DS. She likes the newer Pokemon, and I had no idea what was the best game for that, or what was even a good starting point to embark on her first RPG. I’m not even sure what Pokemon I ended up with, I think it was Pokemon Pearl, or maybe Diamond, see I still don’t even know. This wasn’t even the first time, I’ve been picking up Marvel’s Disney Infinity characters and add-ons for her, all of which I have no idea what they do or bring to the game. Ha, half the time I don’t even know what I’m buying honestly, and it drive’s me nuts.
And don’t even get me started on Minecraft, we’re polar opposites when it comes to multiplayer Minecraft. I’m a 32 year old man building a world for coming generations, one house at a time, one tool at a time. Moving ground, mining iron ore and coal to fuel my small sovereign nation. I’m the protector of the people, defending the village from zombies, spiders, basic ass skeletons with bows and arrows, and battling back creepers so they don’t tear down our walls. She’s wandering around with bones catching as many dogs as possible. I have to somehow raise this girl, somehow find some connection.
Besides my dad jokes about Pokemans that she hates, she also has taken on the the Pokemon card game, an area of geek culture I have even less knowledge about. I tried card gaming in my early teen years, I collected the Star Wars card game, some werewolf game, and even some magic cards, but I never quite understood it and enjoyed collecting the cards with fantastic art rather than actually playing. Now I’m supposed to know what to buy my daughter and help her build decks? It’s like I’m back in high school math again.
I sit here dumbfounded on how I’m going to raise this next motley gaming generation. I’m sure other parents who are even less informed than myself are in the same boat. I’m beginning to look at it as less of a road and more as a bridge. My support holds up the bridge as well, supports, the research I will do (emphasis on “will”) strengthen the integrity of the bridge, and the continued nurturing of all it’s parts will increase its longevity. That’s the best analogy I can use for raising this upcoming generation of gamers, where they will no longer be known as gamers, but part of a community of geeks, nerds, and now the popular vote.
I don’t know what the answer is to raising the next gaming generation, I’m just trying to steer the damn boat.